How to stop robocalls from flooding your iPhone

“An unfamiliar number appears on your cellphone. It’s from your area code, so you answer it, thinking it might be important,” Christopher Mele writes for The New York Times. “There is an unnatural pause after you say hello, and what follows is a recording telling you how you can reduce your credit card interest rates or electric bill or prescription drug costs or any of a number of other sales pitches. Another day, another irritating robocall. If it feels as if your cellphone has increasingly been flooded with them, you’re right.”

“In a Robocall Strike Force Report in October, the Federal Communications Commission said telemarketing calls were the No. 1 consumer complaint,” Mele writes. “The most simple and effective remedy is to not answer numbers you don’t know.”

“List your phones on the National Do Not Call Registry. If your number is on the registry and you do get unwanted calls, report them,” Mele writes. “Download apps such as Truecaller, RoboKiller, Mr. Number, Nomorobo and Hiya, which will block the calls… And then there is the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, which turns the tables on telemarketers. This program allows a customer to put the phone on mute and patch telemarketing calls to a robot, which understands speech patterns and inflections and works to keep the caller engaged.”

Read more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Read the full article. The National Do Not Call Registry is certainly not a panacea. These unsolicited calls are an insidious problem and the lengths to which some of these scammers go (don’t say the word “yes” or they’ll use it to bill you) is criminal!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Whit D.” for the heads up.]


  1. Also, block these calls one by one by going to recent calls, then hit the “i” button on the right of your recent call’s entry, scroll down and hit the “block this caller” button.
    In the long run it does help by preventing repeated calls from the same robocallers.
    A surprising number of people don’t know this feature (me included until about a year ago).

    1. Mr. Number works great for me and as an added bonus, automatically blocks calls from numbers other people report. If you find a number that has been auto blocked was actually a ‘false’ positive for you, you can unblock it for your phone.

  2. After a whole 90 minutes of research off of the article, I settled on RoboKiller, at least to start. They claim to have won an award from the FTC for their work stopping robocalls. I also dug deep into the App Store reviews before latching on. Time will tell. Heck, I didn’t even know such apps existed before seeing this article!

  3. I do not give my phone number out much and I have a simple policy- if I do not recognize your number or the Caller ID your call is declined and the number blocked.

    I have a VoIP phone number I use when filling out stuff that requires a phone number and it is set to go to voicemail. Send a request for more info for Real Estate and the phone will ring almost immediately even if your preferred choice is to be contacted by email. Car Sales staff and Realtors are pests.

  4. Thanks MDN for this article… Been getting lots of those calls, seemed to have really started around a year and a half ago. Checked and my number is on the don’t not call list. Something must have changed recently that made these assholes start calling us…

  5. I created a ‘block’ contact as add the numbers to it as they come. The problem is that I’ve been receiving a lot of these calls lately. I’m now using the sword (vs scalpel) method now and have blocked all calls except for those in my contacts. I have a secondary VOIP number for non-personal calls.

  6. Much as I admire the concept of the “Jolly Roger Telephone Company, which turns the tables on telemarketers”, the Federal Trade Commission recommends simply hanging up on robo-rats ASAP. From my experience, the rats lose interest and stop calling.

    It also helps to NEVER give out your phone number to a business or even a non-profit group. They sell you to the robo-rats and…

    Oh and you DO know how to ‘Block this Caller’ on your iPhone, right?

      1. I assume you mean within the Phone app. The answer is sort of but not directly. The Phone app will help you determine if a caller is in your Contacts. You can also create a list of Favorites, which are also indicated in the Phone app when they call.

        I have my iPhone set to speak the name of the caller, if it can identify who a person or company is from my Contacts. If Phone instead tells me ‘Caller Unknown’, then I generally ignore the call, unless I’m expecting a call from someone unusual within a particular situation. Robo-rats almost never leave a message. Friends and concerned companies will leave a message. That’s the closest I know of to a native ‘white list’.

        Meanwhile, here are a few iPhone white list apps:

        Do Not Disturb $2.99 – It lets you create an ‘Allowed Callers’ list, IOW white list. In contrast, you can also create a ‘Do Not Disturb’ list, IOS black list. It’s easy to move callers back and forth between lists as you like.

        • PhoneGaurd $0.99 – White and black listing. It also uses its own curated blacklist to block robo-rat calls. (I may try this one!)

        • Call Silencer $4.99 – White listing.

        I hope that helps. More knowledgeable people, please add comments!

        1. Some cell phones in the past have had built in whitelisting. It would seem that Apple could add that feature.

          I guard my cell number so that I do not put up with a lot of uses calls. I have a Skype number for everything else.

            1. I used to use TruPhone which offered an excellent VoIP service that they shuttered in November 2016. All my incoming calls went to Voicemail and were forwarded as emails from TruPhone. That made filtering very easy.

              They still offer service through a SIM, just not the VoIP service only.

  7. The Do Not Call list is a joke! It is only for callers from your country. Now the calls originate off–shore.

    Also, what defense is there for land–lines? Apps are great for smartphones, but many of us have not given up our home phones.

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