Author Topic: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?  (Read 1118 times)

secondcor521

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Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« on: November 20, 2019, 11:13:32 AM »
Hi,

I have an Iphone 4 with service through Page Plus Cellular, which is an MVNO for Sprint IIRC.

I get a few real calls, but the vast majority are spam calls.  I also get real texts occasionally.

I'd like to fix this cheaply.  I'd like to keep my phone number.

Here's what I'm thinking of doing:

1.  Pay $20 to port my current phone number over to Google Voice.
2.  Sign up with Page Plus and get a secondary phone number.
3.  Set up spam filtering on my current phone number with Google Voice.
4.  Set up call and text forwarding on Google Voice to my secondary phone number.

Will this work?  I called Page Plus and they seemed to think it would work, but they didn't really seem to care.  I would lose my prepaid balance when I ported my number.

I guess the other thing is that Page Plus dealers in my area are possibly non-existent, so I might have to drive a bit to do step 2.  I don't think they can do it remotely.

Finally, during this process I may be out of touch phone-wise for a while.  Hmm.

Any other gotchas?  I'd rather not start down this road if it won't work.

Daley

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2019, 12:24:17 PM »
First, Page Plus is a Verizon MVNO, not Sprint.

Second, the iPhone 4 is a CDMA only, non-LTE/VoLTE capable handset, and it's going to stop working on Verizon here in a couple months anyway. You're going to lose your prepaid balance no matter what.

Third, there's cheaper options than Page Plus for Verizon service these days, such as Red Pocket. Annual PAYGO plans are pretty well dead with everyone but H2O Wireless now, and they're AT&T-based. There's dirt-cheap Sprint options, but given the T-Mo/Sprint merger, who knows how long that'll last, so best not to bank on it and deal with the headache of another migration. Plus, Sprint and Idaho aren't a great combo past the interstate. I mean, it's not as bad as Montana or Wyoming or the Dakotas, but you probably went with a Verizon MVNO for a reason... that reason's not really changed much.

Fourth, the iPhone4 doesn't get security updates anymore, and there's some serious unpatched vulnerabilities in iOS.

Things to consider before even broaching the issue, and definitely something you'd be better to get in front of than have it blindside you this January 1st (or sooner) when you wake up, grab your phone and find you have zero network coverage.

As for addressing spam callers, Google Voice is one way, but then you get Google's wishy-washy GV support, their datamining, and whatnot. More modern smartphone operating systems have ways to filter/block out unknown callers from ringing through without going to a third party, and there's decent alternatives like Hiya that doesn't involve porting your number out from your phone, though read their ToS.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207099
https://www.androidauthority.com/how-to-block-a-phone-number-246484/
https://hiya.com/

There's also the hack of just setting up custom ring call groups. Set the default ringer to a silent/empty audio file with no vibration, and your known contacts to your regular ringer. Then you won't even hear the phone unless it's someone in your address book, and/or they left a message.

Another thing to consider, porting your number to GV and forwarding to another cell number isn't going to solve the spam caller issue, because it'll keep happening with the new number, possibly worse than you have already. On-phone filtration is better than adding a second number and potentially multiplying the woes.

Multiple ways to skin this particular cat.


Edited to add a couple points of interest I forgot.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2019, 12:54:04 PM by Daley »

secondcor521

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2019, 03:10:45 PM »
Thanks, I was hoping you'd reply!

My mistake on Page Plus.  You're correct of course.

I didn't know about the fact that my phone may stop working soon.  Can you point me to where I could read up on that?  My son also has an old flip phone with Page Plus - will it stop working too?  Will an iPhone6 still be supported?

I chose Page Plus because Verizon service in general is better here in the Boise area, and in particular it was better where my office was.

I don't particularly care about security vulnerabilities, and was trying to avoid upgrading my phone.  But maybe upgrading is the simpler / better option.

The call blocking features in Apple IOS 13 and the ring tone grouping feature aren't supported on my iPhone 4.

robartsd

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2019, 03:51:06 PM »
I didn't know about the fact that my phone may stop working soon.  Can you point me to where I could read up on that?  My son also has an old flip phone with Page Plus - will it stop working too?  Will an iPhone6 still be supported?
The old flip phone is likely CDMA only too. Verizon will be LTE only as soon as January 1. You can get a compatible LTE phone and keep Page Plus and your balance.

I switched from a Samsung Intensity (my brother's old Verizon phone from 2009/10 that replaced my 2006 flip phone) to a Moto E4 (selected for LTE compatibility across the major 4 networks and a removable battery) and bought a Page Plus SIM about 4 months ago. I use a Page Plus pay as you go plan and keep my cellular data turned off. I use Google Voice as my primary phone number, so I get Google's SPAM filtering. I know which calls are coming through Google Voice because it is configured to forward calls with my number, not the caller's in the Caller ID. On the phone, my default ringtone is "no ring" and I add custom ringtones for my Google number and a few other contacts, so SPAM to my Page Plus number gets ignored. I do have difficulty responding to Google's call presentation in time to avoid sending the call to voicemail if I'm sitting with my phone in my pocket.

Daley

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2019, 05:24:27 PM »
I didn't know about the fact that my phone may stop working soon.  Can you point me to where I could read up on that?  My son also has an old flip phone with Page Plus - will it stop working too?  Will an iPhone6 still be supported?

Sorry to hear that your phone doesn't even have group contact ring support. I didn't even know they didn't support that. I've had that capacity with every phone I've used since the old Nokia days pre-SymbianOS, nearly 20 years ago. Still blows my mind the stuff Apple doesn't give their end users.

Info on the CDMA network twilight straight from the horse's mouth here:
https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/knowledge-base-218813/

This said, you can tell I don't keep up with this stuff much anymore. Apparently Verizon did a one year stay of execution back in August, so I stand corrected and apologize for the misinformation. More here:
https://stopthecap.com/2019/08/01/verizon-delays-shutdown-of-3g-cdma-network-until-the-end-of-2020/

As for the iPhone 6, I believe it should be okay with the A1549 model as it's VoLTE capable:
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/iphone/iphone-faq/differences-between-iphone-6-models.html

As for the old flip phone? Probably. If there's no SIM card and VoLTE support, it's end of life.

It sounds like Robartsd was able to transfer balance with the upgrade, so that's something, but time and policies change. If you're going to go through the hassle, might as well re-evaluate your needs and what's available.

Honestly, I get what Robartsd is trying to do, but it seems a bit too complicated a workaround to filter out spam calls with too many drawbacks. YMMV, just as his does. Usually it's just easiest to do user groups and the ring trick. That's what I did on my Windows Phone.

secondcor521

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2019, 06:36:38 PM »
Thanks to you both.

I think at this point I'll hope that our phones work through next year (sounds like they will to me, but this stuff confuses me).  Maybe end of 2020 I'll upgrade both phones.

I knew I was using older tech, but I didn't realize how old.  I'm impressed that all those phone and network engineers manage to keep things running as well as they do.

Sonos

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2019, 06:59:39 PM »
I had the same problem. My carrier, Cricket, suggested I install an app called Hiya to block spam calls. This fixed the issue for me immediately. Sometimes a spam call still makes it through, but overall it so much better. I use their two free options. There is a third paid option as well. Good luck!

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/hiya-block-spam-phone-calls/id986999874

Daley

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2019, 07:29:38 PM »
The call blocking features in Apple IOS 13 and the ring tone grouping feature aren't supported on my iPhone 4.

Okay, apparently there's always the intuitive method and the Apple method. Theoretically, you can massage the Do Not Disturb function enough in iOS7 to kinda act as a spam/bozo filter in the meantime until you're ready to migrate on. If you can't install Hiya, this should at least keep the phone from ringing as much.

https://forums.imore.com/guides-how-articles/268639-guide-how-use-do-not-disturb-ios-7-a.html

I do want to encourage you to consider migration sooner than later, though. Best not to wait until the last minute with this sort of thing, lest you forget and get caught in the middle of the charlie foxtrot.

secondcor521

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2019, 08:16:20 PM »
I had the same problem. My carrier, Cricket, suggested I install an app called Hiya to block spam calls. This fixed the issue for me immediately. Sometimes a spam call still makes it through, but overall it so much better. I use their two free options. There is a third paid option as well. Good luck!

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/hiya-block-spam-phone-calls/id986999874

As with most things, hiya requires ios11, which is not supported on iPhone4.

@Daley, will take a look at that link.  Have set myself a reminder for end of next year, so I won't forget.

robartsd

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2019, 09:46:54 AM »
This said, you can tell I don't keep up with this stuff much anymore. Apparently Verizon did a one year stay of execution back in August, so I stand corrected and apologize for the misinformation. More here:
https://stopthecap.com/2019/08/01/verizon-delays-shutdown-of-3g-cdma-network-until-the-end-of-2020/
I would be disappointed that I could have waited longer to upgrade my phone. If my old flip phone still worked, I would be but I really disliked the intensity.

It sounds like Robartsd was able to transfer balance with the upgrade, so that's something, but time and policies change. If you're going to go through the hassle, might as well re-evaluate your needs and what's available.
Absolutely not a problem to change device. I ordered a SIM card ($0.99) and contacted Page Plus to move my number to it when I was ready to switch. I'm pretty sure I just used the live chat on the website to make the change. My balance expiration even reset to 120 days after I switched device even though I didn't add any value.

Honestly, I get what Robartsd is trying to do, but it seems a bit too complicated a workaround to filter out spam calls with too many drawbacks. YMMV, just as his does. Usually it's just easiest to do user groups and the ring trick. That's what I did on my Windows Phone.
I agree that there are some drawbacks, but it's the right choice for my usage. I'm sure some people would dislike not knowing who is calling and my method for blocking span calls doesn't provide the CallerID of the caller when I'm not on wifi. (I also like that it makes it easy to identify personal calls forwarded to my work phone.) My use of call presentation prevents my work voicemail from picking up Google Voice calls - I really wish Google Voice would make this a forwarding number setting rather than an account setting.

secondcor521

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2019, 12:57:01 PM »
The call blocking features in Apple IOS 13 and the ring tone grouping feature aren't supported on my iPhone 4.

Okay, apparently there's always the intuitive method and the Apple method. Theoretically, you can massage the Do Not Disturb function enough in iOS7 to kinda act as a spam/bozo filter in the meantime until you're ready to migrate on. If you can't install Hiya, this should at least keep the phone from ringing as much.

https://forums.imore.com/guides-how-articles/268639-guide-how-use-do-not-disturb-ios-7-a.html

I do want to encourage you to consider migration sooner than later, though. Best not to wait until the last minute with this sort of thing, lest you forget and get caught in the middle of the charlie foxtrot.

The Do Not Disturb thing works most excellently for my needs.  Thank you!!

Daley

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Re: Cheap spam call filtering on iPhone 4?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2019, 04:27:57 PM »
The Do Not Disturb thing works most excellently for my needs.  Thank you!!

Huzzah! I'm glad it worked. :)