Making Spammers' Days Worse Automatically

Tue 05 March 2024

I got really tired of manually handling all the spam texts I was receiving, so I yelled at my phone until it did it for me. [1] I figured other people are also frustrated with spam texts, so I'm writing this blog post on how to replicate my setup. Since I used the native iOS automation features I can't say how to replicate this for Android users; I'm also fairly sure this automation doesn't work with Lockdown mode enabled, so the more paranoid (for good or bad reasons) may have to find alternative options.

Begin by going to Shortcuts -> Automation and create a new automation; set your automation type as a Message. All my spam texts were political spam that ended with "stop=end" so I set my trigger to be when a message contains "stop=end", running immediately.

Next, create a new blank automation as your target - the first step of this automation should automatically be "Receive messages as input". Add a Send Message action, using your opt out keyword as the message body (mine was "STOP"); long-press the recipient field to select Shortcut Input, then change Shortcut Input to Sender. At this point you can stop, but I'm exceptionally petty and I know you can report spam texts to every major carrier in the US and their respective MVNOs using the same steps; read on if you want to make spammers' lives a little bit worse.

Next, add a new Send Message action, setting the message body to the Content variable and the recipient to 7726. [2] Add a short Wait of about five seconds, then add one last Send Message action with the message body set to the Sender variable and the recipient set to 7726 again.

That's it - now every time you get a spam text with "stop=end", your phone will automatically send an opt out text and report the message to your carrier. Does opting out of spam texts and reporting them to carriers actually do anything? Probably not, but I hope this can be as comforting a placebo to everone else out there just as frustrated about this issue as me. It sucks that The Powers That Be have not forced carriers to implement measures to stymie the spam texts, but I understand - making carriers actually do something effective costs money, and we can't do anything to negatively affect big companies' profits.

The complete automation trigger

All the automation steps, with an additional notification to signal when the automation fired

[1]I used to think iOS automation was largely useless (still do), but I'm glad I found a use for it here
[2]For those who grew up after phones eliminated buttons, that spells SPAM in T9