Regardless of which feature-rich smartphone you have, its main function is to keep you in contact with the people in your life. Calling someone is one way to catch up, but it’s hard to argue against texting and SMS messaging, which, for many, is faster and more convenient.
However, there are times when you may receive a message from a contact you’d rather not see again, or get a random message from someone with a questionable number. Sure, you can delete the message and move on, but a much more permanent solution is to block those people entirely, thereby preventing their texts from reaching you until you decide otherwise. Thankfully, both iOS and Android devices allow you to easily do this, and we’ve taken to breaking down the various ways to do so.
Blocking texts in iOS
Block texts from known contacts and phone numbers
Blocking texts in iOS requires a little more than simply blocking the phone number or contact in question, even though that will stop you from receiving notifications from those people when they try to reach out. For messages specifically, tap the message from the contact you want to block, then tap Details in the top-right corner. Again, in the top-right corner, you’ll want to tap the “i” icon to open the Info page, then tap Block this Caller at the bottom of the page.
Another way is to go to Settings > Messages > Blocked and tap Add New to add a new blocked contact. Using either method, you’ll not only block messages, but also phone calls and FaceTime calls. This saves you from having to go to the Phone and FaceTime apps and settings to block the same person.
Block texts from numbers that appear as “unknown” or “private”
Unfortunately, you can’t outright block unknown and private numbers in the same way you can known contacts. You can, however, filter and separate them from the rest of the people you know. Go to Settings > Messages and toggle on the Filter Unknown Senders option. This will create a new tab in your Messages app called “Unknown Senders,” but you won’t get notifications for these. It may not be ideal, but it’s a decent compromise.
Report Spam iMessages
Another thing you can do is report spam and junk iMessages. When you get an iMessage from someone you don’t know, there will be a “Report Junk” link. Tap the link to forward the sender’s information and message to Apple. The company should deal with the contact and eventually render the person or bot unable to message you again.
You can also email Apple at “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Keep in mind that you’ll need a screenshot of the message, as well as the email address or phone number that sent the iMessage, and the date and time you received it.
Apple doesn’t deal with SMS and MMS messages, but you can always report them to your carrier. AT&T, for example, suggests sending the spam message to 7726 (SPAM). Afterward, the carrier will look into the message.
Blocking texts in Android
On a Nexus phone
There are two ways to go about blocking messages on a Nexus phone, like the Nexus 6P or 5X. The first is to open the Messenger app, then open or start a conversation with one of your contacts. Tap More — represented by three vertical dots — select People &options, and tap Block. You can also open the Messenger app, touch and hold the conversation you want to block, tap Block when the option appears in the top-right corner, and tap OK.
On a Samsung phone
Like the Nexus, Samsung phones have two ways to block messages. One method involves opening Messages, then choosing the conversation that contains the contact you want to block. From there, tap the More icon, select Block number, and toggle Message block to “On.” Then, tap OK.
Alternatively, head to Messages > More > Settings. Tap Block messages to select the check box, then tap Block list. From here, manually enter the contact’s number and tap the ‘+’ sign, or choose from your inbox or contacts list. When you’ve entered all the numbers you want to block, tap the back arrow.
On an LG phone
LG’s blocking process is fairly quick and straightforward, but instead of blocking, you mark messages as spam and get the contact blocked that way. Start by opening LG’s messaging app and tapping the SMS or MMS message you want to block. Then, tap Menu > Register spam number and check or uncheck Delete all messages of the selected number — this part is entirely optional — to confirm your choice. The number should now be blocked and registered as spam.
On an HTC phone
Much like LG’s blocking process, HTC’s way of blocking unwanted messages is quick and easy. Open Messages, then tap and hold the desired text conversation until the Message options appears. Then, tap Blockcontact.
Additionally, there are dozens of apps in the Google Play Store that you can install to your Android device if your looking for more ways to block numbers and messages. Below are four we recommend checking out if you want to go down that path.
SMS Blocker will block SMS messages and automatically remove spam on your behalf. Both sets of messages can be filtered out and blocked by using the phone number, a sender phrase, or a specific content word. Blocked messages are placed in their own separate folder, and can also be exported in a Notepad format, presumably to make it easier to save them for future reference. This is all included in the free version of the app, though the premium version lets you block all unknown numbers, add password protection, and provides an option to automatically delete SMS messages. You can also use it to remove the limit placed on the number of Block/Allow list entries.
While this isn’t specifically made to block SMS messages, it’ll do the job all the same. The app’s main focus is dealing with phone calls, which involves managing a blacklist, but the end result lets you use your phone without being interrupted by unknown callers, texts, and the notifications that accompany them. One potential downside to this app, however, is that it needs to be set as the default SMS app in order to effectively block SMS messages. That could be a major turn off if you’re already a fan of another messaging app.
Unlike the Block call and block SMS app, Text Blocker (aka Postman) doesn’t need to be your default SMS app in order to work. Instead, it works with just about any other messaging app. It will also begin blocking messages and spam as soon it’s installed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t customize it like the rest. In fact, you can change the spam filter level to tone down how much it blocks, and recover messages you accidentally blocked with a single tap. Text Blocker also has a useful feature known as Smart Notifications, which allows you to adjust how often you’re notified of new spam messages. Notifications can also come in instantly, be delayed, or turned off completely. Best of all, it’s compatible with Android 7.0 (Nougat), so you can run the Android N developer preview without one breaking the other.
The most unique thing Truemessenger has going for it is that it will identify the unknown number calling or texting you. This is achievable thanks to the app’s community, which is made up of millions of people working together to reduce the amount of unwanted and unidentifiable messages, spam, and the spammers responsible. Blocked messages and spam are immediately sent to a separate folder, thereby keeping your inbox and list of messages clean.