Getting calls from unknown numbers can be mind-rattling for people who like their privacy. When the person calling ends up being a sleazy spammer, suddenly you’ll find yourself regretting.
You begin to think that maybe you shouldn’t have picked it up, or that you should just ignore them the next time they call. Chock it up to wishful thinking, because experience has taught me they will never stop and even use different numbers.
I was close to changing numbers when I decided to try iPhone apps that block spammers, telemarketers, and robocallers. Quite frankly, I didn’t they think they would work but they did… and results were surprising!
Apple allows developers to build apps that can integrate with your calling services on the system via a framework called Callkit. To give them access to handle calls, you need to go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification after installing them. There you’ll find switches to allow these apps to block calls.
Here are top 5 iOS apps for call blocking. Check them out and choose the one that fits you best.
Price: Free [Download]
TrueCaller is a decent app for blocking spam calls and SMS. What I really find impressive is how it crowdsources from over 25 million users. It then makes an exhaustive list of offending numbers which are automatically blocked on your phone. Unwanted numbers are listed in a single-file blacklist where you can add more. There’s also an option to block unknown numbers, though you still need to visit the in-app Settings and toggle SMS blocking. Unfortunately, you can’t block partial numbers or area codes which I find lacking.
When a blocked number attempts a call, your phone won’t ring but you will get a notification and caller information. Unknown numbers can be marked as spam or added as contacts after a call, but you won’t be notified if they send a text. If they wanted to tell you something through SMS, you won’t get any. There’s always the chance of missing out on an important message. However, confirming acquaintances is easy with the app’s social features. With it, you can text a friend or ask them about a number over social media networks.
Despite some missing features, TrueCaller works fine as an SMS and call blocker and is better than most.
Price: Free with in-app purchases [Download]
Backed by an FTC award-winning technology, you have every reason to download this free app. Whenever a user blocks a caller, data is sent to the command center where thousands of numbers are screened each day. Because of this, RoboKiller detects spammers faster than any of its competition. It offers the best security by updating spam lists not once but twice each hour across its users. On top of these automated services, you can manually whitelist or blacklist a number.
Set up is easy. As soon as you verify your number through SMS, the app will guide you through the process. Signing up for a one-month membership includes a one-week trial of their paid services. You can get a subscription for just $0.99 a month but unless you want to be billed, you must cancel it a day before the trial ends. Cancelling the service means you won’t be able to access the spam list, though you can still use RoboKiller to block calls manually.
Answer Bots is a welcome feature that enables users to answer spammers with a recorded audio. A fun way to get back at them, really.
Price: Free [Download]
Hiya is the best in the free category if you’re looking for an app that will effectively block spammers on your iPhone. Unlike most free apps, there won’t be any ads on this one. It works in the same way as RoboKiller and has a dedicated database which they use to compare the 400 million calls received by users every month.
The SMS ID automatically blocks incoming calls and texts from flagged numbers. Unknown numbers will have their information displayed on-screen, giving you time to decide whether or not you would take the call. Hiya gives you two ways to blacklist numbers – you can either block calls and SMS individually or by category. For instance, you’d be able to receive political calls but not telemarketers.
Hiya does more than protect you from those annoying fraudsters. It has a security function that screens text messages for viruses and malware. There’s also a reverse phone lookup feature which allows you to search for information about a number that contacted you. However, unless you have a number blacklisted on your device, the app does require an active internet connection to compare numbers with their database. In turn, this slows down the identification of spammers.
Price: $1.99/mo [Download]
Users who are keen about their privacy will love this app. Nomorobo doesn’t require access to your phone number or contacts list, sparing both you and others from possible privacy issues. Feature-wise, its main advantage is a large database with over 51,000 numbers. The app constantly updates it in the background so you don’t have to keep launching it every time. Combined with a technology that won them an FTC award in 2013, you get a great app for driving spammers away.
Nomorobo silently blocks calls from blacklisted numbers. Each time it detects a potential spammer, the call is sent straight to voicemail where they are sorted for spam. In both instances, you don’t have to worry about being disrupted by a ringing phone, which is more than I can say for other spam call blockers on our list. Reporting spammers is easy. You can either do it in-app or with your iPhone by sharing numbers to the app.
The company takes your privacy a step further and prevents users from sharing the service across several devices. If you share the same Apple ID with your family, you won’t be able to use Nomorobo in more than one iPhone. Not that this would be a problem, considering how affordable their monthly and yearly subscriptions are.
Price: Free [Download]
Sync.ME is the very best caller ID app available for iOS and Android devices. It uses global contact data gained from 10,000,000 other users and social network profiles to help you identify exactly who is calling or if a number is spam and block it.
The main goal of the app is to tell you who is calling, but the ability to block spam calls is also very impressive. Thanks to its millions of users’ collective data, Sync.ME can effectively and accurately detect if an incoming call is from a potential spammer.
When you know a number is a spammer or scammer, you can flag it to contribute to Sync.ME’s data and help other users save valuable time. You can also create your own blacklist of contacts and have them blocked immediately. Not only with unwanted incoming calls but unwanted text messages also can be blocked as well.
In addition, the app updates your contacts’ pictures and other information from all major social networks. Sync.ME also have a widget that lets you perform a reverse phone lookup any number in your Notification Center. This app’s free, but you can pay for additional features like duplicate merging, background syncing, etc.
Telemarketers, robocallers, and spam callers are a thorn to our sides. When you’re trying to get things done, those calls and texts can be pretty annoying and get in our way. Luckily, there are apps designed to block them completely. Choosing the best one all boils down to how well the app identifies spammers and whether it can consistently block them.
Which of these apps do you think works best at blocking spam? Let us know in the comments below!