How can I stop all the iMessage spam that's sent to my iPhone? It's incredibly annoying!
All spam is annoying, but spam iMessage texts seem particularly outrageous (as we explain in a separate article, 'iMessage spam is not all it's cracked up to be'). In this feature, we look at how to block and report iMessage spam. This is the best way to beat spammers and get rid of unwanted messages on your iPhone.
While spam email is a constant, junk iMessage texts seem to come in waves when spammers get hold of emails and phone numbers. These typically advertise cheap (usually fake) products, such as sunglasses or legal protection services such as PPI claims. In almost all cases the aim is to get you to hand over bank details so they can withdraw money from your accounts: you'll be very lucky to get the fake product. So don't ever respond to iMessage spam.
Most people delete the spam message by sliding it to the left and tapping Delete. While this is an option, it doesn't prevent the spammer from sending you another message, and it leaves them free to spam other iMessage users. There are better ways to handle spam iMessage texts.
How to stop iMessage spam: Block iMessage spam
The first step is to block the iMessage spam, instead of just deleting it. Blocking spam iMessage texts prevents that spammer from sending you another text message. Here's how to block unwanted spam:
- Open Messages and tap the spam message.
- Tap Details in the top-right.
- Tap Info (the circled "i" icon).
- Tap Block this Caller, then Block Contact
This person is now added to your block list, and they won't be able to send you any more messages. You can also use this to mute people you don't want texting you, incidentally. You can unmute them by tapping Unblock this Caller.
How to stop iMessage spam: Report iMessage spam to Apple
Blocking spam is great for you because it means that particular spammer can no longer send you texts. But Apple doesn't know about blocked callers unless you also report them. Reporting spam is better than just blocking it because it helps prevent that spammer from sending messages to other users.
So we should all make more of an effort to report spam messages to Apple. This way we won't have to worry so much about spammers in future. Here's how to report a spammer to Apple.
- If you get a message from somebody who isn't in your contact list, you will see "The sender is not in your contact list" below it and a blue Report Junk button.
- Tap Report Junk.
- Tap Delete and Report Junk
You can also take a screenshot of the offending message, and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the email address or phone number, and the date and time that you got the message. The iMessage team will then investigate.
If we all take more time to block and report spam, everybody will have less junk mail - and junk iMessages - to worry about.
How to stop iMessage spam: Stop the Chinese iMessage spam hack
We experienced this one in mid-October 2016, but it was being reported back in the summer. If you open the Messages app and see dozens of unknown numbers labelled with red dots and Chinese characters, your iCloud account has been hacked - somehow or other, hackers have gained access to your account, promptly sending out spam messages to a load of people you've never met - and you need to take action now.
The solution, fortunately is simple: change the password of your iCloud account. Open the Settings app and go to iCloud, then tap the Apple ID at the top of the screen. You'll have to input your password at this point. Now tap Password & Security, then Change Password.
You'll have to answer some security questions before you can change the password. This might seem like a pain, but be thankful - if it wasn't for the security questions, the hackers would have changed your password by now and locked you out of your account.