Apple unveiled iOS 13 during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, giving a preview at all the upcoming features making their way to the iPhone.
Among these new functionalities is a tool to keep robocalls and the like at bay.
iOS 13's Anti-Robocall Feature
In the preview page of iOS 13, Apple says there will be a new setting that will "protect users from unknown and spam callers," describing the system as "Silence unknown callers." If it's activated, then iOS will use "Siri intelligence to allow calls to ring your phone from numbers in Contacts, Mail, and Messages. All other calls are automatically sent to voicemail."
This means that any number calling that isn't saved in a user's Contacts, Mail, or Messages — in other words, any unknown number — will get sent directly to voice mail.
With this in place, iPhone users won't be tricked into answering numbers that have been spoofed to look like legitimate ones.
Of course, this could spell trouble for some users since not every unknown number is a robocall, after all. They could review the call to verify whether it's authentic or not if the caller left a voice mail, though.
Spam calls and the like have been pervasive since time immemorial. According to the Federal Communications Commission (PDF), there were 232,000 complaints about robocalls in 2018. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission reported that it received 3.7 million complaints during the same year.
At that, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that tech companies have been taking measures to fight against this type of calls.
For instance, Verizon recently made its Call Filter app free so that its subscribers won't have to deal with spam callers anymore. Google's Call Screen also comes to mind, a much-welcomed feature that was previously exclusive to its Pixel phones but is now expanding to other Android devices such as the Motorola One and Moto G7.
The developer preview of iOS 13 has already been made available. A final release of the software update is expected sometime this fall.