How to use RTT on an iPhone to get real-time text messaging during calls

hard of hearing person sits at train stop while texting.
iPhone users can enable RTT through the Accessibility menu in the Settings app.

  • The RTT feature on an iPhone sends text messages immediately as you type them without requiring you to hit send.
  • RTT, or real-time text, is built into the iPhone 6 and later, and can be enabled through the Accessibility menu in your Settings app.
  • iPhone users with RTT enabled will have the transcripts from their RTT calls saved and made available for download.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Real-time text is an advanced accessibility protocol for people with speech and hearing difficulties. It transmits text and audio as you type and talk, allowing the receiver to read the message instantly.

Designed for phone users who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech-related impairments, but usable by anyone, it comes standard on all iPhone models 6 and higher.

RTT isn’t yet supported by all carriers in every country or region, meaning availability can depend on the network and carrier being used. But if available with your service, your iPhone’s RTT tool can be enabled and configured through the Accessibility menu in your phone’s settings.

Once on, you can communicate with other RTT or teletypewriter (TTY) device users.

How to enable RTT on an iPhone

1. Open your Settings app.

2. Either use the Search tool or scroll until you see Accessibility. Tap on it.

Select Accessibility from your iPhone’s settings menu.

3. Select RTT/TTY from the list of options.

RTT is listed among the hearing accessibility options on iPhone.
Tap on the RTT/TTY option under the list iPhone’s hearing accessibility options.

4. Turn on Software RTT/TTY.

5. Choose a line if your iPhone has Dual SIM.

6. Tap Relay Number then enter the number used for relay service calls when you use Software RTT/TTY.

Toggles for the RTT tools on iPhone.
Toggle on the Software RTT and Relay Number options.

7. Enable Answer All Calls as RTT/TTY. Then confirm your decision to have calls automatically answered as RTT instead of voice calls.

Button in red on iPhone to enable All Calls as RTT
Select the answer all calls option to enable RTT on your iPhone.

8. Tap the toggle for Send Immediately to turn on sending characters as you type them.

How to start an RTT/TTY call on an iPhone

1. In the Phone app, tap the number of the contact you wish to call.

2. Tap RTT/TTY Call or RTT/TTY Relay Call when prompted.

The TTY call button on iPhone surrounded by a red box.
Tap RTT/TTY call to begin your conversation.

3. Once the call connects, tap Use RTT in the bottom right corner.

How to type text on an iPhone during an RTT/TTY call

To send a text during an RTT/TTY, type it out as you would a text message in the call field. If Send Immediately is switched on, the recipient will see each character as you type.

If it’s switched off, tap the arrow symbol in the message window to send your communication. Finally, if you’d like to send audio, simply tap the microphone symbol and begin speaking.

How to review the transcript of an RTT call on an iPhone

1. Open the Phone app.

2. In the Recents tab, scroll until you locate the RTT/TTY call you want a transcript for.

3. On the call line, tap the Info symbol, which looks like the letter “i” in a circle.

The recent calls list on an iPhone with a red arrow pointing to the "i" information icon.
Tap the “i” icon to view your RTT call transcript.

4. Tap the Download icon in the upper-right corner and follow the remaining prompts.

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5 ways to stop spam texts on your iPhone or Android phone

woman looking at phone in kitchen worried
If you receive too many spam texts on your phone, you can try a few tricks to stop or reduce them.

  • You can stop spam texts on iPhone or Android by blocking, reporting, or filtering messages.
  • Don’t ever engage with spam texts – even to send a STOP request – as this will make it worse.
  • You can also stop spam texts with text-blocking apps, though they often cost money.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Unwanted text messages, while generally not as annoying as telemarketing calls, can be very irritating.

Not only do spam texts clutter your text inbox and distract you with nonsense notifications, but if you don’t have unlimited texting with your cellular plan, you might be paying for junk. And some spam messages contain links to potentially dangerous malware.

It pays to try to stop – or at least minimize – spam texts when possible. Here are five steps you can take to filter or block spam texts.

1. Don’t respond to unwanted texts

You’re probably familiar with the way legitimate sources let you opt out of future text communication by replying “STOP.” Many spammers offer you the option to respond with STOP – but don’t do it.

How_to_stop_spam_texts 2
Don’t text “STOP” unless you know the sender is trustworthy and legitimate.

Spammers use your reply – any reply, including STOP – as a signal that you received your message and are actively engaged in your messages, which can embolden them to send you more messages. Your information can also be sold to other spammers who are looking for “verified active” phone numbers.

2. Report spammers to your cellular provider

One way to counter spam texts is by reporting unwanted texters directly to your phone service provider. For most major carriers – including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon – you can copy the offending message and text it to 7726.

You should receive a reply, which, depending on the carrier, might include a request to send the phone number that the spam came from. This probably won’t result in instant results for you, but it will contribute to cleaning up the texting ecosystem for everyone.

spam texts
You can report potential spam to your phone carrier.

3. Filter potential spammers

Most phones have a setting to automatically filter potential spam texts so they don’t appear in the same list with important, legitimate texts from known contacts.

On an iPhone, open the Settings app and tap “Messages.” Scroll down and turn on “Filter Unknown Senders” by swiping the button to the right.

On Android, open the Messaging app and tap the three dots at the top right. In the drop-down menu, choose “Settings,” and then tap “Spam Protection.” Finally, turn on “Enable spam protection” by swiping the button to the right.

How_to_stop_spam_texts 3
You can filter potential spammers on both iOS and Android.

4. Block specific spammers

If you get frequent spam from the same phone number, you can use your messaging app to block that number. Don’t count on this helping in every situation, though, because most spammers can appear to use a different number each time they reach out to you, so blocking individual numbers may have little effect.

On an iPhone, open the spam text and tap the user icon at the top of the page, then tap “info.” On the next page tap “info” again, and then tap “Block this Caller.”

How_to_stop_spam_texts 4
You can block specific phone numbers, which is handy if you repeatedly get texts from the same sender.

On Android, the process may vary depending on the messaging app you’re using, but in general, you can tap the three dots at the top of the message and choose “Block number” from the drop-down menu.

5. Use a paid text-blocking app

Hopefully, some combination of the previous tips dramatically reduces the number of spam messages you receive. If you need additional assistance, though, you can turn to an app designed to block spam.

An app like RoboKiller, available for both iPhone and Android, can dramatically reduce the spam you receive, both in the form of phone calls and text messages. These apps aren’t free, though. RoboKiller has a 7-day free trial, and then costs either $5 per month or $40 per year.

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