Despite the various strides Truecaller as an app has been able to achieve in with Android, it has been held back from achieving its full potential because it was unable to get through to IOS users over the years but now that is no longer an issue because the Stockholm-based company is introducing an update that will finally provide live caller ID support on iOS, available to people using its paid tiers.
And, unlike the seamless experience available on Android, where users see a caller ID instantly when they receive an incoming call, the iPhone experience will include a step that requires interacting with Siri.
According to Nakul Kabra, Truecaller’s product director for iOS, the app has had a limited experience on the iPhone due to how Apple works with third-party caller ID apps.
Truecaller is still growing, but it is experiencing some setbacks in its most profitable markets. In markets where spammers target the masses, such as India, the app has become one of the most popular among mobile users. Nonetheless, the company has been chastised for the manner in which it collects data for its caller ID service.
According to an investigation conducted last year by the Indian magazine The Caravan, Truecaller is “comprised of details which have been collected without consent.” The company, on the other hand, denied the allegations, claiming that the investigation was flawed and based on inaccurate information.
The new caller ID feature will be available only to users on the app’s premium tiers (priced at $0.99 per month per individual, $4.99/per month when a user’s carrier is not supported, and $9.99/per month for family plans, with discounts for annual subscriptions).
Truecaller’s current call-identification framework is limited to a finite set of numbers stored in directories in Apple’s CallKit framework and chosen by Truecaller’s spam algorithm. Other numbers that aren’t stored locally, he says, will have to be found manually.
Truecaller subscribers on an iPhone running iOS 16 or higher will be able to access live caller ID support by saying, “Hey Siri, Search Truecaller.” This will allow Siri to capture the number displayed on the screen, search for it in the app, and display the result to the user.
The feature makes use of Apple’s Siri Shortcuts and App Intents to provide the anticipated live caller ID experience.
That means users must first enable the Search Truecaller shortcut on their iPhones by tapping the Add to Siri option in the Premium tab. The user will be prompted the first time the shortcut is run to allow Truecaller to search the screenshots the shortcut captures.
“We have been tinkering around with App Intents for the last few months since iOS 16 was publicly launched… Previous iterations didn’t have the right experience to be used in the context of a live call. One of the more recent iterations is what has evolved into this feature,” Kabra said.
Users of more recent iPhones, such as the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, will be able to access the feature by tapping the back of their handset rather than calling out the Siri phrase. They must enable the Search Truecaller shortcut from the Back Tap gesture settings to accomplish this.
Truecaller has also doubled the size of its CallKit directory and improved its spam detection algorithm in this update to ensure that spam, scam, and fraud calls are recognized more accurately.
“This improved directory makes sure that most top spam and verified business calls can be identified right away even without needing to ask Siri. However, given the limitations of the platform, we cannot identify all calls using the traditional call directories mechanism. This is where the new Live Caller ID comes in and makes sure that you can identify every single call,” Kabra said.
The company also claims that premium users’ spam lists will be updated on a daily basis. In the meantime, free users can only manually update the list.
Truecaller also added a commenting feature for iPhone users, allowing them to read user feedback on spam calls and even contribute their own. Previously, this feature was only available on Android.
SMS filtering on iOS is being enhanced as well, with the ability to categorize incoming text messages into Finance, Orders, Reminders, Coupons, Offers, and Junk categories. This categorization is currently available in India, South Africa, and Nigeria, and will be expanded to other markets in the near future.
Truecaller for iPhone now has a new set of features, which comes months after the iOS app was redesigned in August of last year. Since then, the company claims that daily iPhone users have increased by more than 80%. The company declined to reveal how many iOS users it has in total.
“Live Caller ID on iPhone is the one major aspect that has eluded our iPhone app, and we are excited to finally introduce it with the help of Siri,” said Alan Mamedi, co-founder and CEO at Truecaller, in a prepared statement.