Software

Mobile Apps

personally tested


Call Ranger

Block Spam Callers once and forever!

Stop the Telephone Harassment!

Call Ranger blocks unwanted calls from marketing, robocall, debt collection and scam callers using a predefined blacklist. User-defined blocking rules are also possible.

Developer/Supplier

Konstantinos Papadakis

Purchase Date

13.04.2020

Purchase Price

1,09 EUR (one time only; no subscription!)

Rating

***** (five stars)

System Requirements

iOS 11.0 or higher!
Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Languages

German, English, French, Italian, Spanish

Support

By e-mail (English). Monthly update of the blocklist. The developer answered my e-mail (problem with version 3.0.0) in a friendly and competent manner and quickly published the bug-fixed version 3.0.1.
Last emailed an error documentation on 1 August 2021 when the app stopped blocking calls with update to vers. 4.14. Unfortunately, this time I did not get a quick response like before. Wasn't his style so far not to respond at all. And so far Call-Ranger had worked great!

Features

Call Ranger blocks unwanted calls using a predefined blacklist. User-defined blocking rules are also possible.

Individual telephone numbers as well as entire telephone number ranges or even countries can be blocked.

Call Ranger is not an ordinary app, but a user interface for Apple's system extension of the phone app! This is called Apple CallKit and was implemented with iOS version 10.0.

Setup

Before the big update to version 4.0.0, setting it up was very tricky because Apple had not made it easy for developers.
Presumably iOS 14.3 (14.5?) brought the big improvement for Apple CallKit, which now makes setting up Call Ranger a matter of minutes.
Unfortunately, I still haven't found any details on the Internet.

After first start of Call Ranger, activate the CallKit extension.
You find it in “Settings/Phone” in the submenu “Block & identify calls”.
Then select your call identification & blocking options in the app and get rid of annoying callers once and for all!

Blocking individual Phone Numbers

No longer exists in Call Ranger. Since iOS 14.x (?), annoying phone numbers can even be blocked without first being saved as spam in the address book:

Block dubious Numbers directly from the Caller List

  1. Calling up the caller list
  2. Tap the (i) to the far right of the phone number
  3. Tap the red text "Block caller" at the very bottom
  4. The security message appears: “You will not receive any calls, messages or FaceTime calls from the blocked person.” Block contact | Cancel
  5. Tap “Block contact” if you are sure, otherwise tap “Cancel”.

In the event of an accident (e.g. slipped in line, got the wrong contact), you can tap on “Unblock” immediately afterwards.
If you would like to unblock the contact later or simply view all blocks, you can do this via the settings menu:
Settings/Phone/Blocked Contacts/Add Contact. Search for names in the address book, select, done. While you're at it, add annoying insurance agents, colleagues, etc. When you are done, press Cancel at the top right. This takes you directly back to the “black list” without selecting a new candidate and also allows you to unblock by swiping the name to the left. Then “Unblock” appears to the right of the candidate, which you tap to confirm.

Test Environment

Whether the app's default database contains enough German spammers to be helpful for German users is something I cannot judge.

I have repeatedly been able to test the individual call blocking function successfully.
From version 4.14 onwards, Call Ranger blocked nothing at all, but since version 4.2.1 at the latest, Call Ranger blocks perfectly again.

Experimental Setup

  1. iPhone Xs with only an eSIM by Telefónica
  2. iPhone 11 Pro with an eSIM by Telefónica and a NanoSIM by Deutsche Telekom

For testing I have temporary deactivated the eSIM in my iPhone 11 Pro.
This way I could exclude the possibility that the expected busy signal is caused by unintentional dialling of one's own telephone number.
“Do not Disturb” was also deactivated.

Further Settings in the Phone App

After Setup (see above) on both iPhones, the app/phone extension was active and I could start:

  1. on the iPhone Xs, I stored my phone number by Deutsche Telekom as unwanted on a test basis
  2. with iPhone 11 Pro I simulated an unwanted caller who calls my iPhone Xs via Telekom number

As expected, the caller immediately received a busy signal.
I could repeat this as often as I wanted, it was no coincidence, but reproducible flawless function.

I also did the test in reverse and simulated the bad caller with the iPhone Xs – also flawlessly.

Practice

Friendly User Interface

The manual creation of call number blocks is simple and convenient, because after entering the area code and then the complete call number of the spammer, Call Ranger shows ten variants with call number ranges of varying degrees of restriction for selection.
Just tap on the desired selection and you're done!
(I will add an example here later)

Any dialogue with the user is simple and unambiguous.

Locking a Range of Numbers

Enter the country code of the phone number (e.g. „49“ for Germany), then the telephone number you want to block for range blocking (area code without zero!) and then select your preferred option for range locking (new: unlimited range number rules with 8-digit placeholders, the previous iOS restrictions have been removed).

Fortunately, I have rarely been bothered by unwanted callers for a few years now. It used to be quite different.

Pros

Cons

Conclusion

Although you will rarely open this app after setting it up once, as it is "only" a backend for Apple's phone extension "CallKit", the developer Konstantinos Papadakis has put a lot of emphasis on the user interface. This is a good thing, because the less often you use an app, the longer the learning curve.

Since version 4.21 (4.17?/4.18?) Call Ranger finally works properly again!

Call-Ranger is anyway the only really working call filter without a subscription, and it's cheap too, with a monthly update of the database..
Unfortunately, the developer had changed something in the code in version 4.14, which made the call filter useless..
Version 4.1.6 of 05.09.2021 only corrected the typos and translation errors I reported, which he described as “layout fixes”.

10.09.2022: Today I took the time and reinstalled Call Ranger. I am delighted that Call Ranger is finally working again! Thumbs up!

BTW: Apple does not check app submissions for functionality, but for harmlessness. That's why there are a lot of questionable app filters in the App Store with subscriptions and rip-offs that don't harm Apple's sales

Alternatives

None recommendable.


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Keyword list: Alternatives, Call Ranger, Conclusion, Cons, LAN, Mobile Apps, Pros

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