incoming call

It looks like Apple could finally be getting serious about helping to eliminate nuisance calls on iPhones. A new Apple patent for “Detection of Spoofed Call Information,” targets a specific type of calling that has become increasingly annoying in recent years. 

As defined by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Caller ID spoofing is performed when someone deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display on your home or mobile phone. Interestingly, not all spoofing is illegal. For example, some organizations may use the tool to display the toll-free number for a business.

Not surprisingly, that’s not the type of spoofing Apple is targeting. Instead, it’s going after spammers (some would say scammers) who use spoofing to change the caller ID in such a way to trick the person into answering. To do so, they may often use fake local numbers or transmit the number of a reputable business or organization.

In the new patent, Apple describes a system where incoming calls are checked as they are coming in for certain markers to determine whether they are spam calls. In those cases, your iPhone would display a warning message telling you the call is probably fake.

The publishing of this Apple patent comes just as Google recently introduced a new Call Screen feature for its Pixel smartphone users. With this tool, you can have Google Assistant answer suspicious calls automatically. From there, the voice assistant transcribes the conversation in real-time so you can decide what to do. You can choose to answer the call or hang up. You can also block the call.

Until now, Apple has taken a mostly hands-off approach when it came to nuisance calls and has left it to carriers to come up with solutions. AT&T and T-Mobile, for example, among others, have provided free and paid spam-fighting tools in recent years to customers. The patent suggests Apple could soon take a leadership role on this issue.

Apple often submits patents for products that are never released to the public. Hopefully, this isn’t one of those times. Given what Google just announced, I think it’s safe to say that Apple will announce some sort of spam-busting solution for iOS in the coming months. Stay tuned.

What do you think Apple should do to eliminate call spoofing? We’d like to read your comments below.