iMessage, Apple’s own messaging service for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac users, has been quite a success since it appeared on iOS 5 and OS X Lion. Yet, like most similar services of the kind, it’s had its share of issues and problems, with the main one being the lack of a proper blocking/reporting feature for spam messages. iOS 7 came with a feature allowing users to block those causing the offense. To bring this further, Apple recently rolled out a spam reporting feature allowing anyone to report troublesome users/messages to Apple.
Late last year, vulnerabilities were exposed in Apple’s iMessage infrastructure, which allowed just about anybody to spam another’s device with a simple Dos-like attack. This attack, alongside two to three other small vulnerabilities, highlighted the need for Apple to have a far more firm approach to security with iMessage, and since then, we’ve seen the company make significant developments in an attempt to do exactly that.
Differentiate Between A SMS/MMS and an iMessage
You shouldn’t mix these two up. This method is for reporting spam iMessages, while for spam SMS’s, be sure to contact your mobile service provider. On iOS, the main difference between a regular SMS/MMS and a iMessage is that a SMS will have a green box around it, while an iMessage will have a blue one, as shown below:
Another difference is that iMessages will have “iMessage” written on top of the window:
For Mac OS X users, by default, all your messages should be iMessages as SMS/MMS aren’t currently supported by OS X.
Report An iMessage
This particular spam reporting method, while not a permanent solution, allows iMessage users to report spam messages to Apple in a relatively quick fashion. It simply involves sending an email to “firstname.lastname@example.org”. The email itself should contain the following items:
- Screenshot of the message you received (How to take a screenshot: iOS/OS X)
- Full email address/contact number from which you received the iMessage
- The date and time you received the message
Here’s the complete process as Apple outlines on its website:
A Simple Method To Block iMessages in iOS
While the method detailed above could be better implemented with a simple “Spam” button, Tim Cook hasn’t decided to include such a feature, so we’re currently stuck with the method above to report spam messages. There is a simple workaround, though, to easily block iMessages coming from unknown numbers in iOS. All messages coming from numbers not saved in your Contacts list will automatically be blocked. To do this:
1. Open up the iMessage from the sender you would like to block.
2. Click on “Contact” in the upper-right corner.
3. Click on the little info button, which will open up a Contact page for the sender.
4. Simply scroll down and select “Block this caller” to block the sender.
Many new features have emerged in iOS over the years, and amongst those, iMessage is arguably the most useful in the day-to-day routine. While it has its fair share of issues, its nice to see that work is being done to ensure a much improved overall service for the future. With the method narrated above, you should easily be able to report and block spam messages in iMessage.
Be sure to tell us about your iMessage experience in the comments box below. Also tell us, on average, how many spam messages you receive, and if you have any other method to get rid of them.