Firewall robocall blocker: The app equivalent of Kryptonite against iPhone robocalls

J.R. Bookwalter for Macworld:

According to The New York Times, upwards of 48 billion Americans were hounded by robocalls in 2018, an increase of 56.8 percent over the previous year. That averages out to roughly 150 scam, telemarketing, and unwanted calls annually for every adult with a phone—a number expected to balloon higher in the future.

That’s precisely why a cottage industry flourishes on the App Store, supplying tools to combat this menace. Unfortunately, most call blocker solutions rely on outdated, ineffective blacklists, or worse yet, require users to do the heavy lifting by reporting rogue numbers as they pop up. A new app called Firewall takes the opposite approach: Whitelisting everyone you know and sending the rest to limbo.

While that may sound like dropping a nuke on your backyard to get rid of a few pesky bugs, Firewall did a remarkable job of eliminating nuisance calls on my iPhone X. In recent months I’ve received a handful of daily intrusions, but after installing Firewall, they were entirely eliminated.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve tried it on our Verizon iPhones and it makes you go, “Ahhh.” Blissful silence. No more robocalls.

Not that Firewall is a free download, with a free trial period to try out the app. If you purchase the service, you will be charged a $3.99 / month. with no commitments.


  1. “…upwards of 48 billion Americans were hounded by robocalls in 2018…”

    Uh, do math much? Hell, even simple arithmetic and English grammar? There were only approximately 327 million people in the U.S. at the end of 2018. It’s not physically possible for “48 billion Americans” to have anything happen to them. Hell, there are not 48 billion humans on the planet.

    I usually try to get past extremely bad phrasing such as this, but this time it is so egregious that I just couldn’t let it go.

  2. Great, so when you forget to put the auto mechanic into your Contacts, when they call to tell you your car is ready – limbo.

    Or the airline calls to tell you your flight is canceled.

    Or your bank calls you to report suspicious activity on your credit card.

    Or the school nurse calls to tell you your child is sick.

    Or your automated alert for child abduction, tornado etc.

    And you’re going to pay $3.99 a month for a feature that’s built into iOS

    Apps for dummies is my take.

    1. “block all calls that are not listed in your iPhone Contacts.” But I get 10 times as many calls as from numbers that are NOT in my contacts. I use Call Protect from AT&T (Hiya software) and it shows all calls coming in, so I have option of answering it, not answering it and not blocking, and not answering AND blocking.

      Based upon what I block after reviewing, and blocks that are pre-screened by Call Protect, it saves me 150-200 calls per month.

      One other benefit: I got a call from what appeared to be an ex-girlfriend (by name, but with a different cell #) I did not answer it, but her know what happened. It made her nervous, so I called AT&T and were able to confirm that it was just her name, and that her phone had not been hacked, which made her feel better.

      EASILY worth $3.99 per month.

  3. I have Do Not Disturb on all the time. I have it set so all of my contacts can get through anyway. That results in all calls not in my Contacts going to Voicemail. End of problem, and free.

  4. If you have Do Not Disturb turned on and someone not in your contacts calls twice within a short time (3 minutes, I think), the second call will get through. Many spammers are now calling, hanging up, and then immediately calling again to get around Do Not Disturb.

    1. Agree completely. I have several robocallers blocked and they call 7-8 times in a minute thinking I might have DND turned on. I don’t but they were blocked at first attempt by AT&T Call Protect that I pay $3.99 per month. Worth every penny I pay for wonderful silence.

  5. I believe they meant (although it’s not properly written) that every American with a phone (over 300 million of them) received an average of 150 unwanted calls EACH in 2018. If this is true, and then if you do the math, it would be: 300million x 150 = 45 billion. The number (48 billion) is all of a sudden not wrong… 😉

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