How to Filter & Mute Unknown Senders Messages on iPhone & iPad from Known Contacts
iPhone and iPad users can opt to use a new “Filter Unknown Senders” feature in the iOS messaging app which will automatically hush and separate inbound messages that are coming from unrecognized contacts. This is extremely useful if your phone number is publicly listed on a web site like Craigslist, if you’re a public figure, or if you just happen to get a notable amount of inbound messages from numbers you don’t recognize.
By turning this message filtering feature on, your iOS Messages app will basically have two inboxes: people in your Contacts list, and everyone else who is not part of your contacts list on the iPhone or iPad.
How to Enable Contacts & Unknown Sender Sorting in iOS Messages
If you’d like to sort and filter unknown contacts into a separate section of the Messages app on iPhone or iPad, here is how you can enable this helpful feature:
- Open the Settings app and go to “Messages”
- Locate the option for “Filter Unknown Senders” and toggle it to the ON position – note the message underneath which further explains the feature: ‘Turn off notifications for iMessages from people who are not in your contacts and sort them into a separate list.’
- Return to the Messages app to find the two Message inboxes: “Contacts & SMS” and “Unknown Senders” – this is sorted automatically, tap on either tab to select that message inbox
Because this also turns off notifications from messages that are coming from people who are not part of your contacts list, it prevents you from having to enter into Do Not Disturb mode or using the Mute switch if you just don’t want to be bothered by the other messages.
Anyone in the “Unknown Senders” list will not trigger a standard notification on your device, and will no longer end up in your primary known person inbox:
Note the setting mentions iMessages get filtered, but in my experience all unknown senders who are not in the Contacts list get placed into the “Unknown Senders” box, that includes SMS texts, and not just iMessage users.
Turning this feature off will not delete any messages, it just merges the message inboxes back together into the same default Messages app view again.
This works the same on all iOS devices, but it’s likely to be much more useful on the iPhone, where people tend to get the bulk of their messaging. The Filtering feature requires a recent version of iOS, older versions do not support the Unknown Sender inbox in Messages app.