This week, Apple released a new and improved operating system for the iPhone that emphasized ease of use. With a few quick swipes, the new interface allowed every app, every photo, every web page to be surfaced instantaneously. Good — I was worried I wasn’t spending enough time on my smart phone.
While most of iOS 7′s improvements fit into the “aesthetic facelift” category, one feature stands out as both under-discussed and essential for anyone playing the dating game. Anyone with the new iPhone update can now block a contact. I repeat: You can now block that person who won’t stop sending you follow-up text messages after that dinner date that just went OK.
“Block Contact” is easy to activate. Click through to a saved contact or recent caller/texter’s info page, scroll to the bottom of the screen, and tap (proudly) the enormous “Block” button. Voila! That person will no longer be reaching you.
Wired tested the feature and found that the blockee experiences little indication that the door has been shut on their connectivity. A phone call hits them with a busy signal; A text message appears to be delivered; Facetiming rings and rings and rings and never picks up. Any blocked caller — or potential stalker — will eventually learn they’ve been given the cold shoulder, but that was the plan anyway. The catch: A blocker won’t receive any of the messages and they can’t go back and retrieve them if they suddenly decide to forgive the offender.
So while Apple has given us a necessary weapon against angry exes and obsessive one-offs, remember: Block wisely.
Matt Patches is a writer and reporter living in New York City. His work has been featured on New York Magazine’s Vulture, Film.com, Hollywood.com, MTV, and he is the host of the pop culture podcast Operation Kino. He continues to love Groundhog Day.