Apple's iOS 13 'Silence Unknown Callers' Feature Is Sounding Pretty Good

By Catie Keck on at

Many of us are familiar with the uniquely infuriating hell that is automed calls, or robocalls, and, I hate to say it, but the problem isn’t getting any better. A recently announced iPhone feature arriving with iOS 13, however, might help quiet some of those unknown callers by kicking them straight to voicemail. So far, I’m loving what I’m hearing.

There is certainly plenty to look forward to with iOS 13 (hello, system-wide Dark Mode). But I am pumped – PUMPED – for the forthcoming Silence Unknown Callers setting, which Apple explicitly states is meant to help prevent against spammers. Apple says that when this feature is enabled, iOS uses Siri “to allow calls to ring your phone from numbers in Contacts, Mail, and Messages”. Anything else gets sent straight to voicemail. See ya.

MacRumors reported trying the feature this week and said it performed well, with nary a ring from a random number when the setting was toggled on. According to the report, the feature hit a snag when the site attempted to test whether iOS would recognise a number shared via email, which didn’t appear to be the case. But that could change prior to the official release. (MacRumors did note that “we haven’t done extensive testing”).

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted unanimously to allow carriers to block robocalls by default. Ahead of that vote, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wrote in an op-ed at USA Today that “robocalls are far and away the top consumer complaint we get each year”, adding that they make up roughly 60 per cent of those reports. Pai further said that consumers typically lump illegal calls, telemarketing and scams under the single umbrella of “unwanted” calls, making a great case for Apple’s new feature.

Personally, this Silence Unknown Callers can’t come soon enough. I would much prefer having to call back an unsaved contact than deal with the very real pain in the backside that is fielding spam calls between legitimate ones. (With situational exceptions, of course). And given that tens of billions of robocalls were made to numbers in the U.S. last year and are rising globally, I’m going to guess that I’m not the only one who’s curious to give this feature a try.

Expect to see this arrive with the worldwide release of iOS 13 this autumn.

Featured photo: Gizmodo