iOS 11 SMS App Filters Out Spam Messages

New SMS spam filters available on iOS 11.


On iOS 11 it is now possible to set up a number of different spam filters in your SMS inbox. This feature will allow you to keep your important messages in your message inbox, whilst junk messages and verification codes can be filtered out and swept under the rug.

By default, all of your important messages will be available in the ‘messages’ tab in the new messages app. The junk texts will be sent to a separate ‘SMS junk’ tab. This will allow iOS 11 users to quickly switch between each tab in case any important verification messages do get filtered into the new junk inbox.

To enable the feature, you must visit the iOS 11 settings app and activate the Hiya SMS spam filter. Before activating the feature, a pop-up message will appear that mentions that all of the contents of your texts will be read by Hiya.

We believe the Hiya app needs these permissions to improve the accuracy of its junk filters. We would be shocked to find out if the third party app, which has been baked into the new iPhone update, uses any SMS tracking methods for advertising purposes or for other reasons.

With that in mind, if you plan to use the new Hiya SMS filtering feature, it may be wise to be more cautious about the sensitive information you send and receive through your messages inbox.

How Does the iOS 11 Spam Filtering Work?

Once the spam filter is enabled, it’ll add two separate tabs in the messages app. Like mentioned before, these two tabs are the ‘messages’ tab and the ‘junk SMS‘ tab.

The feature was originally announced at Apple’s WWDC conference earlier in the year. It didn’t receive much attention at the time because the event organizers had already shared so many other upcoming software features.

sms tracking ios 11

However, during the event, Apple made it clear that they do not share the phone number of the person using the SMS filtering feature. They did mention that the sender’s phone number is sent to the SMS filtering app, along with the information in each text message.

There are also rules in place to stop the filtering app from saving messages between you and your friends. If you add a number to your contact list, any messages to and from that contact will not be rerouted through Hiya’s servers. If you reply to a number three or more times, messages to and from that number will also no longer be sent to Hiya.

The remaining messages that’ll be sent to Hiya are the kinds of one-off messages you may receive from your bank, the online services you use, and verification texts for any accounts you have 2 factor authentication enabled on.

sms filtering ios 11

Apple didn’t mention whether Hiya has policies in place to delete the messages they’ve saved to their servers, but once again we’d be surprised if Hiya is using any messages they are tracking for anything other than improving their filtering features.

Unfortunately, it’s not just about whether or not Hiya is using the data from text messages. Hiya must be responsible for their own security – if they’re holding text messages on their servers that could potentially hold sensitive information, they are putting a big target on their back to any black-hat hackers out there.


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