If you’re fed up with spam and robocalls, you aren’t alone. Currently, it’s the FCC’s No. 1 consumer complaint. Luckily, Apple is here to help with a new call blocking feature in iOS 13. It’s called Silence Unknown Callers.
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With an estimated 25 billion robocalls made this year so far (according to a recent Bloomberg report), this feature is going to be much appreciated. Here’s how it works.
iOS 13’s Silence Unknown Callers
Silence Unknown Callers is actually a fairly simple system, but it could prove to be extremely powerful. It basically does what it says on the tin.
When it’s enabled, Silence Unknown Callers will send any call coming from an unknown number straight to your voicemail. Those calls won’t even cause your phone to ring and disturb you. They’ll just go to voicemail, where they can leave a message. The feature needs to be enabled by the user to work. And don’t worry — calls coming from a number in your contacts list will still come through normally.
Technically, iOS is supposed to leverage Siri intelligence to pick up on phone numbers received in emails and text messages and allow them through.
But, according to early beta testers, that doesn’t appear to be the case currently. In iOS 13 beta 1, silence unknown callers blocks all calls from numbers not in your contacts list. Of course, it is just a beta — so more advanced functionality may be soon to come.
Silence Unknown Callers can be enabled by going to Settings —> Phone.
As far as when you can get it, iOS 13 is currently in beta. The first developer beta is now available, while the first public beta will be released in July. A final public release should drop sometime in the fall.
Who this is for (and who it isn’t for)
If robocalls and spam calls have you at your wit’s end, then this is seriously the feature for you.
For one, it’s baked right into iOS. That makes it extremely convenient to access, but it also means you don’t have to rely on or pay for a third-party call blocking app.
While U.S. carriers are in the midst of deploying a call authentication system, this platform — which is called SHAKEN/STIR — won’t actually stop calls from buzzing your phone. Instead, it’ll simply identify a call as likely coming from a spam number.
But with Silence Unknown Callers enabled, only calls originating from a number in your contacts list will ring your phone. If a call from an unknown number is actually important, the caller will still be able to leave a voicemail.
In other words, for the average iOS user, Silence Unknown Callers will effectively make robocalls a thing of the past.
On the other hand, there are some users who may want to think twice about enabling the feature. If you regularly receive calls from unknown numbers for work or business, then this feature may interfere with that.
The timing of this iOS 13 feature also coincides with a new FCC ruling
Recently, the Federal Communications Commission passed a ruling that allows and encourages phone companies to block robocalls by default.
This would mean that carriers will now take pro-active measures to block Robocalls.
So you should definitely reduce the number of these annoying calls that we get today.
What are some of the new iOS 13 features you are looking forward to?
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.