How to Hide or View “Junk” Messages On iPhone

Just like most email servers and text apps, the iPhone messages app has a function where it can mark messages as junk and send them away. Unfortunately, however, Apple (or you) may accidentally mark a message as junk that you later realize you actually need. 

Within the Messages app on iPhone, built-in filtering allows you to see only messages from contacts. This hides junk messages or spam messages, but also messages from anyone not in your contacts. To review junk messages, open Messages, then click Filters, and toggle the view you want.

Let’s take a closer look at junk messages on the iPhone, as well as how to retrieve them and what happens if you report a message as junk.

What are Junk Messages on iPhone?

Woman sitting at a desk using a smartphone

Junk messages are texts (whether iMessage or SMS) that your phone has decided are part of a scam or spam. So they move them to a separate folder so you don’t have to see them and don’t click any links inside them (as they could be phishing sites). 

Apple uses a lot of technology to decide if a message is junk, including current spam and scam trends. They also are more likely to think a message is junk if the sender isn’t currently in your contacts.

How to View Your Junk Messages on iPhone

On older iOS systems, it’s easy to retrieve your junk that you may have thrown away. If you have message filtering turned on, go to Settings, Messages, and the junk folder will be there. On newer iOS systems, reported junk mail is automatically deleted, and you’ll need to find a workaround.

Data Recovery

You can use data recovery to get junk messages back. Download Leawo iOS Data Recovery or another similar program and plug your phone into your computer.

If using Leawo, you can choose to recover data and then Recover Source. This will populate all your messages and data—including the junk—and you can choose which ones to retrieve.

Using iTunes

Another way to do it is to plug your phone into your Mac and use iTunes to recover junk messages.

  1. Go to your preferences in iTunes and stop devices from syncing automatically.
  1. Then, you can go to your device on the sidebar and choose Recover to bring back all messages from a backup—including your junk mail.

For this to work, you’ll need to have been backing your iPhone up frequently, which is always good practice anyway. You can do this through iTunes or iCloud, ensuring you have a recent file to return to if anything happens.

Using iCloud

The last way to do it is by using iCloud.

  1. Go to Settings and then click on where you see your Apple ID to be taken to the iCloud page.
  1. Then, turn off messages in the iCloud list and select Keep on My iPhone when prompted.
  1. Enable the messages option one more time and then choose merge from the prompts. This will bring some deleted messages back, including the ones you might have reported as junk.

What Happens When You Report Messages as Junk on iPhone?

When you get a message that Apple suspects is junk, it may prompt you to report it to Apple. If you have a newer phone that deletes the message and sends a report to Apple with the sender and content, they can use it for their algorithm to detect junk mail.

It does not block the sender from contacting you again. You’ll have to block them yourself if you no longer want them to be able to send you messages.

You can do this by accessing your settings, choosing Phone, and then finding your blocked contacts where you can add and remove people from the list.

While Apple is definitely keeping tabs on what’s being reported as junk, a one-off report shouldn’t do much. If someone reported you as junk because of a joke or misunderstanding, you don’t need to fret too much about your Apple account—though if the numbers start to rack up, they’ll likely step in.

How Do You Undo Junk Report on iPhone?

If you’ve accidentally made a junk report on your iPhone against someone, you might wonder if you can undo it. The answer is, sadly, not.

The report goes to Apple, and there’s nothing you can do to get it back. If you delete the message, you can restore it using one of the above methods, but the report itself will stay.

You don’t need to worry too much, though—the report doesn’t block the person from contacting you again or do anything except encourage Apple to look into things.

How to Stop Getting Junk Messages

If you want to stop receiving junk messages, the only thing you can do is keep blocking the contacts sending them to you and report them as junk. However, you can do a few things to prevent getting these messages.

Don’t Share Your Number

The first is to be private about your number. Where possible, avoid putting your number into comparison or sales websites, as you’ll likely hear a lot from them. Some websites will allow you to put in all zeros, so you can fob them off without redirecting your junk to another number.

Do Not Call Registry

You can also sign up with the National Do Not Call registry if you’re in the USA, which will significantly cut down your junk calls and may help with texts.

Change Your Number

If you’ve had your number for a long time and have given it out a lot—or just got a new number that’s been recycled and has a lot of baggage attached—sometimes the best thing to do is change it and only give it to those you trust.

Spammers and scammers have gotten very sophisticated with their junk mail, and being preventative is the best remedy.