Should I Answer (SIA) is free community-based security application for mobile phones with Android operating system designed to protect you against unsolicited calls, all kinds of unwanted telemarketing and unwanted or expensive outgoing calls like call to premium number or call to a foreign country. This document describes features and user interface of version 9.x.
Preferred installation method is via Google Play Store which you can find directly in your mobile device or via Google Play web page. There is no other official distribution channel of installer APK.
- Easy check of phone numbers ratings in your Phone Call History.
- Displaying the ratings of incoming/outgoing calls via special notifications (Alert).
- Displaying after-call information with possibility to write own rating.
- Flexible rating system.
- Fully customizable alerts.
- Optional automatic blocking of unwanted incoming/outgoing calls.
- Daily updated Community Database.
The main application function is to provide the user with the right information in right time. Please be aware that the blocking function is just a secondary and for some manufacturers and mobile brands it should not work properly.
How it works
- When some number calls, application shows phone number rating via security rating notifications (Alerts).
- Each rating is based on reviews in Community Database, your Phone Contacts (if not otherwise specified, taken always as POSITIVE) and your own ratings.
- All above is combined into single POSITIVE, NEUTRAL, NEGATIVE or UNKNOWN final rating.
- The RATINGS tab serves for composing of your own rating for any number - can be public or private, always prior of community rating.
- How and what alerts will be displayed can be configured in the ALERTS tab.
- How the incoming/outgoing calls will be maintained and blocked can be configured in the BLOCKING tab.
Based on the settings, the application can only display information about incoming/outgoing calls, or block them. For those functions, application combines the information you have provided on the RATINGS tab (this info is a top-priority, so you can e.g. mark also a number stored within your Contacts as negative), with your mobile Contacts (by default marked as POSITIVE, second priority) and with the information from the Community database (stored off-line in your mobile) taken as third priority. To provide those functions, the application must be still running in your device memory - user must check and assure this for some manufacturers.
This is the core app part where user can check the application functions and actions the application has taken. Log contains the Phone Call History, read from phone system log. Icon on the left side indicates the Phone Number Rating with following meaning:
Next icon informs you about call type and taken action:
|Successful Incoming Call|
|Missed Incoming Call|
|Blocked Incoming Call|
|Not Checked Incoming Call (Protection was not running)|
|Successful Outgoing Call|
|Missed Outgoing Call|
|Blocked Outgoing Call|
|Not Checked Outgoing Call (Protection was not running)|
- Phone Number Click : this action opens the Phone Number Details screen with detailed information and further actions: Call, Block, Rate and download reviews for the number.
- Phone Number Long Hold : if you hold a finger on the number for a while the context menu is shown with actions : Show Details, Call Number, Copy number to clipboard, and Web Search which opens our web page with the respective number.
- Call Button Click : will open the system phone log, where you can manage the log of phone calls history.
Some log lines can be marked with red text "Protection was not active!" or "Protection was not running". If this happens, our application was not able to check that call for any reasons - mostly it was killed or postponed by some memory manager. When this happens, please check your phone applications and add our application to a list of protected apps in your system or in the respective memory manager - for more info see the Problems with blocking devices on Android or contact our support at email@example.com
When you pull the Logs screen a bit up to show the first line and above, the upper line will display three Log dividers (you can click on each of them). When scrolling down, this line will hide automatically.
- PHONE : this list contains all calls as provided by your system phone log
- BLOCKED : this list contains only the blocked calls. Call them back if needed
- CHECKED : this list provides the list of all calls checked by our application
Use the Phone Number Details screen or the RATINGS screen (see below) to set a rule used lately for blocking (or allowing) any number.
This screen is the core of the rating system used lately for blocking or allowing the calls. In this section you can:
- create POSITIVE, NEGATIVE or NEUTRAL (each private or public) rating for any number
- manage your created ratings - adjust or delete them
Your rating can be defined for a single number or multiple phone numbers by using a mask. Be aware when setting a rule for wide range of numbers. Always double-check the possibility of conflict with any other rule or Contacts.
- Rating Filter : (at the top of the screen) helps to filter the rating rules by phone number. Useful if you search for some specific number rule. Just tick on the line and fill any number or a part of it.
- User Rating Click : by clicking on any of your rating you open a screen for edition of the respective rating. There you can set the rating attributes, delete the rating, save it or cancel the changes.
- Plus Button Click : this action opens the screen for creation of new rating, see below the Phone Number Rating.
As stated above, you can simply override e.g. the Community database rating by creating your own rule for a specific number. On the other hand, you can simply create a blocking (=negative) rule even for a number stored in Contacts. Remember, the rating can be marked as PRIVATE - in that case it will not be visible on internet, will be stored purely in your mobile. Please never publish ratings for private numbers, always set them as PRIVATE. Also it is a best practice to create rule using the international area code, or to pick the exact number from LOGS screen and create the rating there. Unknown (hidden or masked) numbers can't be blocked by a rule, but can be blocked directly in the BLOCKING screen.
Alert is a security rating notification displayed during calling phase (can be done for both INCOMING or OUTGOING calls). Alert doesn't provide any other function - just displays the core information needed. In this screen you can configure the Alerts displaying. This setting here is done based on the phone number rating. For each rating category (POSITIVE, NEGATIVE, NEUTRAL, UNKNOWN) you can check if you want to display the alert - so the ALERT screen uses the info provided from all rating sources.
In the Advanced section at the bottom of the screen a system overlay can be enabled. If you are experiencing problems with alerts displaying, you can try to disable the usage of system overlays - this will cause the displaying of alert in another fashion which can work better on your device.
Generally saying this screen provides a switchboard for decision which info should be displayed during the ringing phase. Please be aware that the Alert screen will be shown in the front of the system call screen - if this is a problem and the system buttons are hidden behind it, just drag it with a finger to better position up or down - it will remember such position for all future calls.
In this section you can configure which incoming/outgoing calls should be blocked. Remember, in the Ratings screen you have set the additional rating sources next to the community database. Now we will decide what source we will use for the blocking functionality of the application and how.
- We can set blocking rules for INCOMING and OUTGOING calls in respective sections, and SMS/MMS (using a 3rd-party application).
- Local negative rated numbers - if set, all numbers with your locally created and stored negative rating will be blocked
- Community negative rated numbers - if set, the community database rating is used, and all numbers negative rated by the community will be blocked
- Numbers not stored in Contacts - if set, all numbers unknown to you (not stored in Contacts) will be blocked
- Hidden numbers - if set, all masked/hidden numbers will be blocked
- Foreign numbers - if set, all calls from foreign countries will be blocked
- Also incoming SMS and MMS can be blocked. For this functionality, a compatible SMS manager must be installed, please read the help screen displayed if you check this item.
- On the Community DB sensitivity bar you can select how many negative ratings on a negative rated number should be sufficient to block the number. Just pick a number from 1 to 10 on the bar (where default is 3) to tell the application how many negative ratings must exist for a negatively rated number to block the number when using the Community database rating. If a negative number calls with less negative ratings, user will be notified why the number was not blocked - then you can add your own (personal or public) negative rating for such number or lower the sensitivity. This should avoid of unnecessary blocking for e.g. calls rated just once.
- Blocking works automatically without user's attention. You can also select if you want to be notified when any blocking occurs. Notification is a different functionality than the Alerts displaying - Alerts give you the information about call in progress, where Notification only displays info about the action already taken by the application.
- Optionally you can try to use Pick & Hang method to protect your voicemail. When selecting this functionality, the app will block incoming call by answering the call and hang up in the same second with one exception - application will not pick up call if the phone is in roaming mode. Please use this feature only if you are sure you will not be charged for picking up the incoming calls.
Combine the settings according to your needs. After the settings are made, check them for possible conflicts. Remember to check your own rating rules in the RULES tab and community database ratings for the specific number to be sure the app will serve you according to your wishes. Also remember that number stored in Contacts without any other rule (either Community, or your own) is automatically POSITIVE.
SettingsThis section contains main application settings.
- Show after-call information
- Here you can enable/disable displaying of phone number details after finishing the call.
- Send anonymous stats about incoming calls
- If the "Send anonymous stats about incoming calls" is selected, the user gives us a possibility to send the incoming UNKNOWN numbers to the server - this means that only the number is send, without any further info, no personal data are never transferred from your mobile phone. Privacy is important for us, so we don't sends stats about numbers stored in your Phone Contacts! Only unknown numbers are sent if this option is checked. This gives us a possibility to collect incoming unknown numbers from different sources - after then our team checks them and if same unknown number calls multiple people, we dig some info for it and create review with rating, which will be stored afterwards in your local database.
- Download reviews automatically
- If the "Download reviews automatically" is selected and your mobile is connected to the internet, the user reviews for some number are downloaded and displayed automatically when you open the call detail. This doesn't cost you any extra money, just the internet connection is used. If this item is not selected but the phone is connected to the internet, the user reviews can be downloaded also manually on the phone call detail screen.
- Statistics Notification
- If the "Statistics Notification (once per 2 weeks)" is selected the app will show system statistics as a notification after 2 weeks with a list of performed actions. This way user can easily check the overall application functionality and efficiency.
- Use Light Theme
- There are two layout themes - light and dark. This item serves as a switch for them. Check it on your device which theme suits you better and which is more readable (e.g. on a direct sun).
This section allows you to switch on or off the core application functions. For call system processes, we use system listeners and receivers (parts of operating system which can tell if some call is coming in or out) - we use them equally, just one switched on can do the service, but for different mobile devices it is recommended to switch them all on - user can try this freely. The "Use Service for call monitoring" item switches the main application LISTENER. The two next items below serve as system RECEIVERS (detail description see below). If all the three items are switched off, the application is postponed - it doesn't provide any functionality. This status is equal to turning the app off (you can do it temporary if you don't want to have the application active for some time).
- Use Service for call monitoring
- By enabling this option the application will use the system listener for monitoring phone calls. This enables the application to basically catch both incoming and outgoing calls. For some devices it is not sufficient to use just this method so if some calls go through unattended by our app please switch on also the below receivers on.
- Foreground Service
- Enabling this you will speed up the blocking of unwanted calls - the application will be still running in the active memory. As a side effect you will permanently see the app icon in status bar and notification about enabled protection. As a benefit on most devices the speed of blocking should be much faster than phone ringing phase. On some devices this can protect the application from being killed by memory managers - which is a common cause why the app is not able to block some calls. If the status bar icon is disturbing for you, switch it off in the Advanced section here below.
- Status Bar Icon
- As a side effect of switching the app service as Foreground Process you will permanently see the app icon in status bar and notification about enabled protection will pop-up. If this is disturbing for you, just switch the displaying of the status bar icon off (or on) here.
- Use PHONE_STATE Receiver
- This is the first of the system receivers we use to catch the system process of establishing a call. If you have overall problems with call not being checked by our application please switch this item on. If the problem persists, please read more info at Problems with blocking devices on Android
- Use NEW_OUTGOING_CALL Receiver
- This system receivers is used to catch the system process of outgoing call. For some devices if you have problems with catching the outgoing calls please switch this item on. If the problem persists, please read more info at Problems with blocking devices on Android
System permissions are displayed only on Android 6 and higher devices.
- Read Call Information
- When someone call you the application checks the respective phone number against our database. Without this permission we can't find out who is calling you.
- Read Contacts
- As written above, we take your stored contacts as your whitelist. Without this permission we don't know what phone numbers you consider to be safe.
- Allow System Overlays
- The application shows alerts in foreground of incoming call screen. Without this permission we can't make the alerts fully interactive.
In this section you can access additional information and export/import function. Protection statistics contains summary information of how many calls were checked and blocked, with figures for actual day/overall.
- How to Help Our Community opens page with hints how user can contribute to this project. If user selects one of the donation items, a GooglePlay page with donation will open.
- Online Manual opens the internet page with this manual.
- Report Issue : If some app problem requires the solution from out technical support, press this button and report screen will open. Write your name, check your e-mail address provided (or write it so we can contact you back) and write at least few words describing the problem (usually to state the exact number causing a problem will help). Reports with empty description will be deleted. The application logs will be added automatically.
- Export / Import shows screen for exporting and importing data. This section erves for the backup or restore of your app settings - please read the info on the screen.
Phone Number Details
This screen shows detailed information for selected phone number. Here you can find the overall number rating in the form of count of Positive/Neutral/Negative ratings and the category mostly used for this number (this information is stored off-line in the database of your mobile phone). You can also see how much positive/neutral/negative ratings the number received from community.
- Block helps you to create negative rating for this number for further blocking. To activate the blocking you have to enable blocking of negative rated numbers in the application Blocking screen.
- Rate shows the form for filling your new phone number rating - see below.
- Reviews loads and shows the community reviews for this number. This function requires internet access. If your own (personal) rating is presented, it is displayed automatically (all of them are stored in your phone) and EDIT button is presented for further edit of the your review.
- Call Button Click initiates calling to the number.
Phone Number Rating
Phone number rating is the base for the alert and blocking functionality. User can enter this form either from LOGS screen by clicking on number and from the phone call detail by pressing the RATE button, or from the RATINGS screen by adding a new rating. You can rate single number or a group of numbers using mask (where star letter * is used as a replacement of any number(s) from the end of the number - do not use the * on the beginning of it). You can create either POSITIVE or NEGATIVE rating, or adjust/delete existing rating. Your own positive rating will override the negative community rating and your own negative rating can override positive community rating (and also the basic rule that numbers in Contacts are taken as positive by default). Please always check this logic when creating new rating. We recommend to create the rating rule from the LOGS screen, which assures to have the number in the exact shape as it called you. Also you can create 2 ratings for the specific number with AND without the international country code, which helps if the number comes in different formats.
Single or Group of numbers
Phone Number Rating can be defined for single number or for group of numbers. Group can be defined using * char at the end of the number. For example 800* will define rating for all numbers starting with 800. The PICK CONTACT enables you to pick a number from the list of Contacts and create a rule for it.
Public or Private
By default the rating is submitted to our community database for benefit of other users. If you don't want to make the rating for the respective number public, select this to avoid of sending it to our database - in such case the rating will be stored in your mobile only. In such case you don't have to fill the Category and Comment, just select the Rating and press SAVE.
In the Alert displayed for the phone call you can find all required information for making the decision to accept the call or hang up.
- Contact shows name of the contact associated with phone number (if available).
- Number shows phone number the alert is displayed for.
- Rating shows one of positive, neutral, negative or unknown rating.
- Category shows the most used Category for the respective phone number
- Community shows the total statistic counts of positive, neutral and negative ratings from the community
Q: How to block phone number?
Create negative rating for the phone number and enable blocking of negative rated numbers. It can be done by 3 clicks : from LOGS screen select the respective call, press BLOCK button, click CANCEL and the private negative rating is created - check it then on the RATINGS screen.
Q: How to unblock phone number?
The reason why any number is blocked lies in one of the data sources - even the Community database marks it as negative, or your own negative rating is created. First check if there is some negative rating on the RATINGS screen for the number and delete it, then you can also create personal positive (or public) rating for it.
Q: Why blocking does not work for me?
Unfortunately there are some phone models where blocking does not work. Blocking of a phone call is not a default functionality supported by Android system and used workarounds can be sometimes broken by phone manufacturer when they use their own system enhancements. Sometimes it can happen that our application was not able to check a call for any reasons - mostly it was killed or postponed by some memory manager. When this happens, please check your phone applications and add our application to a list of protected apps in your system or in the respective memory manager - for more info see the Problems with blocking devices on Android
Q: Why the phone rings before blocking?
Depending on the speed of your phone hardware, software and the application settings it can happen that even a call that should be blocked will ring firstly and then it will be blocked. Check the application Settings first in the Advanced section and try to switch the application as foreground service. On the other hand one ring before blocking is usual for some devices.
Q: Why they still call even I'm blocking them?
Well, they don't know you use some blocking device. From the other side it seems the number called is just busy. Some robocallers can ignore this and will try to call again. Actually with the present versions of Android operating system it is not possible to play them some message to let them know you are not interested, if this changes in the future we will add this functionality.
Q: Can I protect my landline with Should I Answer?
Basically yes - you can re-direct the landline calls (or probably your provider can do it) to your mobile phone, where our app will check them. Or you can switch your landline to an internet-operating device if available for your country - any Android operating device can then have the Should I Answer app installed.
Q: How to update my local database?
Your local database is stored in your mobile phone along with the application, It contains just the numbers and statistics data for them, without user reviews. The database is checked (and updated if necessary) each time you connect to the internet. Version of the actual database can be seen on the ABOUT screen in the bottom-right corner (text db:xxx). When you click on this text, the database will start a force update - user is notified by starting and finishing message.
Q: Where can I find version for iPhone?
There is no version for iPhone yet. iPhone's operating system doesn't provide access to contacts, incoming or outgoing calls or some reliable way how to intercept or block calls. With such conditions the application could provide just manual phone info search - nearly same functionality as provided by our web pages. Due to this limitation there is very low priority to make any iPhone native app.
Protection is not running
In most of cases it's due some memory optimizer which force stop our app. Some devices (for example HUAWEI) contains preinstalled memory optimizer which tries to keep device as smooth as possible and kills any app as soon as possible. To keep our protection running please add our app to memory optimizer whitelist/protected apps list. It's recommended to enable foreground service in app settings. Foreground service should be more protected against termination, but it depends on used memory optimizer.HUAWEI users must add our app into Protected Apps.. List of protected apps can be accessed in Settings>Protected Apps or Phone Manager>Settings>Protected Apps.
This product may be used free of charge by individuals, non-profit organizations, commercial organizations, and government agencies, on single or multiple computers/systems for non-commercial and/or commercial uses. This product may be copied and/or distributed free of charge.
AS THIS PRODUCT IS FREE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PRODUCT, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED, THE PRODUCT IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION.
IN NO EVENT UNLESS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW OR AGREED TO IN WRITING WILL ANY COPYRIGHT HOLDER, OR ANY OTHER PARTY WHO MAY MODIFY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE THE PROGRAM AS PERMITTED BELOW, BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ANY GENERAL, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE PROGRAM, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO LOSS OF DATA OR DATA BEING RENDERED INACCURATE OR LOSSES SUSTAINED BY YOU OR THIRD PARTIES OR A FAILURE OF THE PROGRAM TO OPERATE WITH ANY OTHER PROGRAMS, EVEN IF SUCH HOLDER OR OTHER PARTY HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
Privacy matters but it can be confusing. Please read this explanation of our approach to privacy in our application.
Our app doesn't send your contact information to server.
History of Incoming and Outgoing Calls
In default, the app doesn't send any information about incoming or outgoing calls. Because information about incoming unknown calls can help us improve our service, you can enable sending of this information in the settings. Thank you for your help.
Displaying of Phone Number User Reviews
Displaying of user reviews for the respective number needs your permission to send respective phone number to server. This can't be done without your permission, so Permission dialog is displayed before start of reviews download.
Submitting of own phone number review
If you fill and send some phone number rating, you agree with publishing the phone number and all filled information on our website. We also store technical information about the request (time, IP and agent) for solving problems with illegal activity.
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