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Security & privacy

Why I hate Apple’s feature to block robocalls

Like clockwork, Apple releases new products and software updates each fall with varying levels of success. This year we saw a few new models of the iPhone, and the biggest takeaway was the exciting new color options. If you missed it, find out my take on everything Apple announced here. It’s straight and to the point.

Aside from the modestly upgraded new gear, Apple also released iOS 13. While the updated operating system has some notable new features like Dark Mode and better photo and video-editing tools, its original release was full of bugs that could put your iPhone at risk. Tap or click to learn about those risks and why Apple ended up releasing three iOS updates in just 2 weeks’ time.

Now that all the bugs have been worked out (maybe), you might want to take advantage of some of the features that are new to this year’s OS update. Some are worth checking out, but there’s one in particular that I really hate.

Apple’s plan to block unwanted calls

I’m talking about Apple’s new robocall-blocking feature called Silence Unknown Callers, which debuted with iOS 13. It sounds great.

Stop the robocalls. Finally. Cue the angels!

The new feature allows your phone to automatically send calls from numbers not recognized directly to voicemail. If the number is found in your Mail, Messages or Contacts app, the call is supposed to go through.

Let’s not get this confused with Do Not Disturb because it’s not like that at all. A call will eventually get through when that Do Not Disturb feature is enabled, but that’s not the case with the new option.

Here’s how the robocall blocking feature works:

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.


Related: Even though it feels like we’re on our own in the battle against robocalls, we’re not. The government has been trying to help stop them for years, although unsuccessfully. Now, mobile carriers are getting in on the fight. Here are some new ways mobile carriers are taking on robocalls.


All-or-nothing call-blocking

In theory, this feature sounds great. We all could use some help in dealing with infuriating robocalls. Even with government agencies, cellular carriers and technology companies working on ways to end robocalls, the telemarketers and scammers behind them continue to find ways around.

Here are 3 major reasons robocalls won’t stop, along with 5 things to do about them.

While it’s meant to help, in reality, Apple’s new feature is a serious pain and could cause you big headaches if you decide to use it. Think about how it works. Every single phone call you receive where the number isn’t in your contacts list gets sent directly to voicemail. That’s crazy.

As the primary caregiver to my mother, I get calls all the time from doctors and clinics. And these calls are extremely important.

Imagine having a critical call come in from a doctor that you’ve been waiting on and, because you’re using Apple’s robocall blocker, the call goes to voicemail and you don’t get the sensitive information in time. You could end up missing an important appointment or worse.

What about calls coming in dealing with business? Missing out on those calls could cost you big bucks.

I’m suggesting you not enable this feature and wait for Apple to come up with a better solution. It was the company with groundbreaking ideas like the iPhone and iPad, after all. Where’s the next great idea?


Related: Apple’s robocall blocker isn’t the only new feature in iOS 13. Now you can type with a swipe, make it easy on your eyes with dark mode, create a unique Memoji and so much more. Check out these 9 essential iOS 13 tips and tricks and you’ll be an expert in no time.


Try it for yourself: How to enable Silence Unknown Callers

Now, if you’re just fed up and willing to take the risk by enabling the new call-blocking feature, here’s how: Open Settings and scroll down to Phone. Scroll down and turn on Silence Unknown Callers. 

Once you slide the toggle to the right, the Silence Unknown Callers feature is on. Just remember to keep an eye on your Recents list if you’re expecting important calls and watch for voicemails.

By the way, do you love Apple products? Let me teach you how to get the most from your devices. Tap or click here to sign up for my weekly Apple Updates newsletter for news, tips, tricks and the coolest new apps.

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