How to differentiate messages from Contacts and Unknown Senders in iPhone

Thanks to a sorting feature included in the Messages app, iOS users can hush and separate inbound messages that are coming from people who are not in your Contacts. This comes in handy if you make your phone number public on a web site like Craigslist, or if you just have a huge amount of inbound messages from unrecognized numbers.

That’s not the problem if you enable the sorting feature called Filter Unknown Senders. Your Messages app will have two separate tabs: one for Contacts and one for Unknown Senders. In this tutorial, we will show you how to differentiate messages from Contacts and Unknown Senders in iPhone.

Also Read: How to block a Phone Number in iOS 10

Before getting started, note that the sorting feature requires the most recent version of iOS, older versions do not support the Unknown Sender inbox in Messages app.

Step 1: Launch the Settings app.

Step 2: Head to Messages.

Step 3: Scroll down a bit until you see the Filter Unknown Senders option. Toggle it to the ON position.

Step 4: Now, get back to the Messages app and you should see the two separate Messages inboxes: Contacts & SMS and Unknown Senders.

Step 5: Tap on Contacts & SMS for messages from people who are in your Contacts. Tap on Unknown Senders for all other messages.

Note that if you disable this feature, no messages are deleted. Instead, this just brings the Messages app back to the default view. The feature works the same on all iOS device, but it appears more useful on the iPhone, where users tend to make the most of messaging.

That’s it. Do you have any concerns or questions about how to differentiate messages from Contacts and Unknown Senders in iPhone? Share with us in the comments section below, and we’ll help you out with the problem you may have.


  1. You do not specify if SMS from unknown senders will be filtered to the unknown senders folder. Please clarify if this only works for iMessages from unknown senders? Many people are being harassed by users who have installed apps and continue to send SMS from a diff number every time. Please offer advice on how to block that type of communication. Thanks.