How to Filter Messages Inbox by Known Senders on iPhone

May 13, 2021 - 3 Comments

How to Filter Messages Inbox by Known Senders

Do you regularly receive random text messages, SMS, or iMessages to your iPhone from people you don’t know? Whether it’s from SMS spam or random people messaging you, the Messages inbox on your iPhone can become a mess quickly if you’re inundated with unknown and spam messages. Fortunately, you can filter these unwanted messages using a feature available on iPhone.

Not every text or iMessage that you receive is going to be from a friend, family member, or someone you just know. The inbox for most people would include transactional messages from banks, promotional messages from network carriers, and other texts from random phone numbers, and maybe even spam or other junk. As a result, you may often have trouble finding a conversation that’s relevant to you while scrolling through your inbox. Message filtering alleviates this issue by sorting messages from people who aren’t in your contacts list or the texts from random numbers that you haven’t replied to.

So, if you’re interested, read on to learn how you can filter messages inbox by known senders on your iPhone.

How to Filter iMessages by Known Senders on iPhone & iPad

First and foremost, Message filtering must be turned on before you can filter your inbox by known senders. Make sure your iPhone is running iOS 14 or newer and simply follow the steps below to get started.

  1. Head over to “Settings” from the home screen of your iPhone.

    iOS settings icon
  2. In the settings menu, scroll down and tap on “Messages”.

    How to Filter Messages Inbox by Known Senders on iPhone
  3. Next, scroll down to the bottom and find the Message Filtering setting. Tap on “Unknown & Spam” to continue.

    How to Filter Messages Inbox by Known Senders on iPhone
  4. Now, you’ll find the option to filter unknown senders. Set the toggle to enabled to use this feature in the Messages app.

    How to Filter Messages Inbox by Known Senders on iPhone
  5. Open the stock Messages app from the home screen of your iPhone.

    How to enable iMessage on iPhone and iPad
  6. You’ll be taken to your inbox where you’ll find a new option called “Filters” at the top-left corner as shown below. Tap on it to continue.

    How to Filter Messages Inbox by Known Senders
  7. Now, tap on “Known Senders”. This will take you back to the inbox.

    How to Filter Messages Inbox by Known Senders
  8. You’ll immediately notice that your inbox looks a lot cleaner since all the messages are from your contacts or people you have replied to.

    How to Filter Messages Inbox by Known Senders

There you go, you’re now filtering your Messages inbox by known senders on your iPhone.

Keep in mind that you may still find a few random phone numbers when you scroll through the Known Senders inbox. This happens only if you’ve replied to one of the random texts at some point and hence, the Messages app considers it as Known Sender.

Although we were focusing primarily on the iPhones in this article, you can follow these exact steps to access and use Message filtering on your iPad too. However, make sure it’s running iPadOS 14 or later, as this feature is not available the same on earlier versions. If you do have an earlier iPhone or iPad, message filtering exists, but is more limited as discussed here in prior system software versions.

Filtering unknown senders will turn off notifications for iMessages from people who’re not in your contacts list. Also, it’s worth pointing out that you cannot open any links in messages from unknown senders unless you add them to your contacts list.

Apple has also added SMS filtering to the stock Messages app, though this feature is geo-limited at the moment to places like India at the time of this writing. This feature automatically separates promotional and transactional SMS text messages, and can be accessed from the same Filters menu. Presumably that feature will roll out to a wider audience eventually too.

We hope you were able to take advantage of Message filtering to sort your inbox by known senders and unknown senders. What do you think of this feature? Do you use it? Let us know in the comments any of your thoughts, tips, opinions, or experiences with filtering iMessages and contacts.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Dan Eccles says:

    I honestly don’t have a website.

    I do have the filter on, but gave money to a political campaign. Now it’s open season. I stop all of them but still inundated with others that I did reply to once. Now I want to push them to the unknown senders. I don’t want to wade through weeds to get to my real contacts. But would like to just look through the unknown without introducing myself so to speak.

  2. Daniel Deveron Baker says:

    I want to compliment you on a great website! It looks great on my desktop (which I prefer to use over my iPhone for online activities), and I found my answer quickly.

    I wanted to know how to make texts on my iPhone move from Unknown Senders to Known Senders. The secret is to text a REPLY to them! That moves them to the Known Senders messages.

    I want ONLY spam and junk to appear in Unknown Messages.

    Thank you and I have subscribed to your newsletter!

  3. Brad Crouch says:

    Do you guys have any method similar that will filter emails? I get lots of emails that are not even addressed to me! I keep blocking them but they “keep on coming” anyway! For several months now!

    I have a 27 inch iMac with a 1 terrabyte fusion drive, and I am running Mojave operating system. And an iPad & iPhone SE.


    Brad Crouch

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