Nobody likes to get unsolicited phone calls and be interrupted in the middle of an important work. Unfortunately, with the rise of online shopping, it’s nearly impossible to keep one’s contact information private. Such situation calls for a more effective strategy how to filter or block spam phone calls. Hiya and Truecaller are two popular caller ID and black apps for Android that will help you reclaim your privacy and protect yourself from shady businesses and scammers.
Hiya’s roots go back to 1997, when Alex Algard founded Whitepages as a Stanford student. Some of you may even remember using Hiya around 2011. Back then, the application helped users clean their address books. The current iteration is a free app designed to identify unknown numbers and stop shady calls before they can reach end users, thus protecting users from fraudsters.
Even though Hiya is less known in many markets than its competition, the company seems to be on a right track to success. They have already seen great traction in just a small amount of time, thanks to their partnership with Samsung and T-Mobile. “We are hiring aggressively and intend to grow significantly over the next 12-24 months and will certainly entertain all options as it relates to maximizing our growth opportunity,” said Algard in an interview for TechCrunch.
The main purpose of Hiya is to help users identify the calls they want to pick up and automatically block the ones they want to avoid. The app leverages its enormous database to identify more than 400 million calls every month, resulting in approximately 1 billion detected spam threats in total.
It all starts with the caller and SMS ID functionality. Incoming phone calls and SMS messages are processed by Hiya and compared with the app’s vast database. Unknown numbers are matched with corresponding entries and results are displayed on the screen, so that users can decide whether or not they would like to accept the phone call.
It’s possible to blacklist numbers and stop calls and SMS messages either from individuals or by categories. This way, you can block telemarketers but, for example, accept political calls. Apart from the number identification, Hiya also checks the content of SMS messages for malware and viruses.
When you are out and about and need to call a certain person or place but don’t know the number, you can use the reverse phone lookup functionality to access Hiya’s comprehensive database of contact information. Using the same database, you can also add missing contact information to your contacts to keep them as complete as possible.
After you install the app, you will need to sign up with your Facebook or email account. Then it’s time to verify your phone number, which is the last step you need to take before you can start enjoying the application.
Hiya is characterized by how simple it is to use. Unless you want to dig deep into the settings or mess around with its stats feature to see how you communicate with your contacts, you really only notice it when you get a phone call.
When that happens, Hiya will show up bellow the caller’s number and provide you with all the information it could find on it. Scam calls are displayed in red with an easily noticeable warning sign, to let you know that you shouldn’t waste your time picking it up. The only real issue is that it can sometimes take quite a while before Hiya identifies the caller, especially if you are using a slower connection.
- Free with no ads
- Large contact database
- Reliable call and SMS blocking
- Occasional speed issues
First released in 2009, Truecaller is a popular dialer replacement app for Android that far exceeds the functionality of the one that comes with the stock operating system. The app is developed by True Software Scandinavia AB, a Swedish company founded by Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam.
Its life started in 2009, when it was first launched on BlackBerry. From there, the app quickly expanded to other platforms, including iOS, Series 40, Symbian s60, Firefox OS, Tizen, BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone, and, most importantly, Android. Truecaller is very popular in India, where it has a user base of more than 150 million users.
Truecaller is powered by a large, community-backed spam list created by the combined effort of more than 200 million users from all around the world. This list gives the application the ability to match nearly any number with the corresponding information, allowing users to see who’s calling.
Unlike Hiya, Truecaller aims to be a full-fledged dialer replacement. This means that you can not only block unwanted calls and SMS messages but that you can also make calls directly from the app. Searching for an unknown number is a breeze: just type the name of the place or person you want to get in touch with, and Truecaller will take care of the rest. You can even copy a random number from a website to save yourself from having to memorize it just to input it into the app.
By far the biggest selling point of Truecaller is how it can help you network with others. Not only does the app allow you to see when your friends and colleagues are free to talk, but you can also send friend requests to friends of your friends.
After you complete the initial setup procedure, you will be greeted with a simple user interface that is separated into five different tabs. The first tab gives you the access to the search functionality. You will use it whenever you need to contact someone who you don’t have in your contact list. Right next to it is the Discover tab. This is the gateway to Truecaller’s networking features. It makes it very easy to send contact requests to people who your friends have in their contact lists. In the middle is the Block tab, which is the main control center for the blocking functionality. This leaves us only with the Notification tab and the Me tab.
The application automatically pops up when you receive a phone call, giving you all information about the caller that it can find in its large database. You can even move the pop-up window across the screen to continue with your work.
- Full-fledged dialer replacement
- Networking features
- Reliable blocking
- Simple user interface
- Past security issues
The final decision between Hiya and Truecaller essentially boils down to your personal preference. The only exception is if you live in India, then Truecaller might work better for you.