Stop spam calls with the best call- and text-blocker apps

Best call and text blocker apps
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Unwanted calls and texts are a serious problem. There were almost 30 billion robocalls in the U.S. last year according to YouMail research. Thankfully, the Federal Communications Commission is acting to try and protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls and text messages, and manufacturers and service providers are offering various options to help you block nuisance callers on your smartphone, but it’s not always enough.

We’ve looked at how to block calls on an iPhone and how to block a number in Android before, but in this article, we’re going to highlight the best call and text blocker apps for Android and iOS. These apps are easy to use, they draw on large databases of spam numbers, and they’ll help you rid yourself of spam callers once and for all.

Should I Answer?

Should I Answer

Relying on a community-generated and fully evaluated database of problem numbers, Should I Answer provides you with the information you need to decide whether to take an incoming call or not. Telemarketers, scammers, and other unsolicited calls are divided into categories and assigned ratings, so you can see at-a-glance, as your phone is ringing, how legitimate the incoming call is likely to be. User reviews provide more detail and you can submit your own ratings and reviews on the calls you receive.

It’s easy to block numbers, so all future calls are rejected, and there are lots of useful configuration options, including the ability to block outgoing calls to premium numbers. More reasons to recommend this app include the fact that it allows you to decide what information you submit to the database, it doesn’t upload your contacts, and it works offline. This is our favorite call blocking app for Android, but sadly it isn’t available for the iPhone.

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Android

Hiya Caller ID and Block

Hiya

This a straightforward call blocking app that’s easy to use. It automatically identifies callers and flags robocalls, telemarketers, debt collectors and known fraudsters based on a huge database containing hundreds of millions of numbers. Because the app draws on such a large database of numbers it can often identify legitimate callers as well, so that you know when you should answer. You can build a block list easily and there’s a facility to reverse look-up numbers from your call log.

What we don’t like about Hiya is the fact that it accesses your contacts and uploads them to the database, albeit in encrypted form. The company promises they’re only used to match information and build a whitelist, and that it will never sell them on, but you should check out the privacy policy and decide for yourself before you install. Hiya is available for both Android and iOS, and it’s made by the same developer behind Mr. Number.

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iPhone Android

More call and text blocker apps

Having tried a few different call blocking apps, we can recommend Should I Answer for Android users without any caveats. Hiya is very good for iOS, but you do need to consider the privacy issue. If you’re wondering about alternatives, here’s a quick look at some of your options.

Nomorobo

If you want a call blocking app for your iPhone, but you aren’t prepared to share your contacts with the developer, then you might want to check out Nomorobo. It can identify and block known robocalls and scammers, but it costs $2 per month after the free 30-day trial period and a lot of users have encountered bugs.

Probably the biggest name in the call blocking app arena is Truecaller, which is available for Android and iOS. It has a community built database and millions of users, so it does identify spam calls quite accurately and it can block unwanted calls, but the privacy policy is a cause for concern. It collects a lot of personal information, accesses your contacts, and, rather ironically, shares that data with third parties, which is why we can’t recommend it.

There are many other highly-rated call and text blocker apps in the Play Store and the App Store, but we advise you to proceed with caution and read the privacy policies before you install. If you’re serious about protecting your privacy, then you might also be interested in the best Android security apps or the best iPhone security apps.