Should I Answer Manual

Introduction

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.

It is developed by company Mister Group s.r.o. If you have any questions about our product, terms or privacy policy, please write to us by email to support@shouldianswer.net

Installation

  • 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.
  • After installation, you must grant some permissions and change some system configurations to ensure proper functionality. Our 'Permissions Configuration' dialog will help you with it. Please pay attention to it.

Requirements & Recommendations

This application requires Android 4.1 or higher!

Requirements for devices with Android 6 or higher

  • You must allow access to Phone Contacts
  • You must allow access to Call Information
  • You must allow Draw over other Apps permission

Recommendations for devices with Android 7 or higher

  • Set our application as default "Phone app" to activate native call filtering! Why? Android 7 provides new call filtering API which can be used only by default "Phone App"!

Recommendations for devices with Android 4, 5 or 6

Our app must be running to properly filter incoming calls. We recommend to:
  • Enable our Accessibility Service
  • Disable Battery Optimisations
  • Exclude from Lock Screen Optimisations
You can find detailed description of requirements in the Permissions Configuration.

Features

  • Community based protection against unwanted phone calls by special Alerts
  • It works well even in places without an Internet connection
  • Daily updated Community Database.
  • Easy check of phone numbers ratings in your Phone Call History.
  • Easy access to read phone number users reviews or write your own review.
  • Optional automatic call blocking. (This function should not be compatible with all phone models due manufucaturers modifications of the system)

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 YOUR RATINGS tab serves for composing of your own rating for any number - can be public or private, these are always prior to community rating.
  • How the calls will be maintained and blocked can be configured in the SETTINGS 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 "YOUR 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.

User Interface

Log

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:

negative rating
neutral rating
positive rating
unknown rating

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)

Available Actions:

  • 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.

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.

Logs division:

  • 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 'Your Ratings' tab to add your own rating which will be used in alerts and blocking.

Some log lines can be marked with red text "Protection was not active!" or "Protection was not running". If this happens, please read the Protection is not active troubleshooting.

Your Ratings

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.

Available Actions:

  • 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 SETTINGS screen.

Settings

This section contains main application settings.

Notifications

'Protection is Active' Notification
Here you can easily enable/disable the 'Protection is Active' notification and the icon shown in the notification area. This notification is used by 'Foreground Service' (having our application set as Foreground service helps to keep the protection excluded from being killed by battery savers and memory managers).
By disabling this item you will get rid of the notification message and the notification icon, but this will also disable the 'Foreground Service' which can degrade the protection performance and some calls may pass unattended then.
Show after-call information
Here you can enable/disable displaying of phone number details after finishing the call.
Display Alert as Popup Window
If enabled, the custom alert window with rating information is displayed during incoming call ringing phase.
Create Alert as System Notification
If enabled, the system notification with phone number rating is created during ringing phase - this will be displayed in your phone notification area, not as a window message.
Notify Blocked Calls
Blocking works automatically without user's attention. You can also select if you want to be notified when any blocking occurs.
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.

Blocking

In this section you can configure which incoming/outgoing calls should be blocked. Remember, in the Your 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.

  • On the Community DB sensitivity bar you can select what level of protection according to the Community database you want. Just pick one of the levels from the bar (where default is 'Standard Protection') 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.
  • You can chose from 3 levels:
  • High Protection: with this level just one admin-approved review is enough to take the action - which can cause also a number to be blocked with one possibly false positive/negative rating
  • Standard Protection: this setting demands at least 3 admin-approved reviews to be existing in the database to take the action
  • Lower Protection: high number of admin-approved reviews must exist to take the action, which means not so many calls will be blocked (you can improve this by writing your own public reviews), but this reduces the chance of blocking numbers rated just once or with minimum ratings
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 help to avoid unnecessary blocking for e.g. calls rated just once.
  • 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.

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.

Advanced

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. If the internet connection is poor, please use the Web Search function instead.
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 to us, so we don't send 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.
Use pick and hang up to protect voice mail
If call is blocked, the caller can still leave message to your voice mail. 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. This is experimental feature which does not work on all phone devices because it uses some workarounds due to missing Android support. If you are experiencing some issues, then please don't use this feature.
Monitor Calls
If enabled, protection is active and calls are monitored according the below configuration. Disabling can be used if you need to temporarily disable the call monitoring and the application without uninstalling it.
Use PHONE_STATE listener
If enabled, application uses PHONE_STATE listener for calls monitoring.
Use PHONE_STATE Runtime Receiver
If enabled, application uses PHONE_STATE Runtime Receiver for calls monitoring
Use PHONE_STATE Receiver
This is the first of the system receivers we use to catch the system process for establishing a call. If you have overall problems with calls not being checked by our application please switch this item on.
Use NEW_OUTGOING_CALL Receiver
This system receiver 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.

About

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 serves for the backup or restore of your app settings - please read the info on the screen.
  • Terms and Privacy opens the internet page with terms of use and privacy policy of this product.

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.

Available Actions:

  • 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 your review. After using this button the button will be greyed - you have downloaded the reviews already. Then it stays grey and the reviews loaded and displayed until the phone/application is restarted.
  • 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.

Rating Alert

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 mostly used Category for the respective phone number
  • Community shows the total statistic counts of positive, neutral and negative ratings from the community
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.

Permissions Configuration

There are just a few permissions which must be granted to our app to keep the application running and to keep the protection fully working. This window provides easy way how to setup all required permissions.

Phone Contacts Permission (Android 6+)

Your Phone Contacts helps us to determine which calls are from 'unknown' sources. We also show phone contact names instead of phone numbers in 'Logs' tab and phone number details.

Call Info Permission (Android 6+)

We need to know what phone number is calling to you. Without this permission our app can't work.

Set Default Phone App (Android 7+)

Android 7 provides new way how to filter incoming calls. It is highly recommended to set our application as default 'Phone App' to get 100% protection against unwanted calls.

Draw Over Other Apps (Android 6+)

The application displays Alerts window during ringing phase. This can be done only with the 'Draw Over Other Apps' permission granted.

Accessibility Service (If not set as default phone app)

Enabling our Accessibility Service is very important to keep the protection active - most of the memory managers will keep such service running.

Disabling Background Optimizations

Most memory managers will try to kill any application on background if it seems not to be used actually - this will prevent our app from staying active. Disabling background optimizations for our app helps to keep the protection active.

Disabling Lock Screen Optimizations (Some Devices)

Most devices terminates unecessary apps every time you lock the screen. If your device has this feature, please add our application to the lock screen whitelist to keep the protection active.

FAQ

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 I don't see any Alerts?

This is probably due our application has been stopped by system or 3rd party app. First please try to reboot your mobile, after the restart check if our app is running and if it has got all the necessary permissions. Please read the Protection is not active troubleshooting.

Q: Why blocking does not work for me?

First please try to reboot your mobile, after the restart check if our app is running and if it has got all the necessary permissions. Please read the Call Blocking does not work troubleshooting.

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. Uninstalling unnecessary applications which are running on background can improve the reaction time. Sometime helps just restart the phone.

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: 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: 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.

Troubleshooting

Protection is not active

If you have device with Android 7+, then you should have set our app as default Phone App. Please check the Settings. If all is set (no advice screen is offered in the 'Permissions Configuration') then you can try to restart the phone. If the issue persists please contact our support.

If you have device with Android 4,5 or 6 you must keep our application running! How to Keep Protection Active is one of the biggest challenges due insufficient support in the Android System. In most cases our application must be running to be able to react when new incoming call happens.

Unfortunately almost all phone manufacturers implements own battery optimisers which terminates background applications. You must manually whitelist our app to keep application running. It differs across manufacturers and often it's more complicated as it should be.

We are doing our best to help you with this settings, so we have created special 'Permissions Configuration' which is accessible via application Settings screen - you will find a button at the bottom of it. We also prepared article with manufacturer specific details. Feel free to visit the How to solve the 'Application is Disabled' issue

Call Blocking does not work

If you have device with Android 7+, then you should have set our app as default Phone App. Please check the settings. If all is set (no advice screen is offered in the 'Permissions Configuration') then you can try to restart the phone. If the issue persists please contact our support.

If you have older device then please check the Protection is not active. If the protection is active, the problem can be in manufacturers Android modifications in your phone.

Android 4,5 or 6 does not support call blocking. The only way how to block call is to use little hacking and call internal methods of Telephone interface. These methods are used across all call blockers available in the Play Store.

Using of internal interfaces means it's not 100% guranteed that the function works correctly on your phone. Any phone manufacturer internal modification can broke or change the functionallity.

Terms Of Use

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 Policy

Privacy matters but it can be confusing. Please read this explanation of our approach to privacy in our application.

Phone Contacts

Our app doesn't send your contact information to server.

Anonymous Stats about Phone Calls

The app does not send any phone call information until you allow it. Anonymous stats about phone calls from 'numbers which are not in your Phone Contacts' are very useful for us. This stats helps us detect new sources of unwanted calls. Allowing sending stats you are helping to our community. Thank you!

Sending respective phone number in request for getting 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.

Using our web service

Some features like reviews download, database update, phone info search.. uses our web service. Our web service collects anonymous statistics about visitors and service usage. Please read privacy policy of our web service for detailed information.

Updates to this policy

We may update this privacy policy anytime to keep this description in sync with used technology.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about our product, terms or privacy policy, please write to us by email to support@shouldianswer.net

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