Truecaller Gets a New Coat of Paint For Android, But in Reality it is Much More Than That
Truecaller, an app you probably use the most for detecting and blocking spam calls, has received what is perhaps its biggest update in a while. And the update is now rolling out for Android users on the Google Play Store. In case you don’t get it immediately, don’t worry, because it’ll be rolling out in the next few weeks. Truecaller remains one of the most popular apps for the Apple iPhone and Android phones—perhaps also because spam calls and messages are a major annoyance on a daily basis. Sitting within the redesign is a new home screen, a Smart SMS inbox that is more powerful than before and Full Screen Caller ID.
For starters, when you open the Truecaller app on an Android phone post the update, you will be greeted with a completely new home screen layout. This is now a two-layered interface, with tabs at the top and the bottom of the screen. At the bottom, you have Home, Contacts, Blocking, Banking and Payments. The tabs at the top change depending on which of these master tabs you are in at the time.
For instance, in the Home tab, you have Personal, Important, Other messages and Spam messages. Important messages as defined by Truecaller right now include bills, transaction messages, online tickets and more. The Important tab also gives you reminders based on upcoming bookings, for instance—you wouldn’t want to miss a flight or a movie, when the world becomes a better place again. “For the future of the Important tab, we will also be adding in the coming months travel reminders like flight delays, bus seat allocation and live tracking, and updates on postal deliveries, tax updates and hospital appointments,” says Truecaller.
Switch to the Contacts tab, and you get your contacts list and also a separate list of incoming calls that Truecaller identified. Since this replicates the phonebook in your Android phone, you will get your favorites sorted nicely as well.
The Blocking tab is an evolution of the Spam tab earlier, and you get more detailed options now—automatic update of top spammers list, block 140 series telemarketers quite common in India and more.
With a growing focus on digital payments, Truecaller has divided that into Banking and Payments, also because the latter will widen in scope. You set up your Truecaller Pay account by verifying your phone number with your bank account to set this up—much like how any UPI payments app setup works. The thing is, even if you don’t set up Truecaller Pay, you can still make payments for utility bills, mobile bills, broadband bills, cable TV and DTH payments, insurance and more with UPI payment apps such as Google Pay, PhonePe and Paytm. Truecaller will also send you monthly reminders for new bills, if that is what you want.
In a way, the design is now simplified even though there are more options available. And the dark mode looks brilliant too.
Truecaller take pains to confirm that the processing happens offline, and no message leaves your smartphone. This means all SMS detections, categorizations and other calling data remains on your phone. All transactional information is also securely stored in your phone. In fact, this feature is being rolled out for India first, with a global rollout happening eventually. Earlier, Truecaller had enhanced the privacy controls in the app. “We do not sell our users’ names or phone numbers to third parties because it is against our ethics,” they said earlier. At no point does an advertising partner doesn’t actually get access to the information of any Truecaller user.
Last but not least is the new full screen caller ID. Instead of a pop-up, you now get a full-screen layer on the Android phone’s display when a new call comes in. The problem is, with customizations done by different phone makers, sometimes this pop-up may end up hiding an important element on the screen.
Truecaller says the new update will gradually roll out in the coming weeks for all Android users globally.