Apple wants your iPhone to help you ID unknown callers

Future iPhones may help you identify incoming phone calls from parties that aren’t familiar to you. Apple has been granted a patent (20160014271) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for “identifying information associated with an incoming telephone call.”

According to the invention, a telephone number corresponding to an incoming call may be utilized to obtain information associated with the incoming call. If it’s determined that the telephone number doesn’t match records stored on iPhone, a request is sent from the smartphone to an external device to obtain information associated with the incoming call. Apple doesn’t specify this, but perhaps it could inquire of databases such as

The request may be directed to a remote contacts application, another device listed in a data store of the receiving device, or to the calling device itself. When a response is received, the information may be displayed or otherwise utilized by the iPhone.