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Beginning of the Truecaller Experience that iPhone Users Have Been Waiting For? We Try out the Truecaller 7.0

Truecaller has been one of the apps that heavily divides opinion. You have one set, which is extremely happy with the app as it saves you from answering calls from unknown and unwanted spam, while on the other hand, you have people who still have reservations. Both sides have their merits to make an argument as to who is right and who is wrong, but what nobody can take away from Truecaller is the convenience that the app brings. It may come at a cost, but it gets the job done.

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Image source: TC Blog

Think of it like the good old SR-71, the fastest aircraft ever made. It compromised on efficiency, burnt fuel rates faster than ever, it was a real badass, but it was a unique aircraft and did things that others could only dream of. Would the world have been a better place without the SR-71? Perhaps it would have been, we would have saved a lot of fossil fuel, but we would not have seen the next step of engineering that was put on the plane. Truecaller, while nowhere near aerodynamically close, is similar. It does things, nobody can but at a cost. If you can take the cost, you can enjoy the benefits, if you do not want to, you do not really lose much.

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One of the issues that have raged the Truecaller loyalists for ages has been the fact that the app is a shadow of its true self on iOS than what it is on Android. Say it is because of the high walls of security that Apple has built where you are not allowed to intervene into core apps or just that Truecaller could not find a way around, iPhone users really wanted the wholesome goodness of Truecaller on iOS, to the point that Apple decided to build in an unknown caller ID right into iOS 9, which, unfortunately, never worked out.

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Finally, after an exorbitant wait, Truecaller has released a major update for iOS which is kind of a coming together of Truecaller and Truedialer for iPhone. The app is still called Truecaller but has a smart history search as well as availability inbuilt. You can dial a call right from the app instead of the default iPhone dialer, so that is an interesting little add-on too. The Spam ID is inbuilt, which is a bonus, you can go ahead and add to the spam ID by simply marking the callers as spam. Since the implementation is not like Android at all, you should be prepared to be upset if that is what you wanted.

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For starters, there is no real-time caller detection, so if anyone is calling you, and you do not have the user’s phone number with you, Truecaller cannot save you here from saving you from the spammer. It is only after the call has ended that you will be notified of the caller. The only way for you to know the caller in real time is if the caller is also using Truecaller on his iPhone, which is still better than nothing. In short, you can only save yourself from the spammers who use an iPhone and themselves are wary of spammers.

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We also saw that not all the calls that come to the phone are registered in the dialer history, which is a little strange. Only the calls that you made out with the iPhone using the Truecaller dialer were registered in the application, unlike on the Android version, where all the calls incoming and outgoing were stacked in the dialer application. We absolutely loved the fact that the dialer on the Truecaller app has a T9 input, something that the default iPhone dialer also does not bring.

We have grown up naturally using keypads to enter the contact name to dial, and it is good to see Truecaller bring that. The availability feature is here too from the Android version, so if you have dialled to someone, and they have Truecaller on their phone, irrespective of the phone OS, you will be able to see when they are available to take a call or when they are busy. If you have an urgent call to make and the other person does not have call waiting or just simply is not answering you, this is a really useful feature and works very well on the iPhone. One of the features from Android version that iOS has not got is real time contact name translation. On the version of Android, Truecaller, not just displays the name of the caller in English but also in the local language, Hindi. This is really useful in a country like India, where English is still being adopted. With the feature already available on Android, you sure should expect Truecaller to bring the same on iOS.

While it is clear to see the iOS version of the app is not quite up to paces with the Android version, it is clear that there has been progress. Truecaller also mentions on their blog that with the CallKit being released with iOS 10, the experience will improve even more. Even though the experience on Android is just as good, if not better as compared to the stock Android dialer, to the point, yes, we did replace the vanilla dialer with the Truecaller dialer, there is work to be done on the iPhone.

The best part about this though is that Truecaller recognises this and unlike product teams where they are super glad without recognising the shortcoming, the brief interaction we had with the Truecaller team, showed that they really want to set the iPhone experience correct. Truecaller 7.0 is a start, a good one, but by no means would you want to move away from your stock dialer like you would say on Android.

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Arpit Verma

When not admiring flying metallic birds and the science behind them, Arpit is seen scribbling with his keyboard, voicing an opinion or two about personal technology. He is currently using a Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s Plus as his mobile devices.

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