[Android] TrueCaller will identify unknown numbers (i.e. Caller ID)

TrueCaller is an app that will attempt to show you who is calling you when the number is not in your contacts. This is great for those who get calls from unknown numbers repeatedly. It is becoming more popular due to the increase in spam calls targeted at mobile phones.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

This app’s main functionality is to simply use a database of numbers and conveniently tell you who exactly is calling you. It is basically a Caller ID app.

Pros

  • Has a searchable database of mobile and landline numbers from all over the world
  • Aside from manual search, shows you who a number belongs to on-the-fly whenever you receive a call
  • Caller ID and Call Blocker
  • Connect to social networks to access numbers
  • Update-able phonebook

Cons

  • Cannot find all numbers, although developer claims to be able to identify “half a billion” phone numbers

Discussion

This program is in theory very simple. It is designed to look up unknown numbers and display information about the number. This type of function can have all sorts of uses. It can be great to identify friends you haven’t added to you’re contacts yet. It can also be great to avoid calls like telemarketers or political advertisements. This could actually be a reality because it can access mobile and landline numbers all over the world.

The app will allow you to look up a number independently, or show it to you right on your incoming call screen so you know before you answer. On the other end of the spectrum, this app will allow you to block calls. When this is enabled, the targeted phone number won’t be able to call you at all. This type of system makes it so you never have to talk to somebody that you don’t want to talk to.

This app also sports a built in phonebook. This is useful because it accesses your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. This can be beneficial because most Android users choose not to display their social network friends with the rest of their phone contacts. This is due to the fact that most people don’t want to have hundreds of extra names that you probably will never talk to cluttering up their contact lists. TrueCaller will however show you if one of those Facebook or LinkedIn friends are calling you when you don’t have them in your normal phone contacts. This gives you the ability to identify them without having to clutter up your contacts with people you have to desire to talk to.

There is one major and simple flaw. TrueCaller is only as good as the database backing it, meaning it can only identify numbers that it has recorded from other users or TrueCaller research. As it happens to be, TrueCaller has difficulty with private numbers. This means that it will guess most corporate and public numbers (i.e. numbers belonging to organizations rather than individual people). However, if it is a private number (i.e. belonging to an individual as opposed to an organization), then the app will have difficulty displaying information about it… unless someone along the line shared their phonebook with TrueCaller and TrueCaller recorded that contact. This is extremely unfortunate because private numbers might end up calling you more than you would think.

Conclusion and download link

Overall, I think this app can be incredibly useful if you get a lot of calls from companies or organizations. If you are hoping to identify your friends or other local numbers, then this app probably isn’t for you. However, it definitely won’t hurt to try because it does properly identify private numbers sometimes.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 2.99

Requires: Android 2.1 and up

Download size: 3mb

TrueCaller on Play Store

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13 comments

  1. Frank

    Ashraf,

    you might want to publish this under ‘iDevices’ as well as they also have an iOS version. If you adore this version (Android) chances are high you want to recommend the app to fellow AppStore users.

    Regards, Frank

  2. Frank

    @Ashraf: but the do (or can) collect all incoming calls and identify you. I once had them on my WinMo and I sniffed the traffic. They do a request to their servers transmitting far more information than just the callerID. So IMHO there is a privacy issue involved (except you use a PHP script on your own server and reroute the requests)

    Besides Quality for my Country was low (for example gave completely wrong cities for unknown callerIDs).

    Regards, Frank

  3. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    @Tom: I really don’t know how they gather their data. My guess is a mix between users submitting contacts and TrueCaller’s owner research.
    You are probably right that TrueCaller will, sooner or later, enable the gathering of phone book data from Android devices. My hope is when they do start it, it will be opt-in.
    @Darcy: Did you try it — did they fix it?

  4. Darcy

    Two years ago, when I first tried this on the original MyTouch, it couldn’t look up any numbers fast enough to avoid going to voice mail. Their tech support said it was because my connection speed wasn’t fast enough but, not only was I in the fastest speed area T-Mobile offered, it couldn’t even work when I was using a Wi-Fi connection. I hope they’ve fixed that problem.

  5. Tom

    @Ashraf: I was wondering how they got all that info. For example, if I have your private cell number Ashraf, will they take that from my contacts list and add it to their database?

    That’s coming one way or another. It’s just a matter of time where only one of your contacts needs to leak your private contact numbers, and have them confirmed by another user’s contact list.

    Oh my… that’s Lindsay Lohan calling me now… gotta run!

  6. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    Excellent app and review, Brendan. Thanks!

    For those concerned about privacy, it should be noted the developer says on Play Store page:

    >>Truecaller users on the Android platform downloaded from Google Play will until further notice not be able to contribute to the Truecaller directory, but will nevertheless experience the same level of service as if they had. In other words, Truecaller will not collect any information from your phone book.