If you’ve ever been plagued by unwanted messages sent via iMessage, then be sure to check out this new Apple support document detailing how to report iMessage spam to Apple. Thanks to Twitter user Beau Giles and Federico Viticci of MacStories for discovering and publicizing it.
While iOS 7 will enable you to block unwanted text messages and phone calls (see “Apple Unveils Completely Redesigned iOS 7,” 10 June 2013), until it ships, you can report unwanted iMessages to Apple by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is only for iMessage-based spam messages, which are colored blue in iOS 6, and not for unwanted SMS messages, which are colored green and should be reported to your carrier (for instructions that should work with all carriers, see “Report Text Message Spam to AT&T,” 20 April 2012). Include a screenshot of the message (in iOS, press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons simultaneously; use Command-Shift-4 in Mac OS X), the email address or phone number from which you received the message, and the date and time the message arrived.
Apple says nothing about what will be done with the reports, although it’s conceivable that the offending accounts could be investigated and terminated. No mention of iMessage spam is made in Apple’s iCloud Terms and Conditions.
What’s interesting is that Apple is accepting reports at an iCloud email address, instead of building a Web form or adding the functionality to Messages. That might indicate that the company sees this as a stopgap measure until most users are on iOS 7.
This iMessage spam reporting system could be in response to a recent wave of denial of service attacks carried out over iMessage, in which pranksters send enough messages in rapid succession to render an iOS device inoperable.