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Block Telemarketing Calls Automatically on Your iPhone

Junk calls are one of the great annoyances of the modern world. You’re minding your own business when your iPhone vibrates in your pocket. You pull it out, curious as to who’s calling, but don’t recognise the number. You may notice that it’s in the same exchange as your phone number, suggesting that it’s a neighbour. But no. When you answer, it’s “Heather,” a pre-recorded voice wanting to sign you up for a resort vacation, give your business a loan, or help with your credit card debt. Angered by the intrusion, you tap the red hangup button, wishing you had an old-style telephone receiver to slam down.

 

There’s no way to retaliate against these scum-sucking bottom feeders, and the best option is to hang up immediately. For quite a few versions of iOS, you’ve been able to block a caller manually—just tap the i button next to the call in the Recents screen in the Phone app, scroll to the bottom, and tap Block This Caller. But that’s seldom worth doing since telemarketers often spoof the numbers they call from, so it’s unlikely you’d get a second call from the same number.

 

Instead, we recommend taking advantage of a feature Apple introduced in iOS 10 that enables apps to block calls for you. Quite a few of these apps have appeared, with some of the best reviewed being Hiya, Mr. Number, RoboKiller (not available in Australia), and Truecaller. Hiya and Mr. Number are both free and from the same company—Mr. Number is a stripped-down version of Hiya—whereas RoboKiller (not available in Australia) and Truecaller require an in-app purchase for a monthly membership.

 

Hiya and Mr Number, being the same company,  have a web site with localise (Australian) content https://hiya.com/au/

If you run a business you can attach your logo, name and location to the app.

Hiya is available as both a standard, ie free with ads and premium apps, ie subscription ($2.99 per month or $14.99 per annum). Details are available here

Truecaller does not have an "Australian" site but does support Australian numbers.

Its website is simpler in presentation and allows checking numbers. 

In general, these apps work by receiving caller ID information from iOS and comparing it against both your local contacts (to identify good calls) and a constantly updated database of numbers used by telemarketers (bad calls). Phone calls from your contacts ring through normally, as do phone calls from phone numbers not in either of those sets. That’s key, since your doctor might call back from a secondary number, or your children’s new teacher might call to talk about an upcoming event. But if you receive a phone call from a number known to be used by a telemarketer, the app can either identify it on the incoming call screen or block it automatically, sending it to voicemail, depending on the settings you have selected.

 

To enable one of these apps, after you download it from the App Store, go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification and enable its switch. You’ll probably also have to do some setup in the app itself, providing your phone number, perhaps creating an account, and determining what should happen with different calls (Mr. Number is shown below, right).