Understand what full-screen advertisements are on your iPhone

Perhaps this has already happened on your iPhone: out of nowhere, the device’s screen goes dark and shows a message (usually advertising) without you asking. And the worst thing, to remove it, you must press the button Cancel or Accept, which can be risky in some cases. Many users come to us for fear that this is a virus, but in fact it has been part of the operators’ system for years, without being exclusive to the iPhone. Called Flash SMS.

What is Flash SMS

Flash SMS (or Class 0 SMS) is a variation of normal SMS (Class 1 SMS). The big difference is that it is always open without user interaction and is not stored on the device after being read. It was created to be used in emergencies, alerts of catastrophes, earthquakes, fires or for confidential messages, such as sending a password or an access code. However, in Brazil, operators abuse it, using it for promotional messages or even allowing other companies to SPAM their users.

FlashSMS FlashSMS

All SMS cell phones can receive Flash SMS, it is not something just from the iPhone.

Distorting the tool

Unfortunately in Brazil good ideas are always distorted. Here, many companies take advantage of using the tool in a distorted way, for their own benefit. A type of message that should be used for emergencies and noble causes, is exploited to send advertising messages and unsolicited promotions, which invasively compel the user to read. In Brazil, digital marketing companies throw ethics in the trash to earn money by selling this type of service to their customers.


In principle, this type of message should only be sent by operators, but there are already tools that allow anyone to send Flash SMS. And the number has been increasing over the months, to the terror of users.

Unfortunately, advertisers themselves don’t realize how unpleasant this type of advertising is. Users today no longer accept SPAM and unsolicited ads, and even internet sites with invasive advertising (with excessive pop-ups and screen blocking) are already needing to review their concepts to keep their audience.

The risk

As it is not very widespread and that most users do not know what it is, there is a risk of it being used for evil. There are cases in which it simulates an error message and the user, distracted, ends up pressing “Accept”. At that moment, without knowing it, he may be accepting the subscription to a paid service, which will consume his credits in the coming weeks.

So, in doubt ever touch CANCEL.


How to avoid?

At first, there is not much to do. The problem is that, just because it opens automatically (like a pop-up) and does not record the number of the sender, this type of message cannot be blocked on the device, as it is not considered as a normal SMS.

What can be tried is the bureaucratic way. Many of these messages are sent by the operator itself, so you can ask them to stop sending them. Since 2012 there is a law in Brazil that allows the customer to request the cancellation of advertising messages, directly on the device. Just send a normal SMS with the word “GO OUT”To one of the following numbers, depending on your operator:

LIVE: 457Clear: 888TIM: 4112Hi: 55555

It does not always work, forcing the customer to complain to Anatel. Always write down the protocol number in the contacts you make with the operator, so you can report it in your complaints.


Why doesn’t Apple prevent receiving this type of message? Because as we said, in other countries they are used in more noble ways, to save lives. In the USA, for example, companies are prohibited from sending them. The operators who should work to prevent this feature from being used for advertising purposes are the operators, but they themselves use Flash SMS for their own promotions, in addition to providing our phone numbers to marketing agencies.

The important thing is to know that this type of strange message is not a virus or something unrelated to the system, always worrying about canceling when it appears.

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