How-To

How to Filter Unknown Senders in Messages on iPhone

You can now filter unknown senders on your iPhone. From there, you can ultimately block those senders from ever sending a message again.

It wasn’t long ago when the only text messages you’d receive were those for family and friends. Unfortunately, messaging is now being used for marketers and spammers with increased frequency. In iOS 14, you can now filter unknown senders on iPhone, so only your most important texts are readily available. Turning unknown messages into junk messages requires just another step.

Filter Unknown Senders

Being able to filter messages between contacts and all others is currently only a feature on iPhone and Mac. It’s not yet available on Mac, although it could arrive on the next version of macOS.

You must have friends, family, and coworkers already listed in the native Contacts app to get started. Additionally, these contacts must have a supported mobile number (SMS) or email assigned (Apple iMessage). After adding users, you can filter messages from people who aren’t in the Contacts app.

Next:

  1. Go into the Settings app on your phone.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Toggle on Filter Unknown Senders under Message Filtering.

View in Messages App

Now it’s time to go into the Messages app and see how each text is now sorted.

  1. Tap on the Messages app on your iPhone (not iPad).
  2. On the main Messages page, tap All Messages, Known Senders, or Unknown Senders, depending on your selection.

Filter Unknown Senders

When Unknown Messages are Junk

There’s a big difference between receiving the occasional unsolicited message from one of your favorite stores and junk messages. When it’s the latter, you can teach iOS to identify future messages from the same user as junk. Doing so, however, doesn’t mean future messages are blocked, although there’s another way to do so, as you’ll see below. Identifying messages as junk only works with iMessage.

Filter Unknown Senders and Identify Junk Messages

As Apple explains, you can report iMessages that look like spam or junk from the Messages app. If you get an iMessage from someone who’s not saved in your Contacts, you’ll see a Report Junk link under the message.

To file a report:

  1. Tap Report Junk.
  2. Choose Delete and Report Junk.

Apple now has a copy of your message, which has also been deleted from your iPhone.

Filter Unknown Senders iMessage block sample

Block Future Junk Messages

When you receive a junk message and want to block future messages from the same sender, you must take a different approach. To start:

  1. Go into the Messages app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the junk message.
  3. Choose the Info icon at the top.
  4. Select Info.
  5. Choose Block this Caller, then confirm.

From now on, you’ll no longer receive messages from this now blocked contact.

Messages block contact

It’s a Good Start

Apple has made it easier to filter unknown senders on iPhone. However, it can do more. For example, it would be helpful if, after identifying junk messages, Apple automatically gives you a choice to block the user.

For similar information, check out our articles on using Do Not Disturb on iPhone, how to block someone in Gmail, and how to use Messages in macOS Big Sur.

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