Truecaller’s iOS update improves call and spam detection
Truecaller has been working to build out a family of apps to dig deeper into the different ways people now communicate, but it also improves the performance of its flagship app. Today, the company released a major update to its eponymous iOS app – featuring better spam detection, faster performance, quick onboarding and a smaller app size. Most notably, the company says the update addresses user concerns by bringing the iPhone app in line with its Android counterpart for conversation detection.
The update comes after some welcome news for the app from the country’s highest court regarding the handling of user data and privacy. Back in March, an investigation alleged that the platform’s dataset was “consisting of details collected without consent.” Just yesterday, however, the court announced that it would decline to hear the case, effectively closing the door on the case (at least for the time being).
The app update doesn’t address any of the issues raised in the March survey: the goal is to improve speed. To improve call and spam detection, the firm said it rebuilt the iOS app’s code base to better take advantage of Apple’s CallKit API. In the older version, the app could only store a limited list of spam numbers and caller IDs locally. Trucaller claims that the new version can store a 10x larger list on the phone to quickly detect callers.
Truecaller also said that the local caller ID list will grow as more people use the newer version. The list is updated every three days for free users and every day for premium users for faster caller identification.
The caveat is that to enable features including identification of verified business calls, spam calls, previously searched numbers and calls from other Truecaller users, you must go to Settings > Phone > Call blocking and identification and turn on all switches. This only applies to iPhone as users on Android are not required to go through the same settings. Unfortunately, Truecaller doesn’t specify any toggle feature mapping, so you’ll either have to enable them all or use a trial and error method to turn on exact features.
By rewriting the code, Truecaller claims it provides a faster experience even on older iPhone models – as far back as the iPhone 6s. The company claims it has delivered a 30% smaller app size overall and 50% speed improvements on most iPhone models. The updated app (version 12.0) also requires your iPhone model to be running iOS 14 or later – unlike the previous version which had iOS 13.0 as a minimum requirement.
The underlying changes also improve the Premium purchase flow so users can easily choose the paid option over the free one – for an ad-free experience and features like the ability to see who’s viewed your profile on the app and unlock “advanced” spam blocking . Also, users will start seeing a search icon next to the phone numbers they have already searched for in the app.
Because Truecaller’s spam detection relies heavily on user reports, the performance of features including direct identification of annoying spam and scam calls on iPhone will take some time to bring noticeable improvements.
“This update has been long overdue for many iPhone users, and now we can offer them the best spam and fraud identifier to help them separate the noise from the communications they want to respond to,” said Alan Mamedi, co-founder and CEO of Truecaller, in a prepared statement.
Truecaller also plans to customize the experience with the release of iOS 16 in the coming months by bringing features including advanced SMS filtering. Furthermore, it is working to introduce an option to automatically block the best spammers and allow iPhone users to see detailed statistics about spam-marked numbers as well as view and contribute comments on spam-marked numbers for extra context. However, exact details of when these updates will be available have yet to be announced.
Currently, iPhone users account for 5% of Truecaller’s total base of 320 million monthly active users. However, the company seems to be working on expanding its presence among Apple consumers by introducing new updates.
Truecaller works by asking users to provide access to their phone books for caller ID and collect reports of spam numbers from the community. Because of this model, the company has data on people who may not have consented to their number being shared. To mitigate this, the firm offers delisting services for users who do not want their ID to be on service.
The way Truecaller detects and handles its caller ID service has raised privacy concerns recently. The investigation carried out by Rest of World and Caravan India earlier this year alleged serious problems related to this. However, the company refuted the claims in a blog post, saying the investigation was based on inaccuracies.