What happens when you report texts as spam?

How can you report all the spam texts you get on your iPhone, and what happens when you report it? Where does the report go? Does anyone look at these things?

Apple has useful tools like Hide My Email and Sign in with Apple for managing email spam, but text spam can be far more annoying. You don’t have a spam filter for your texts, and texts can be easier to fake.

If you’re getting spam texts, there are a few different steps you can take to can it, and I’ll walk you through all of them.

How to report spam texts on iPhone

Tap the Report button or swipe to delete text messages
Tap the button or swipe to delete and report junk.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Just tap on the notification to open the conversation and tap Report Junk if you see the option. You can also go back to the conversation list and swipe to the left on a message to delete it. You’ll have two options; tap Delete and Report Junk if the option is available.

There are a few reasons why ‘Report Junk’ might not appear:

  • You won’t be able to report spam on anyone who’s in your contacts list.
  • You’ve texted back or replied in the conversation, so Apple doesn’t think it’s spam.
  • Your cell phone carrier might not support spam reporting.

It’s also worth noting that reporting a message as junk does not prevent you from continuing to get messages from this number or sender. It only reports the message as spam.

This is to make sure the feature is accident-proof. If you get two-step verification text messages to sign in with Google or Twitter, for example, and you want to clean up your message history, you might accidentally tap Delete and Report Spam. Although it sends an erroneous spam report, it doesn’t prevent you from receiving sign-in codes from the automated service in the future.

Who reads these things?

This Apple Support document outlines what happens when you send a spam report.

If it’s an MMS or SMS message (a green bubble) the conversation will go to both your cell carrier and Apple. Whether a human actually processes or takes any action on these will depend on the carrier.

If it’s an iMessage conversation (blue bubble), it’s taken up directly with Apple — your cell carrier has nothing to do with iMessage. Considering Apple’s dubious-at-best reputation for handling feedback, I wouldn’t be surprised if “Delete and Report Junk” is also effectively a placebo button.

Considering spam text messages rose 700% in the first half of 2021, with over 2.6 billion messages being sent every week in April of last year alone, it’s safe to say your report will have a similar effect as the jellyfish that attempted to divert the Titanic from its fatal collision course with an iceberg.

Block spam texts

While trying to send a text message spam report may be a futile endeavor, there is something you can do.

Blocking a number in Messages
Reporting junk doesn’t block the number — you have to dig into the conversation details.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Before you delete the chat, I recommend you block the spammer in question. Tap into the conversation, tap the icon at the top of the screen, tap Info and tap Block this caller.

A couple years ago, sometimes as often as twice a day, I would get a text in a group chat with 19 other strangers in my same area code. Even more annoying than the spam texts were the other people texting “STOP” or “Remove me from this group!!!” turning one annoying notification into ten.

I repeatedly blocked everyone in these group chats as they came up. Slowly, they started to die down in frequency. It’s been a few months now since I’ve received one.


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