What controls automatic text replies on iPhone (iOS 11.4) ?

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by azure, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    So my phone rang just now. Of course, as nearly always, it was a spammer. In the process of fishing the phone out of my pocket, the random presses of the power and Home buttons resulted in the phone declining the call. Wonderfully fortuitous!

    Well, no. When I pressed the Home button to unlock the phone and block the number, I was informed (before the numeric keypad came up to perform the unlock) that an auto-reply was to be texted, "Can I call you later?" Gaahh!!!! I did not want this. I thought the safest action would be to hit the power button, and then retry the unlock sequence. No sooner had I done that than I heard the familiar "Whoosh!" and the message was sent.

    Of course since the number was spoofed, the spammer never received the text, but some random poor soul in southeast Michigan did.

    This is IMO totally unacceptable behavior for a cellphone. Text replies should only be sent when the user specifically selects them and it should NOT be possible to do it through random keypresses on a locked phone.

    Is there any way to completely disable auto text replies?

    If not, what is the default button sequence that triggers an auto text reply when the phone is locked? (So I can be careful to avoid it in the future!)

    I can't find any reference on this online, just the usual dummies' tutorials on how to create auto-replies.
     
  2. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Settings >> Do Not Disturb >> Auto-Reply (at bottom of list, might need to scroll to see it
     
  3. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    AFAIK that only applies when DND is activated, which it was not. My Auto-Reply To is set to Favorites as well, so it should never have replied to this random number.
     
  4. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    I should say, one possibility is that it wasn't physical button presses that activated the auto-reply but the soft buttons that allow you to answer or decline calls (or answer with a message) when the phone is locked. But I always thought that those buttons only become active when the phone senses motion and the display comes on. When I lifted the phone from my pocket, the display was off until the phone was at eye level.

    Nope, I just tried it and the display comes on when a call comes in, regardless of motion, even when Raise To Wake is turned off. So the best I can figure is my random soft button presses had already done their mischief by the time the phone was out of my pocket.

    And there seems to be NO way to make this impossible. :mad2:
     
  5. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    Settings > Phone > Respond with Text > (choose response or leave everything off).

    Did you activate one of these options in the past? I'm almost sure they are default off. I have never had this problem.
     
  6. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    I never used them either. They are greyed out for me by default -- except when an incoming call is active. Then it is VERY easy to accidentally send one.

    They're editable though, so I wondered what would happen if I just deleted all of the text so they're all blank? No joy! If you leave them blank the defaults come back.

    "Can I call you later?" is the first default reply. No way that I can see to get rid of it.
     
  7. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Okay I found the answer... in the TouchID & Passcode section, under ALLOW ACCESS WHEN LOCKED, there is a toggle for Reply with Message. When it's off, the Message button does not appear when a call comes in when the phone is locked.

    </thread> (yeah, right!) :cool:
     
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  8. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    Good to know, @azure. I have never had this problem, but can see how it occurs. I did some experimenting. With the phone in its previous state, I would see this when receiving a call.

    upload_2018-7-31_9-44-2.jpeg

    Afterwards, the "message" icon was gone.

    I had never noticed this before, or sent a message by mistake, but I see how it could happen.
     
  9. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  10. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    My display was a little different. Only a slider to accept and no Decline button. But the same buttons for Message and Remind Me. Now Message is gone. I'd like to get rid of Remind Me since I've never used it and am not even sure what it is for. But it's unimportant really since it doesn't send anything to the caller.

    I think I've seen the Accept and Decline buttons though, a long time ago. Maybe in an earlier version of iOS? What version are you running?
     
  11. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    I am running 11.4.1, the latest version. The accept/decline buttons appear when the phone is unlocked. Otherwise you get the slider. When my phone rings when it it locked, I use the lock button to silence the call. According to this article, you can push the lock button twice to decline it. The article also explains the two answer screens.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/iphone-cant-decline-an-incoming-call-2016-2
     
  12. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Okay, that makes sense. My phone is basically always locked, so that is why I never see the accept/decline buttons. And yes, pushing the lock button twice is how I decline calls. With all the spams I get, THAT sequence is ingrained in my muscle memory! ;)
     
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  13. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  14. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    How can a spam blocker identify a call from a spoofed number as spam? :dunno:

    I have Mr. Number installed. It catches maybe 1 out of 20 spams... but the vast majority of the spams I get are random spoofed numbers from inside my area code, or other area codes in the same state. Mr. Number has NEVER EVER caught one of those. It must look up incoming numbers against a database of known bad guys, which is the only way I can think of that a spam blocker could work.

    If No Mo Robo or Robokiller can catch those I'd be interested... and also in knowing how they work. ;)
     
  15. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Under SETTNIGS >> PHONE >> CALL BLOCKING & IDENTIFICATION, iOS allows you to specify apps to block calls and provide caller ID.

    These apps compare incoming calls against their white and black lists. If the number is a known spammer, or fits a predetermined criteria of a spoofed caller ID, then the app will block the number.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207099
     
  16. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And with RoboKiller, if it blocks a call that you recognize and didn't want blocked, you can tell it to "whitelist" that number for future inbound calls.
     
  17. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Sorry, that Apple link doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know. I'm already using Mr. Number, remember? The $64,000 question is, what are the "predetermined criteria of a spoofed caller ID"? At least 95% of the spams I get fall into that category and won't be on any app's blacklist. Is it based on some internal rules that you can't modify? The only way I could see that it might work is if you can tell it to block, say, all calls from your area code (or better, a list of area codes) that aren't in your contacts list.

    I've never heard of an anti-spam app that does that, and from what I've gotten from their promos, neither NoMoRobo nor RoboKiller do it either. I'm willing to be convinced though, if I've missed something.
     
  18. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have no additional information for you.
     
  19. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lol I don't know why people use that feature. I think the call going to voicemail is enough of an indicator you can't talk.

    Why not text people, "I just answered the phone" while you say hello while you're at it.