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This new iOS 13 feature stops strangers and spam callers from ringing your iPhone

Your iPhone will only ring if you know the person calling. Everyone else will go straight to voicemail.

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iOS 13 has plenty of new features, but this one may end up being the most notable. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

A new feature in iOS 13 will all but eliminate robocalls, spam calls and solicitors from ringing your iPhone ($900 at Amazon) -- whether it's a new iPhone 11 or 11 Pro or an older iPhone 6S ($199 at Walmart). In fact, with the new Silence Unknown Callers feature turned on, the only time your iPhone will ring is if you know the person calling you. 

Apple calls the feature "silence unknown callers" and it does just as the name implies. The feature is off by default, and for good reason. Not every phone call we get is spam. Whether it's a call from work, your kids' school or your plumber, we don't always know the number that's calling us. 

If you haven't installed iOS 13 yet, make sure you sit down and get your iPhone ready before you do. Then, after you've installed the update, look through our complete guide to iOS 13, complete with hidden features

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With a simple setting, the only time your phone should ring is when someone you know is calling you. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

To silence unknown callers:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Find and select Phone from the list of options. 
  3. Scroll down until you find Silence Unknown Callers and slide the switch to the On position. 

With the feature enabled, the only time an incoming call will make your iPhone ring is if the phone number is found in your Contacts, recent outgoing calls, or is a Siri Suggestions (sourced from the Mail or Messages apps). Any other calls will go directly to voicemail, where the caller can then leave a message. 

When you use this feature, you'll get far fewer robocalls, but you might also check your voicemail a lot more often

If the idea of blocking all unknown callers is a bit much for you, you have other options. We've detailed how to get rid of robocalls once and for all using apps from your wireless carrier, as well as third-party apps, along with a new technology that will cut back on calls very soon

Originally published earlier this year. Updated with new information.