Apple recently unveiled iOS 12, which comes with a host of new features while focusing mainly on performance and stability. Apple didn’t mention this at the unveiling but it has also included a new feature in iOS 12, first spotted by Medianama, which will finally allow users to report and/or block spam calls and texts using a third party app. Developers of such apps will be able to integrate an app extension named “Unwanted Communications” and in order to make use of the feature, a user will need to manually enable Unwanted Communications extension in Settings. Also, they will be able to enable only one extension at a time, which translates to the use of only one spam reporting app at a time.
After enabling Unwanted Communications extension, users will be able to report calls by swiping left on an item in the Recents list and selecting report. Similarly, texts can be reported by tapping on the Report Message button when it appears in the Messages transcript. One will also be able to report a message by long-pressing on it and selecting additional messages and tapping on Report Messages. Apple explains the working of the new feature as, “When the user reports an SMS message or call, the system launches your Unwanted Communication extension. Your extension gathers additional information from the user, before deciding whether to report or block the number... Blocked numbers are added to the device’s Blocked Contact list. Users can manage this list in the Settings app. Finally, to protect user privacy, the system always deletes your extension’s container after your extension terminates.”
This move by Apple not only brings new features for its consumers but also paves way for the Do Not Disturb (DND) app that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been pushing Apple to publish on iOS. The DND app allows users to block unsolicited marketing calls, but it requires permissions for complete access to their call logs and text messages. Apple seems to have found a middle ground that allows the app to function with a limited amount of data, which the user chooses to provide it. However, it remains to be seen whether TRAI will settle with the compromise of limited access to a user’s data or push Apple for granting unrestricted access to its app.