You can block SMS spam in the UAE

Greetings! photo © Copyright by Tyler Lastovich

In my Steak of the economy post I spoke about how you can block SMS spam on your phone.

On iPhone, blocking SMS spam is a nightmare and having tried almost every trick in the bag, from wishing for Apple to allow a simple way to let us block these messages, to testing the few message filtering apps from the App Store (at the risk of every message being filtered by a third-party processor), I had given up hope of a day when I could block SMS spam easily on iPhone.

(On Android phones it’s a piece of cake. Grrr!).

The issue has always been with SMS spam that originates without a number, and almost all of it does. So a sender with an SENDER ID like BUYFROMUSPLEASE can’t be blocked on the iPhone. There’s no number, so we can’t add it to the address book, so it can’t be blocked using the Block this Caller option.

If you save the number based on the sender id text and then try, the same result. It’s not going to happen.

On the other hand, Apple’s Unknown Senders list in the Messages app has only worked for me just once. It filtered my mom’s message into that list, considering her some sort of a threat, aptly spotting that she had sent an iMessage from her iCloud address that was not saved in my address book. Spammer stopped.

This gives you a sense of how frustrating this is on the iPhone. I’m not hopeful if iOS 13 would be of any use either. Apple simply pays too less attention to some of these nuisances.

The way you CAN do this costs you a charge for an SMS, but you can get it working on both Etisalat and Du networks in the UAE. I have finally blocked tens of SMS spammers. Here’s what you need to do.

Note the name of the spammer, in our case BUYFROMUSPLEASE – if the name has upper and lower case letters – note them that way (though it should be case-insensitive, why risk it). Once you’ve got the right spelling, send an SMS to 7726 with the text ‘b BUYFROMUSPLEASE’ or the spelling variant. You should get a nice confirmation message from Etisalat and Du.

To unblock the sender, if you ever want to, send ‘u BUYFROMUSPLEASE’ to 7726.

If you need a list of your blocked senders, send ‘get’ to 7726.

The same number and process works on both networks and it works well. I only wonder whether the feature was right under my nose and I hadn’t spotted it all along.

Yay!! You can block SMS spam in the UAE!