I expect this iOS 13 tweak is not on top of anyone else’s list, but it’s quickly become a game changer for me when using my iPhone.
First, some background…
Earlier this year, I activated the ‘Do Not Disturb’ setting on my iPhone in an attempt to stop spam robocallers from interrupting my life.
(This setting still allowed calls from my ‘contacts’ to get through.)
But the big problem I found with this setting was there were still plenty of times when my iPhone was not in its Do Not Disturb mode, because I was using it. And whenever my iPhone was on, it was no longer locked down.
(I had decided not to engage the Do Not Disturb… ‘Always’ mode, because that was too restrictive. I’d never see any incoming texts!)
So of course, those moments when my iPhone was awake presented a crack in its defenses…
Invariably, I would be interrupted by a robocall when I was using an app on my iPhone. And I couldn’t just decline the rogue call for fear that any manual response would somehow trigger even more unwanted calls in the future. So, I’d sit there for twenty seconds while the call rang out. And then I’d continue along, having lost twenty seconds I’d never get back.
That stinks, right?
Silence Unknown Callers
I imagine this annoying problem has also happened to enough iOS designers at Apple over the past year. And so they’ve created a better defense for it in iOS 13.
It’s a setting called ‘Silence Unknown Callers,’ and here’s how you turn it on…
- Tap Settings
- Tap Phone
- Slide on Silence Unknown Callers
Apple describes this setting as “Calls from unknown numbers will be silenced, sent to voicemail, and displayed on the Recents list. Incoming calls will continue to ring from people in your contacts, recent outgoing calls, and Siri Suggestions.”
So, the huge change here is when a call from an unknown number comes in while you’re using your iPhone, the call doesn’t take over your device other than a momentary drop down notification about the unknown call.
More ‘Good’ Calls Get Through
With this feature in place, I no longer needed to keep the draconian ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode on.
The ‘Silence Unknown Callers’ setting is much more flexible, because it lets through numbers that you’ve used before but may not yet be listed in your contacts.
(So, if you make a one-off phone call but also expect a return call, now your iPhone won’t immediately send it to voice mail.)
Hailing Frequencies are Open
Of course, the real solution to handling spam robocalls is not how to best avoid them, but how to stop them from happening in the first place!
But until then, I’m pleased that Apple has helped me keep my generally ‘silenced’ iPhone more available to receiving legitimate calls from my own little universe.
It just takes sliding on the right setting!