- Apple says its new iOS 13 software for the iPhone will introduce the ability to send unknown calls straight to voicemail.
- The feature takes into account whether a phone number has been mentioned in an email or text message and will allow calls from these numbers to ring.
- The new setting comes as automated spam calls have been on the rise in the US.
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Spam phone calls are a growing problem in the US, and there’s no indication the issue will be resolved anytime soon.
Nearly 48 billion robocalls were made in the US in 2018, according to Cision, representing a 56.8% increase compared to 2017.
But when Apple’s iOS 13 software launches this fall, iPhone owners could have a better way to deal with them.
The new software update, which Apple announced earlier this month at its Worldwide Developers Conference, is expected to introduce a setting for silencing unknown and spam callers.
The new feature uses Siri to filter out calls from phone numbers that aren’t found in your iPhone’s Contacts, Mail, and Messages app, reducing your chances of answering your phone only to find an automated scammer on the other end.
These screened calls are sent straight to your iPhone’s voicemail.
This capability isn’t on by default, but users can enable it in iOS 13 by launching the iPhone’s settings menu, scrolling down to the phone option, and toggling the slider next to “Silence Unknown Callers,” as outlets such as 9to5Mac and MacRumors have reported.
You may not always have a person’s contact information saved in your phone, which is why Apple’s new feature takes numbers mentioned in emails and text messages into account. But keep in mind this applies only to Apple’s Mail and Messages app.
If there’s a phone number that’s mentioned in a third-party service like Facebook Messenger, Slack, or WhatsApp that isn’t referenced in Apple’s Messages app, it sounds like your iPhone would still screen it. The same likely applies to an email sent to one of your accounts that isn’t linked to Apple’s Mail app.
Apple’s iOS 13 update isn’t expected to launch until later this year, likely in September, to coincide with the company’s annual iPhone unveil. But those with an Apple developer account already have access to the beta version of iOS 13, and Apple typically releases an early unfinished version of the software to the public in the summer.
Apple isn’t the only company trying to cut down on spam calls. Last year, Google announced a feature for the Pixel 3 that can screen spam calls and provide transcriptions in real time.
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