June 13, 2023

How to block spam calls on iPhone: A definitive guide (updated for 2023)

How to block spam calls on iPhone: A definitive guide (updated for 2023)

The introduction of the iPhone changed the way we use cell phones, transforming them from glorified landlines into pocket-sized computers that do just about everything. By cementing the mobile phone as a centerpiece of modern society and putting one in everybody’s possession, this transformation also led to a new brand of spam — and it’s still thriving today.

These days, spam hits us harder than ever, and it does real damage to unsuspecting victims. Americans received over 78 billion robocalls in 2022, marking an 8% increase from the year before. This growth leads to increasingly devastating financial losses each year, including more than $65 billion lost to phone scams in that year.

Although government entities like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have been working with voice service providers to crack down on spam, we’re still facing gaps in coverage. Except instead of hearing a busy signal, we’re hearing dangerous and illegal spam callers attempting to swindle us and our loved ones.

Spam can be scary, especially when you’re caught in the midst of a scam. Fortunately, understanding the problem can help you prepare to fight against it.

We’ll cover a few questions in this post:

  • How bad is the robocall problem, and is it getting worse?
  • Can your iPhone block robocalls on its own?
  • How can you effectively stop robocalls on iPhone?
  • Why is Robokiller the best third-party spam blocker?
  • How important is it to block spam calls?

Anyone can protect themselves from spam calls if they know what to expect and how to respond. So read on and learn how to block spam calls on iPhone (you can also block spam calls on Android, of course).

The robocall problem is massive (and it’s still growing)

As we mentioned, more than 78 billion robocalls reached American cell phones in 2022. Although that’s only a modest 8% increase from 2021, it’s a much more eye-popping 43% jump from 2020. What’s even more concerning is that the $65+ billion lost to phone scams in 2022 is more than double 2021’s total of $30+ billion. An 8% increase in calls with a 115% increase in profits means that scammers are getting a lot more money out of their successful schemes.

Despite efforts like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the National Do Not Call Registry, and STIR/SHAKEN, spam calls have proven tough to eradicate. Robocallers use tactics like caller ID spoofing to disguise their numbers, and when they’re blocked, they just call from a new one. Since most spam calls originate from overseas, scammers aren’t concerned with following our laws nor are they scared of our punishments.

This means that until we have a framework in place that effectively prevents unwanted calls from invading our airwaves, it’s up to us to know how to protect ourselves. Step one is learning about the spam-blocking tools that are available to you right now.

How to stop robocalls on your iPhone for good

Robocalls, like spam calls of any kind, are a dangerous nuisance that should be handled with care. Fortunately, your iPhone comes with a few features that can help you protect yourself and your family from spam and scams.

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can stop robocalls on your iPhone for good.

Use the built-in call-blocking feature

The iPhone’s built-in call-blocking feature silences unknown numbers and sends them to voicemail, so you’re never bothered with a notification and there’s no risk of accidentally answering spam. If you want to check who’s been calling you from outside your phonebook, you can always check your Recent Calls list.

Here’s how to enable your iPhone’s built-in call-blocking feature:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down and tap Phone
  3. Scroll down again and tap Silence Unknown Callers
  4. Toggle Silence Unknown Callers ON

Although this feature is effective in blocking spam calls, it does come with drawbacks that make it a less-than-perfect solution.

Why doesn’t the iPhone call-blocking function work?

Some iPhone users find the built-in call-blocking function helpful, but it wasn’t designed to solve the spam epidemic. A lack of customization options sets users up for an “all or nothing” approach to blocking spam, which may turn out to do more harm than good.

Silence Unknown Callers blocks all numbers except those that:

  • Are in your Contacts or Recent Calls lists
  • You’ve texted with previously
  • Have been shared with you in an email

Note that if you place an emergency call, this feature will be disabled for 24 hours so your phone can be reached — which is good for your safety, but means there’ll be a temporary lapse in your spam-blocking capabilities.

The big drawback is that it’s not always a good idea to block every number that Siri doesn’t recognize. If you silence all unknown callers, you might miss calls from your doctor, notifications about school closings, or updates from your mechanic. When you pit the chances of missing important calls against the hassle of ignoring a dozen spam calls per day, you may find yourself looking for a better alternative.

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Customize a Focus

Introduced in iOS 15, Focus can help you stay in the zone while studying for a test or help you avoid distractions when spending time with your family. You can set up individual Focuses with their own settings, allowing you to decide who can and can’t reach you when a given Focus is turned on. Although the original idea was to help you stay concentrated on the task at hand, silencing notifications may be helpful in the fight against spam.

Here’s how to block spam calls on iPhone by customizing a Focus:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap Focus
  3. Select the specific Focus you want to edit (or tap the blue + button to set up a new one)
  4. Tap People
  5. Tap Add People under Silence Notifications From or Allow Notifications From to block or allow notifications from individual contacts
  6. Under Allow Notifications From, you can also tap Allow Calls From and select:
  • Everybody
  • Allowed People Only
  • Favorites
  • Contacts Only

This method is similar to the Silence Unknown Callers method, but it allows you to block people who are on your contacts list in addition to those who aren’t — unfortunately, though, that doesn’t help much when it comes to spam blocking. If you don’t like having Silence Unknown Callers on at all times, you might turn on a Focus from time to time when you’re not expecting any important calls.

Block individual callers

Another method that can help reduce spam calls is blocking individual callers. The good news is that the numbers you block won’t be able to call you again. The bad news, however, is that they must have called you in the first place — and they can always call you again from a different number.

Here’s how to block spam calls on iPhone by individual caller:

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Tap the Favorites, Recents, Contacts, or Voicemail tab
  3. Find and tap the number, name, or icon (small “i” inside a circle) you want to block
  4. Scroll down and tap Block this Caller
  5. Tap Block Contact to confirm

If you make a mistake, you can access your blocked contacts by going to Settings > Phone > Blocked Contacts. From there, you can edit your list and remove any numbers that shouldn’t be blocked.

Use a Call-Blocking App

Where built-in call-blocking features fall short, third-party spam-blocking apps fill in the cracks. These apps are dedicated to recognizing, tracing, and blocking spam calls so they never make it to your phone. Using machine learning, artificial intelligence, and global lists of known scammers, they catch scammers in the act and prevent them from being a threat to you or your family.

Here’s how to manage the call-blocking apps you’ve downloaded on your iPhone:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Phone
  3. Tap Call Blocking & Identification
  4. From here, you can toggle your third-party call blockers on and off under Allow These Apps to Block Calls and Provide Caller ID
  5. If you have multiple spam blocking apps, you can rearrange them in order of priority by tapping Edit and dragging the app through the list

The right spam call blocker eliminates the risk of you falling into a phone scammer’s trap, keeping your privacy and your peace of mind intact.

Additional tips and tricks

There are a few other steps you can take to reduce your visibility to scammers, keep spam calls off your phone, and protect others from fraud.

Don’t make yourself a target

  • Don’t give out your number online. Refrain from adding your phone number to your social media profiles, and don’t share personal information with anyone before verifying exactly who you’re talking to.
  • Don’t answer spam calls or texts. It may be tempting to give spammers a piece of your mind, but letting them know you have an active phone number will just lead to more spam coming your way.

Block spam calls by carrier

  • Some carriers offer the Call Blocking & Identification feature on iPhone
  • Go to Settings
  • Tap Phone
  • Scroll down to Call Blocking & Identification
  • If your carrier supports it, you can turn on Silence Junk Callers to block calls that your carrier has identified as potential spam

Report spam calls to the authorities

  • If you’ve been targeted for a scam but did not lose money, you can report the scam at DoNotCall.gov
  • Report calls that should’ve been blocked to your third-party spam blocker app
  • File a complaint with the FCC at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov
  • Notify your phone carrier

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Still skeptical? Here are a few more reasons why stopping robocalls on your iPhone is important

If you don’t answer them, spam calls can’t hurt you. Unfortunately, scammers do a good job of disguising themselves, so many of their victims don’t realize they’ve answered a spam call until the damage has already been done.

Here’s why it’s so crucial that you know how to block spam calls on iPhone:

  • They’re costly. Financial losses to phone scams jumped to over $65 billion in 2022, more than double the total for 2021.
  • They’re annoying. Although their growth slightly slowed, robocalls still increased by 8% between 2021 and 2022, to over 78 billion calls received.
  • Most of them come from overseas. Calls from overseas are difficult for government organizations like the FCC and FTC to track — in addition, American laws don’t necessarily deter international scammers.

When you stop receiving robocalls, you no longer have to worry about being targeted by scammers who are out for your bank account info, your valuable assets, or even your identity.

How to effectively stop robocalls on iPhone

The most effective way to stop robocalls, spam calls, and targeted scam attacks is by using a third-party spam blocker app — namely, Robokiller. Third-party apps can provide spam protection in a way that built-in features and existing legislation can’t, and none of them do it better than Robokiller.

Why Robokiller is the best choice

Robokiller has been on the frontlines of the spam war since the beginning, and we have the experience, technology, and insight to provide you with the best defense possible. From our audio fingerprinting to our hilarious Answer Bots, we house our cutting-edge tech in a user-friendly interface that’s effective and easy to navigate.

Take a look at how the competition stacks up (or doesn’t) to Robokiller’s features:

With the largest global scammer database, fully customizable block and allow lists, real-time phone call screening, and SMS protection, Robokiller offers the most comprehensive defense in the fight against spam.

Download Robokiller

Here’s how to download Robokiller on your iPhone and start fighting back against spam calls:

  1. Access the Apple App Store
  2. Search “Robokiller”
  3. Tap Download
  4. Open the Robokiller app
  5. Select Continue
  6. Enter your phone number to activate the service

Wrapping it up

Because of the complexity of our communications systems and the tricky tactics that scammers use, fighting the spam problem is difficult and expensive. Until government agencies and voice service providers can find a comprehensive solution to keep scammers and spammers off the airwaves, it’s up to us to fill in the gaps.

Third-party spam blockers like Robokiller are designed to target and block unwanted calls before they can ring your phone, and they are a critical aspect of spam call protection. These apps give you the power to shut the scammers down, take back your privacy, and help protect the community.

Get started with a free 7-day trial of Robokiller today!


Does iPhone have a built-in spam call blocker?

Although your iPhone offers built-in features that can help you block spam calls, that’s not necessarily what they’re designed to do. The most effective spam blocking features the iPhone can offer will block all numbers outside of your contacts and recent calls from reaching you — including potentially important calls from your doctor or children’s school.

How do I stop spam calls permanently on my iPhone?

Since iPhone’s spam call-blocking tools still leave a bit to be desired, your best bet is to download a third-party spam blocker like Robokiller. Third-party apps focus on blocking spam calls and spam calls only, so important calls from unknown numbers can still get through. With a strong spam-blocking app and the knowledge you now have, you can stop spam calls permanently.

What app can I use to block spam calls on my iPhone?

There may be a variety of spam call blockers out there, but none compare to Robokiller. Thanks to our experience, research, and audio fingerprinting technology, our app gives you all the tools you need to take back your privacy and live spam-call-free™.

How do you unblock spam calls on iPhone?

If you accidentally block a caller that you later realize wasn’t spam, it’s easy to reverse the mistake. Just go to Settings>Phone>Blocked Contacts. From there, you can edit your list and remove any numbers that shouldn’t be blocked.


How do I block robocalls on my iPhone?

Blocking robocalls on your iPhone can be done using several methods. You can use the built-in "Silence Unknown Callers" feature, customize a "Focus" to mute certain notifications, or block individual callers. Your best bet, however, is a call-blocking app like Robokiller that blocks 99% of unwanted calls.

What is "Silence Unknown Callers" on iPhone?

"Silence Unknown Callers" is an iPhone feature that silences all calls coming from numbers outside of your contact list. These calls are automatically sent to voicemail and you won't receive a notification about the call. You can check these calls in your Recent Calls list. This feature can be enabled by going to Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers and toggling it on.

Are there risks to using "Silence Unknown Callers"?

Yes, there are potential risks and drawbacks to using your iPhone's "Silence Unknown Callers" feature. While it is effective in blocking calls from unknown numbers, this feature may also block calls that are important but come from numbers not saved in your contacts list. This could include calls from your doctor, updates about school closings, or notifications from a mechanic. Essentially, you could miss important calls because the feature doesn't discriminate between unknown spam calls and legitimate unknown calls.

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Fight back against spam and reclaim your phone.
You’re one step away from a spam-free phone (and a little poetic justice, thanks to Answer Bots).
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