Viber for iPhone was refreshed this morning in the App Store with improved spam handling. I’ve noticed an increase of spam messages on Viber lately as I’ve been regularly getting spam messages from seemingly random people telling me I’ve won a free iPhone or some fishy contest prize.
While Viber offers the ability to block unwanted contacts from messaging you, this update should help sort out the influx of spam on the service.
No other changes are mentioned for Viber 5.5.1, a free download from the App Store.
Improved spam handling
A Viber spokesperson offered a description of how the new spam-handling feature works. Viber’s improved spam handling allows you to “choose whether you want to view messages from unknown contacts,” Viber told me via email. “This means you can actually block and report spam messages without opening them.”
It’s pretty straightforward and works as advertised.
Upon receiving and tapping on a message from a contact who isn’t in your contact list, Viber will give you the option to report spam rather than just block the sender, as shown below.
Viber is also trying an overall in selected markets which allows users to choose whether or not they would like to view the message before blocking it. If they choose to view the message they will be presented with the three choices: Add to Contacts, Report Spam and Block.
For what it’s worth, you should follow key piece of advice regarding handling spam on instant messaging platforms like Viber, WhatsApp, WeeChat, Facebook Messenger and many others: never respond to a spam message.
If you do, spammers will know that your number is “live” and the level of spam you’re receiving is only going to go up. Just ignore all spam on Viber. If that doesn’t cut it, you can take the extra steps of reporting spammers through the Viber app or using Viber’s support portal, as described in the following section.
Hopefully Viber will be doubling down further on making it harder for spammers to send you annoying messages.
How to block spammers manually
If you’re receiving unwanted messages on Viber, here’s what you should do:
Step 1: Open up the unwanted message, but don’t reply to it. Now hit the gear icon in the upper right corner.
Step 2: Select the Block this Contact option. Blocking someone ensures they won’t be able to find you on Viber or send you unsolicited messages.
Tip: Another way to handle spam involves reporting spammers to Viber by going to this page. Just choose the Technical Issue option and inform the Viber team you’re getting unwanted messages from the user and provide their phone number. It’s always helpful to include a screen capture of the message you have received.
The 81-megabyte app requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with iOS 7.0 or later.
As mentioned, Viber features native display support for iPads and is optimized for the iPhone 5/5s/5c, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screen sizes. It however continues to lack a WatchKit component although you can elect to have Viber notifications delivered to your wrist by enabling Viber in the Notifications section of the companion Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
Grab Viber at no charge in the App Store.