How to suppress telemarketing calls on the iPhone

There are few first-world problems as infuriating as spammy telemarketing calls. Sadly, carrier networks don't seem to have their interests aligned with customers enough to prevent the wasting of our voice minutes, not to mention our life minutes, and iOS doesn't make blocking calls or messages easy either. And, of course, they always seem to come in just as we're sitting down to eat, relax, or in my case, while traveling so I can get stuck paying exorbitant roaming fees as well. Luckily, developer David Smith was annoyed enough to find a work around.

I hate getting called by telemarketers or other spammers on my iPhone. I get relatively few calls each day so when one happens it tends to attract my attention quite strongly. Things like the Do Not Call registry can help but they cannot eliminate the problem of getting these spam calls.

Check out his solution. It's smart, and it could likely be applied to other tele-annoyances as well...

Source: David Smith

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Looks like a similar solution I shared in the iMore forums...
  • Yea, I've been doing this for several years now. I currently have 24 numbers in my SPAMMER! contact. I rarely get duplicates. It's happened twice so far. It is nice when it happens and I didn't think to make a "silent ringtone" for that contact. Now, if only there were a way to tell your iPhone that a set of numbers were OK to let though and send the rest to voice-mail, that would be a great feature.
  • While clever, I fail to see how this would help most people. I don't think I have ever gotten a SECOND telemarketing call from the same number. Ever.
  • i have but that is a very real problem. These people are using a machine anyways that creates a false caller id. that's part of why it's often different. And they cylce them. I don't know exactly why but sometimes they will come from ids registered in the same part of the country. Like for a while i got like 5 calls from different Seattle and suburban Seattle area. Then Tacoma.
  • Obvious Solution Is Obvious. Except that this actually rarely works for spammy calls, as they rarely call twice from the same number, just as spam emails rarely come twice from the same address. This is only effective against things like bill collectors.
  • Sounds exactly like what the NumberGuru app has done for years. Except that NumberGuru is crowd-sourced so you get numbers blocked before the spammer actually calls you.
  • Nothing new here. I did this years ago with my 3g. When I got engaged (and eventually married), I kept getting calls from ex-girlfriends wanting to hook up for the night. This solution worked well until I was able to change my number.
  • I had already set this up on my Android phone and when I carried over my gmail contacts to my iPhone last year, the dozen or so numbers came with me. Further, I set up a google voice number that I give out to anyone whom I question really needs my phone number (non-emergency contacts, businesses who only need to tell me something I've given them to do is ready, websites as part of registration, sometimes even doctors whom I may visit only once for something specific).