Skip to main content

Google Hangouts now takes advantage of iOS native-calling features

iOS Hangouts
Last year, Apple introduced CallKit, a software hook that lets developers tap into iOS’s native calling features, but apps were a bit slow on the uptake. That changed with the debut of Facebook’s CallKit-enabled Messenger in late September, and Google, not to be outdone by one of its biggest rivals, is following suit with CallKit support for Hangouts.

Hangouts, Google’s texting and internet-based calling app, is a lot more capable with CallKit in tow. When a call comes in, Hangouts can answer from iOS’s call UI (user interface) and display it on the iPhone’s lock screen. Hangouts can ring any person from iOS’s contact list, and can even interface with Siri — calling someone with a voice command rings them via Hangouts.

It is comparable to Facebook Messenger’s CallKit implementation. In Messenger, incoming calls take up the full screen and show the caller’s name and call controls. Answering a call pulls up Messenger, which you can dismiss, and maximize resume, like the native iOS phone app. And it works in CarPlay, Apple’s dashboard-optimized interface — you can answer call using Messenger while driving.

To enable CallKit integration in Hangouts, install the newest app from the iTunes App Store. Then launch it, tap Settings, and toggle Answer on lock screen. 

CallKit is capable of more than just voice-call integration. It can transcribe voicemail messages and serve up callback buttons alongside visual voicemail notifications, and a specialized set of APIs lets Hangouts and other apps tie into iOS’s favorites, recents, and lockscreen features.

And that is just the tip of CallKit’s iceberg. A second component, Call Directory, enables call-screening services to cross-reference a pre-defined list of known spammers when calls come in. With an app like Truecaller installed, for example, phone calls from unfamiliar contacts display information from the Truecaller database — including whether the number is from a known fraudster.

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
Here’s how iPadOS 17 is taking your iPad to the next level
Someone holding the 12.9-inch version of the iPad Pro (2022).

At its annual WWDC 2023 conference, Apple introduced the latest iteration of its tablet operating system.

Say hello to iPadOS 17, which is going to be out in the fall with some notable features updates in tow. For starters, a handful of iOS 17 tricks are also making their way to iPadOS 17.
The Health app comes to iPad

Read more
iOS 17 is official, and it’s going to totally change your iPhone
iOS 17 overview.

Apple has just revealed iOS 17 at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote. This is the next major update for Apple’s iPhone hardware, which will publicly launch in the fall alongside the iPhone 15. However, those who are in Apple’s Developer Program can get ahold of the iOS 17 beta today, while those who are enrolled in Apple’s Beta Software Program can grab the beta in July.

In addition to the usual bug fixes and improvements, iOS 17 is bringing a lot of new features to the table as well. Here’s a rundown of all of iOS 17’s major changes.
Changes to Phone, FaceTime, and Messages

Read more
Apple is adding a brand new app to your iPhone with iOS 17
Journal app for iOS 17.

Apple is adding a new first-party app called Journal with the introduction of iOS 17, the company announced today during WWDC 2023. Journal is, as its name simply states, a new place for iPhone users to keep track of their daily activities, log their emotional health, and jot down anything else that they want to write about.

Apple has continued to lean into its first-party health and wellness iOS apps with things like Fitness, Sleep, and Breathe, and now Journal will be joining their ranks as the company's first attempt at an app that focuses on mental well-being.

Read more