How to stop iMessage spam

Are you getting spam iMessages from unknown people or scammers with international numbers and weird email addresses? In this post, we will go over four simple ways to protect yourself and stop iMessage spam for a hassle-free messaging experience on your iPhone.

iMessage spam on iPhone
Photo: Casey Morell

According to security researcher Tom Landesman, iMessage spam accounts for 30% of all mobile spam messages. This is part of a growing trend where spammers collect phone numbers or email addresses linked to iMessage to send Apple users unsolicited messages in the hope they would click on links and purchase whatever the spammers are trying to sell. It can also be used to scam with fake offers, prizes, coupons, discount codes, links, gift cards, etc.

According to Wired, who cites Landesman, setting up such a spamming campaign can be as easy as collecting email addresses and phone numbers from around the web and using AppleScript to write a few lines of codes and automate the mass iMessage spamming.

If you’re spammed by unsolicited spam iMessages, here are some effective ways to tackle this.

Block the sender

The first thing you want to do when receiving spam texts is to block the sender. We previously went over how to block someone from contacting you. Whether it is a phone call, message, email, or FaceTime call, iOS gives you the option to make sure this person can never contact you again.

  1. In the Messages app, select the spammy message conversation.
  2. Tap the spammer’s number or email from the top.
  3. Now tap the info button.
  4. Scroll down and tap Block this Caller.
Block a message sender on iPhone

The sender will still be able to send messages, but these messages will never make their way to you.

The downside of this method is that spammers use multiple email addresses to send their messages from, which means that they’ll probably still be able to contact you from a different email address if they want to.

Show alerts from your contacts only

If blocking the sender didn’t work for you, you can start taking more drastic measures by allowing notifications from contacts that are in your address book only.

By following these steps, you will make sure that your messages are filtered, and you only get notifications from the people that are in your address book.

  1. Go to Settings > Messages.
  2. Scroll down and tap Unknown & Spam.
  3. Activate Filter Unknown Senders.
  4. You can also choose SMS Filter to sort your texts into categorized lists. Your iPhone won’t notify you of texts it thinks are junk.
Filter Unknown Senders in iPhone Messages settings

There are two downsides to this method.

First, you will still receive those spam messages. Your phone won’t ring or show any notification, but every message will still be logged in your Messages app.

The second downside is that if someone who’s not in your address book sends you a text message, you might miss it or at least take a while to realize you received a message from a legit person. You can see their messages by going to the Messages app and tapping Filters > Unknown Senders.

See all your message filters inside iOS Messages app

Note: If the message from an unknown sender contains a link, you cannot tap and visit this link until you save the sender’s phone or email to your contacts or reply to their message.

Report spam to Apple

Apple lets you report spam messages directly to them. You can tap Report Junk below a message and then tap Delete and Report Junk. This will share the junk sender’s details with Apple and help them tackle spam messages.

Report Junk option in iPhone Messages app

In addition to that, you can send an email to including:

  • A screenshot of the spammy message
  • The email address or phone number of the spammer
  • The date and time the spam message was received

The downside is obviously that it’s a painfully long process. According to the Wired article referenced above, it takes Apple several days to act on those spam reports, really questioning the efficiency of this process.

Turn off iMessage

Drastic times call for drastic measures! If your Messages app is overflowing with spam iMessages, maybe you should consider turning off iMessage altogether and relying exclusively on SMS to send messages to friends and family. You can also add a new email to iMessage and use this.

To toggle off iMessage, go to Settings > Messages > and flip the iMessage switch to the off position.

This will prevent you from sending iMessages over cellular or Wi-Fi, but at least you won’t be receiving spam anymore.

As you can see, there is no real guaranteed way to prevent you from receiving iMessage spam unless you want to go thermonuclear and turn off iMessage altogether.

Hopefully, Apple will work on putting better systems to enable spam protection that will flag and block spam texts.

Check out next: