When Google introduced the Call Screen feature with the Pixel 3, I had never been more excited to get a Pixel device. This AI feature provided real protection against rising spam and robocalls, which billions of people deal with each year. Well, a recent update has made this feature even better.
Call Screen initially worked by adding a third option to the usual answer and decline buttons that appear with incoming calls. If you pressed this "Call Screen" button, the call would be picked up by your Google Assistant, who would ask the person to identify themselves while you got a real-time transcription of what was spoken. But with the latest update, you can have the Assistant pick up automatically and truly screen your phone calls.
First, make sure Android itself is up to date by going to Settings –> System –> Advanced –> System update. Then, accept any updates that may be pending on the Phone app's Play Store page.
Now, open the Phone app on your Pixel 3 or newer, tap the three vertical dots in the top-right corner, and choose "Settings." Select "Spam and Call Screen" on the next page, then tap "Call Screen."
There are multiple options here to manage how Call Screen works on your phone. However, we will focus on the options under Unknown Call Settings.
Start by tapping Spam and set it to Silently decline. This will make your phone automatically reject known spam/telemarketer numbers.
Tap Possibly faked numbers next and choose Automatically screen. Decline robocalls. This one deals with the plague of robocallers who spoof real phone numbers. When set this way, your Google Assistant will answer such calls, then decline them if it hears a recording. If it's a real person, it will ask their name and why they're calling, then put them on hold while it connects the call.
Now, choose First-time callers. If you choose Automatically screen. Decline Robocalls. here, note that new contacts will be greeted by your Assistant the first time they call you. At the same time, this can really help with spam calls, so it's your choice whether to change it or leave it on the Ring phone (default) setting.
Finally, tap Private or hidden and set it to Automatically screen. Decline robocalls. This one's usually safe to chance since people who hide their outbound caller ID information are typically hiding something. Even if it is a legit call, the Assistant will still notify you as long as the caller stays on the line as directed.
While not necessary, the last thing I'd recommend is to enable the "Save Call Screen audio" toggle. This will save all the audio interactions between the caller and your Google Assistant when Call Screen is enabled, so you can review them and call back any person who hung up once they heard your Assistant (something that happens often since it sounds a bit like voicemail).
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