Spam is a sad reality of the digital marketing age, and it can crop up anywhere, even in Apple’s popular iMessage service. And while SMS spam, or junk text messages, is annoying enough, the problem with spam sent on Apple’s messaging service is that it doesn’t even require a telephone number as iMessage is available on non-cellular iPad tablets, the company’s Mac computers, and on the iPod Touch.
There are two ways to help stop unwanted iMessage solicitations on your iDevice, and here’s how to do it:
1. Reporting spam to Apple
TUAW discovered a support document on Apple’s site detailing how users can report spam to the company. This suggests that Apple is aware of iMessage spam and may be concerned that this will indeed be a growing problem or nuisance in the future.
In reporting iMessage marketing spam to Apple, it’s assumed that Apple manages a blacklist somewhere where frequently reported telephone numbers or email addresses associated with the iMessage service would be placed so they cannot access the iMessage service in the future. The crowd-sourced reporting service is still obscure, and perhaps Apple could easily add a “mark as spam” option like in Google’s Gmail email service in the future to quickly report spam messages from within the Message app. However, as it stands, here’s what you need to do:
To report unwanted iMessage messages to Apple, please send an email with the following details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Include a screenshot of the message you have received.
- Include the full email address or phone number you received the unwanted message from.
- Include the date and time that you received the message.
2. Manually block the user yourself (iOS 7 only)
A new feature to iOS 7 is to block callers, FaceTime video chats, and iMessage from people you don’t want to communicate with. Whether they’re ex-bosses, former lovers, or much hated iMessage marketing spammers, you can just block them so there messages don’t even show up. Not only won’t you be alerted from future messages from anyone who is blocked, but there messages won’t even arrive.
Unfortunately, you can’t block a person from one service, and not the other. If it’s not marketing spam, for instance, and it’s personal iMessage spam from a close friend, you can’t block this friend’s iMessage and still grant them access to FaceTime and phone calls. Once a contact is blocked, they’re universally blocked across all services.
Here’s what you need to do to block an iMessage spammer. You can either initiate the blocking directly from your address book (if it’s a personal contact) or from the iMessage app if they have a number or email address listed there.
Hit the “Contact” button on the upper right.
After you do that, you’re greeted with options for Phone, FaceTime, and Information. Click the Information, or “i,” option.
When you do that, you’re taken to the information for the contact. Scroll down to the bottom and hit “Block this Caller.”
Apple will show you a pop up with what that means, and if you agree, select “Block Contact” from the pop up and you’re done blacklisting this individual.