SMS spam is something that plagues pretty much everyone who has an Indian SIM card, and even those who live abroad. Be it frauds, asking you to buy shares in companies to double your wealth, or just your neighbourhood store sending promotional messages, these messages get more annoying by the day. Not only do they spam you with notifications, these texts also get in the way of iMessage since Apple’s messaging service also uses the same Messages app.
This means that you’re better off getting rid of these spam messages. You could easily do this in iOS 9but on iOS 10 that method stopped working. Your only option was to disable notifications for these messages manually. That’s quite a tiring task, but with iOS 11, third-party apps can help you get the job done quite easily.
How to block SMS spam on iOS 11
These steps will help you block spam texts on iOS 11:
- Download an SMS spam blocking app (we’ve mentioned our favourites below).
- Go to Settings > Messages.
- Under Message Filtering, tap Unknown & Spam.
- Under SMS Filtering, select the spam blocking app you want to use.
SMS spam blocking apps on iOS 11
There are several SMS spam blocking apps on the App Store and we used many of them since the launch of iOS 11 to figure out which ones work the best. These three apps are our favourites.
SMS Shield is a subscription-based app (Rs. 300 per year) that allows you to block spam messages both manually and using its own machine learning algorithms. SMS Shield worked quite well for us overall and blocked more spam texts than other apps. It supports blocking by receivers as well, so you can block all texts originating from shortcodes such as “VK-HLACHF” by adding *-HLACHF as a blocked number under the Custom Block List feature. There’s no easy way to create a whitelist, but you can report individual messages as not spam by pasting the text in the app.
SMS Checker is a free app if you just want to block texts manually via keywords. There’s an in-app purchase (Rs. 500) to enable online filters for automatic blocking. If a subscription based blocking app is not for you, then you can pay a one-time in-app purchase and get SMS Checker. The app makes it very easy to create a whitelist and a blacklist, with multiple toggles for custom keywords in the message or in the name of the sender. Its automatic spam message blocking isn’t as good as that of SMS Shield, but that could change based on how many people use the app, and how often its filters get updated.
VeroSMS is a free app that lets you block spam messages via targeted keywords. An in-app purchase worth Rs. 80 lets you block texts based on crowdsourced keywords. If you don’t want to pay much, this app does a great job blocking spam messages as long you have the patience to manually enter keywords to block. These keywords can also be the name of a sender such as HLACHF or DUNKIN and the app will put them in the junk folder. VeroSMS is competent at getting the job done, but the problem is that you have to do most of the work.
We tried quite a few other apps that didn’t make the cut here for various reasons. The most obvious choice here is Truecaller, whose USP is blocking spam calls and messages. Surprisingly enough however, this app failed to block spam messages in our tests. Another person was able to independently verify this too, so at the moment we can’t recommend it. Other apps we tried but didn’t like much were SMS Blocker (ugly interface) and SMS Filter (has ads if you don’t pay).