I recently decided it was time to get more serious about blocking robocalls and scams. I was getting several daily. Free cruises to the Bahamas, credit card consolidation, selling a timeshare. The final straw was when I got one of those fake Microsoft calls. I mean who on earth calls for any of this? This led me to compare a few scam call blockers including Hiya and Should I Answer.
First an introduction to these two apps. Should I Answer is a top rated app that only runs on Android. Hiya is a more popular app that will run on iOS and Android. Since this is a comparison, it’s probably more pertinent to Android owners, however we will discuss Hiya in detail so iOS users can read on to see if this app is something that will help.
The first question to answer is whether you even need any help. If you aren’t getting any spam calls on your mobile phone, then move on, maybe read an article on the Best Car Mounts for Waze Users. No need to add another app to your phone if you aren’t in need of one. However, it’s likely that you are here because you are one of those that needs this sort of app.
I find that anyone with their phone number somewhere on the internet is more prone than someone who isn’t. I was recently speaking to a friend about these apps and she told me she doesn’t get any of these annoying calls. That’s probably because her number is only known to a small handful of people and she has had that number for a long time.
Anyway, I found these to be the best of the bunch for blocking unwanted robocalls and spam. Hiya versus Should I Answer is a decision that is based upon requirements and most prominently, complexity.
Should I Answer is the most comprehensive spam blocker I evaluated. It hooks deep into the Android dialer and intercepts all calls. It’s the most complex of the two. There are many, many options to choose from dealing with how the call is handled, when it is intercepted, and what to do with the call. Their database is socially fed meaning it relies upon feedback of the user base to tell what is spam and what is acceptable.
The major advantage of Should I Answer is the multitude of options for customization. The social aspect is nice in that it is updated real time by users of the app. The drawback is the multitude of options for customization – if you want to plug and play, this isn’t for you.
That brings us to Hiya. This is an app from the online phone directory company Whitepages. The main intent is to provide free caller ID and spam protection. Hiya is close to plug and play and in fact, most will be pleased with the default options set at download. A screenshot of the Hiya default options is what you see with this article. iOS users will need to take the additional step of activating their iPhone settings to activate Call Blocking and identification but Android users are good to go without messing with the phone settings.
Hiya has a large database already set up with spam caller IDs. There is also a reporting function at the lower left corner to report some newly discovered spam.
The Hiya app provides some interesting data on their website including the robocall radar which tells us the top places for robocalls. For whatever reason, the top location as of today is Columbus Ohio. While I doubt the calls actually originate from Columbus, it’s an interesting bit of information. Hiya also has an interesting feature of protecting your SMS messages to alert you of problematic messages. The disadvantage of Hiya is unlike Should I Answer, you can only ignore the call or send to voicemail. No option for picking up the call and immediately hanging up.
So the bottom line. If you want a lot of call handling options including the one where the app picks it up and rapidly hangs up, Should I Answer is the better app. Those that prefer a quick and simple solution (and those with an iPhone) should look at Hiya.