How to turn off iMessage notifications for unknown senders

If you don’t want to get constant notifications throughout the day from people you’re not familiar with, you’ll be happy to know that you can configure your iPhone to suppress iMessage notifications from non-contacts. This tutorial will walk you through the steps to silence iMessage notifications from unknown senders.

Unknown Senders in iPhone Messages app

How to stop receiving iMessage notifications from people who aren’t in your contacts

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Messages.
  2. Scroll down and under Message Filtering, tap Unknown & Spam.
  3. Enable Filter Unknown Senders.
  4. Optional: For SMS Filtering, you can choose None, SMS Filter, or other trusted app you have downloaded.
Enable Filter Unknown Senders on iPhone

From now on, you’ll no longer get alerts, sounds, or vibrations for incoming iMessages sent by people who are not in your contact list. It’ll also not wake up the iPhone screen. However, you should still see the red badge on the Messages app icon and blue dots in the Messages app for unread messages, whether they were from unknown senders or not.

Where do filtered messages go?

After enabling Filter Unknown Senders, the Messages app gets two additional sections called Known Senders and Unknown Senders. To access these, open the iOS Messages app and tap <Filters from the top left. From here, tap All Messages to see every known and unknown text, or tap Known Senders and Unknown Senders to see messages from these categories.

Known Senders and Unknown Senders in Messages app on iPhone

Important: You’ll see that messages from people you have chatted with, received their number in Mail, talked with them on call, and such, will be listed under Known Senders even if their phone number isn’t saved to your iPhone. I also noticed that old messages from people who were once saved to your contact list will be listed under Known Senders.

Does this work for regular SMS too?

Filter Unknown Senders is an iMessage-only feature, and it doesn’t silence notifications for SMS sent by people who aren’t in your contacts. However, you won’t get the notification for any SMS that’s recognized as Junk by the SMS filter (if you set an SMS filter in step 4 above).

Filter iMessage messages from unknown senders

Now you know how to turn off message notifications from unknown people. This sorting is a handy touch, as it prevents unwanted clutter in the Messages app when you happen to have a lot of conversations among contacts and non-contacts at any given time.

However, it also means that you might miss iMessage from distant relatives, old friends, and such. So, make sure you open the Messages app periodically to see such messages.

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