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Best Caller ID App to Filter or Block Spam Phone Calls: Hiya vs Truecaller

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

Hiya

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.

Features

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.

Usage

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.

Pros

  • Free with no ads
  • Large contact database
  • Easy-to-use
  • Reliable call and SMS blocking

Cons

  • Occasional speed issues

Truecaller

Truecaller

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.

Features

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.

Usage

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.

Pros

  • Full-fledged dialer replacement
  • Networking features
  • Reliable blocking
  • Simple user interface

Cons

  • Past security issues

Verdict

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.

13 Comments

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  1. I have used Truecaller for last few years but it does not work well with all phones. I changed my phone to LG and it disabled some of the key phone functions such as 3 way calling, second waiting and call forwarding. Also, the SMS in TrueMessenger does not allow to use mic instead of typing. So I switched to HIYA. Will give it a try and see if there are any bugs/flaws in design.

  2. Also forgot to mention, I can block legitimate bill collectors too. It is great. Once blocked the only way they can call is from a different number, unless you unblock. Then you can block their new number just as easy. Mine doesn’t offer a code for them to enter. They just receive message this person is no longer receiving calls. I also get notices of numbers with area CODES coming from over seas for nefarious reasons. They buy American phone numbers via internet and call you, when you call back your actually calling a third world country in most cases. Hiya warns you.

  3. I have the zte pro 7 flagship, when updated to android nueget, hiya came not as app but built within the calling phone system. It’s great, now when I get a call,I get a number in red if unknown to me, plus it says, spam, telemarketer, fake car insurance scam etc. Is great. After they call you hit block button, and they are blocked. Period. I do know when they called though. My screen lights up for 1 sec. And in my caller id it shows call blocked. Is a life saver. It even tells me if is a charity or political, so I can choose not too answer and block

  4. So is the challenge a text requiring a text response, or an audible 4-digit request for an audible 4-digit response? The July 18 comment seems to say both.

  5. Too bad reviewers, like “An actual user”, don’t give the details they say that others crave. This reviewer never mentioned which smartphone he uses (brand and model), which OS and version is on the smartphone, and which cellular carrier(s) he uses. He also never mentions uninstalling an reinstalling the app. Or analyzing what other phone-centric apps are running on his phone (and forcing a stop on them) that could interfere with the Hiya app. As to his points of contention, I’ve never lost the recent call log in the Hiya app during use, after a forced stop of the app, or after a restart of the smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Core Prime, Android 4.4.4 Kitkat). That’s why I suspect he has some other app that is cleaning out the log or interfering with the Hiya app. I have the option to block unknown callers and the app on my phone does NOT block every call and, yes, I can disable and enable that option at-will. In fact, there is a new icon on the main screen (looks like a person’s face wearing a headset) to toggle that screening option (block unknown & screen using texts) rather than having to delve into settings. The function of that option is send a text to unknown callers who must respond to then become known callers. It is a screener that uses a similar technique to the challenge-response (C-R) scheme for e-mail that sends back a challenge to unknown e-mail senders who must respond to the challenge to get their e-mail through the C-R filter. Hiya uses texting as the challenge and the caller’s response unlocks them from the unknown caller block. Obviously if the caller does not respond to the challenge text or they don’t get the text or they don’t do texting then there is no response to make them known and unlock them out of the unknown block. I don’t use the unknown caller block (with texting to make known) because I don’t text and don’t demand it of others; however, I can toggle that option on or off at any time. I’m using version 6.4.4 of the Hiya app. “An actual user” never bothered to divulge that detail. The app has received bug fixes and updates. In fact, they periodically push an ad to my phone trying to get me to move to their beta version. I’ve got better things to do than be an unpaid volunteer beta tester. I’ll wait until the next version gets published and the app gets updated to the next released version. While users crave reviews exhibiting actual user experience with the app, “An actual user” wasn’t very detailed and he was wrong on several points. Maybe he needs to reset his phone and start over with installing only a minimal set of apps and keep the conflicts or overlapping functionality between them to a minimum or preferably none at all. Not all apps work together well.

    The only way I’ve gotten the call log to go blank in the Hiya app is to clear it myself (Settings -> Call Log -> Clear all history). You can set the call log to show the last month, last 3 months, last 6 months, or the last 12 months of calls (accepted calls and, if you elect, also blocked calls). I typically clear out the log every few weeks (and wish there was an easier of quickly doing that) so I set it to “last month”.

    Another user mentioned there is no whitelist. Not needed. If a caller is on Hiya’s blacklist, they are NOT immediately disconnected. Instead they are offered a 4-digit challenge similar to web sites that use a CAPTCHA to verify a human is using that page. If the caller enters the 4-digit challenge, they become a known caller and will get past the Hiya app’s blocking. The 4-digit challenge is the whitelist and proves a human called (and how some spammers can still get through the blacklist in Hiya – the spammer is a human calling you so they can respond to the 4-digit challenge).

    If your PBX or phone system or phone interferes with the call by picking up or transferring too early, the caller has no chance to enter the 4-digit challenge. The effect would be like setting your voicemail to pickup after the 2nd ring but the caller is still listening to the prompt to enter the 4-digit challenge: you’ve not given the caller a chance to respond to the challenge so they cannot get through. The fault is misconfiguration on your end, not the caller’s end, and not with the app which gives suspect callers a chance to validate themselves but you yank it away.

  6. I’ve been using Hiya – and then I’m noticing I’m not getting calls. There’s no obvious way to add numbers to an “allowed list,” and – unfortunately – it seems to be blocking a large number of legitimate callers, much to my dismay.

  7. Liked the article but found the replies of much more value particularly the one from “An Actual User.”

  8. The problem I have with these apps is that it still allows the calls to go to the voice mail. There has to be a way to completely block them from calling and not leaving a message.

  9. Another light fluffy article that really does not provide enough information from actually using these apps for an extended time. All this does is gives the vendors exposure. Why not define the speed issue in Hiya by telling us the app NEVER retains its caller log on your phone and depends on their server to provide it EVERY time you open the app. Result…. a blank log screen all the time whether you are on mobile data or WIFI. This issue reared its head in the version update when the app was renamed from White Pages to Hiya. Another ongoing annoyance is one you select block unidentified (no name) calls it simply blocks every call and there is no way to reverse the selection short of removing the app and it’s data. And I removed mine.
    This is what readers crave in reviews. Actual user experience.

  10. After reading all the permissions required to use TrueCaller and Hiya, I am concerned about security issues. They pretty much want to have full control and deletion capability over my phone, contacts, email, text, photos, etc. There is no way I will use either App!

  11. In the above article regarding TrueCaller you mention past security issues as the only con. How far in the past are we talking and what is their security like now?

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