AT&T Call Protect & Mobile Security

According to an ATT message and checking the ATT web site and the Apple app store, “AT&T Call Protect & Mobile Security” have been activated (separate apps).

Are these legitamate, safe to use, other comments?

Is Tidbits planning to test them?


I just read some reviews and even the positive reviews didn’t indicate any reason to use the apps. I block numbers now without needing the app and my VPN works fine although I only activate it when I need it.

We wrote about them a bit in

They do work, but nothing is going to be 100% effective.

In iOS 13, if you get too many of these telemarketing calls, you can enable Silence Unknown Callers in Settings > Phone.

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That would be cool. Apparently my phone does not support higher than 12- at least it is not bugging me to upgrade. :slight_smile:

“In iOS 13, if you get too many of these telemarketing calls, you can enable Silence Unknown Callers in Settings > Phone.”

Here’s the list of supported devices for iOS 13. Or just look in Settings > General > Software Update to see if it’s available. But that doesn’t mean you should upgrade willy-nilly.

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

Setting Call Blocking to all but numbers in your contacts list seems attractive. However, if it heavily used, you can see a major problem: it can create an endless round of phone tag.

Suppose you have universal call blocking set and you call someone who has universal call blocking set. You leave a message for that person to call you back. However, unless you need to add that person’s phone number to your contact list or they will be blocked. Even worse, they may call back from a different number than you called and the cycle continues. You have replaced dealing with spam calls with active maintenance of your contact list.

I do get spam calls on an almost daily basis. I let most calls from unrecognized numbers roll over to voice mail. If the call is indeed spam, I add it to my blocked list for the phone on which it was received (a service provided both for my cell phone and VOIP landline). Unless you are barraged by spam calls, I think this is a better way to deal with the issue.

I’ve used AT&T Call Protect for years, and it blocks at the network level, which is the amazing part. So despite rampant scam calling, I get relatively few. I also have Hiya installed and active. (Hiya’s list is used by AT&T, but the mechanism in iOS works a little differently.)

So first, a lot of calls never get to me; second, sometimes my phone lights up and then stops ringing, as AT&T apparently caught it mid call; third, calls that get through are marked about 95% of the time as “spam” or “suspected spam” or “telemarketer.”

What’s great is that I’m not sure it’s 95% because I don’t think I’ve gotten 20 calls in the last two months—probably more like 10 to 15—that I’ve had to even deal with, where 1 has gotten through.

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I have a 6+ but the 11 Pros new cameras are tempting me.

I just had to answer a friend’s question about spam calls. What an odd world…

I’ve been using (and recommending) AT&T’s Call Protect for several months (maybe even a year). It’s based on the commercial app Hiya, as it uses some of their databases and services to keep track of identified spam callers. Sure, you can simply block a spam caller yourself, but sometimes this isn’t always practical. I like that a database is maintained, so that spammers that I’m not even aware of, are automatically blocked. Others that may potentially be a spam caller will be displayed as “Possible Spam”.

I will usually text someone before I call. It’s just polite, and my texts will usually come through even though they might have some sort of spam blocking service.

Silence unknown callers doesn’t just check your contacts. It looks through your messages, out going calls log, and emails. If it finds the number that you’ve previously had any sort of dealing with, it won’t block the number. If I called someone who has it set and get sent to voice mail, and they call me back, their call won’t be blocked because I’ve previously called them.

Setting Silence unknown callers has been the only successful measure I’ve undertaken that has ended the endless interrupting stream of spam calls.

I guess if you have a customer service type of work and expect dozens of calls from unknown numbers, it doesn’t make sense to use Silence unknown callers. However, a friend of mine who has an appliance repair service has it set. 90% of his customers are repeat customers and if one does slip through the net, it just goes to voice mail anyway.

I used RoboKiller and it sent my head hunter’s call to oblivion. He got a message my phone was disconnected. Not cool. With Silence unknown calls set, the worst is he’d be sent to voicemail.

I’m not sure how taking an action specifically to avoid someones spam filter can be described as polite. If you did it to me your text would be reported as spam and your number blocked if it wasn’t already.

It’s not to avoid a spam filter. Texting is more considerate than a phone call.

An actual phone call takes time and demands immediate attention. I have to stop what I’m doing now and handle it. If I’m asked about something, I need the answer right away. My phone rings and lets everyone know I have a call.

Texts are quick and I can take some time before answering them. I may not even have to respond except to acknowledge I received the text with a simple “k”. If a question is asked, I can take time to think about it. 90% of all phone calls can easily be handled by texts. Texting take less time for the person you’re texting and are less intrusive.

There are times a phone call is better. For example, you’re colluding to pressure the government in Ukraine to announce they’re investigating your political rival.

Phone calls are good if you want to chew the fat with a friend or you need to discuss something in details and there’s a lot of back and forth. My rule is after three rounds of back and forth texts, it’s time for a phone call.

I have friends who don’t believe in texting as if it’s some sort of religious belief. However, I prefer texting over calls and in this age, texting before you call (or ring the doorbell) is considered more polite.

I don’t filter text messages for the same reason: Texting is not the time suck phone calls are. If I get a spam text, a quick look at my Apple Watch will let me know to ignore it. My phone doesn’t keep ringing until I handle it. I can’t even declare the phone call is spam until I pick up the phone, then it’s too late.

My voice mail instructions even tell people to text me rather than leave a voicemail message. I’ll get back to them quicker because I know what they want immediately rather than having to listen to my voice mails. And most of the time a quick text back is all they need.

This isn’t the 20th century anymore. Texting isn’t an aberration or something those young whippersnappers are doing to make us feel old. It’s the preferred way of reaching out to someone before you make a call.

Silence Unknown Callers doesn’t silence numbers you call. So if you call someone not in your Contacts and leave a message, they can call you back from the number you called and it will ring your phone.

Says who exactly? Maybe among younger folks that’s how it’s done, but in my environment (work and private) that is definitely not how we roll. I have more than enough notifications bombarding me already. No need to add to that cacophony if you want to call me. Just call. If I can’t take it or I don’t want to, I won’t.

I frequently text people, especially relatives, to see if it’s a good time for a call. I prefer doing that to having to leave voicemail.


Youngest son always texts before calling (unless it’s an emergency and with 5 little ones those seem to arise). :roll_eyes::wink: However the older two just call, and I feel badly when I let it go to voicemail, but it’s just not always a good time to chat.