Tech

How to banish spam calls and make them go straight to voicemail

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Tom Victor
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Blocking numbers is one thing, but it might be possible to detect spam callers before they’ve even spoken to you

There are few things more annoying than spam phone calls. There you are, just going about your business, and suddenly you’re answering a call from someone you’ve never spoken to before, who wants to sell you something you have no use for.

Now, if only there was a way to send these spam sales calls direct to voicemail, to save yourself the frustration of picking up the phone only to find that same irritating sales voice waiting on the other end. Well, there may well be.

The system is different for iPhone and Android users, so let’s start with Android.

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Stop nuisance calls on Android phones

It should be noted that both IOS and Android devices will allow you to manually block certain callers, guaranteeing any calls from a certain number will be directed straight to voicemail, but that’s not as much use if you either (a) get a call from a new and unwanted individual or (b) get multiple spam calls from the same person using several different phone numbers.

As reported by The Verge, Google’s Phone app has introduced a new ‘Filter Spam Calls’ feature, which does more or less what it says on the tin. This is just another example of Google making significant updates to its products after the recent Gmail tweaks.

To put the filter into use, you’ll need to head to the Settings menu and click through to Caller ID & Spam. From there, turn on Filter Spam Calls and calls detected as spam will not cause your phone to ring. You won’t even get a voicemail push notification for them, though they will show up among your recent calls if you ever need to make sure you haven’t had important calls accidentally flagged as spam.

Stop nuisance calls on an iPhone

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The deal is slightly different for iPhone users, however.

As outlined in an Apple Support post from December 2017, the recommended way to deal with the same situation requires you to download a third-party app - Truecaller is a popular app, as is Hiya Caller ID and Block

Once you’ve done that, you’re advised to head to Settings > Phone and head on through to Call Blocking & Identification, where you can select which apps you will allow to block calls and provide caller ID.

As the post explains: “When you receive a call, your device checks the caller’s number and compares it to the list of phone numbers in your third-party spam apps.

“If there’s a match, iOS displays the identifying label chosen by the app, for example Spam or Telemarketing. If the app determines that a phone number is spam, it may choose to block the phone call automatically. Incoming calls are never sent to third-party developers.”

If you want to continue doing things the old-fashioned way, you’ll always still have the option of manually blocking numbers belonging to people you want to avoid – and that’s not always just spam callers.

However, seeing as you often don’t know if a call is spam until you answer, anything which can save you a bit of time (and a lot of stress) has to be a good thing.

(Images: Pexels/Pixabay)