Today has been a heavy news day for Android due to the release of Android N as a developer preview. This is only the first developer preview and over the next few months, additional previews will be released before the final release becomes available, which currently looks set to be late summer. However, in spite of this being a first preview, there has been quite the list of new features being noted. Most of which are smaller features, but ones that do collectively result in a number of big changes. Another one of the smaller changes that is being noted today is the stronger implementation of blocking unwanted calls. In fact, it is fair to say that on Android N, the blocking of numbers is now a system-wide feature as Google has introduced the ability for blocked numbers to be understood by all apps and devices associated with the device’s account.
According to the details, any number which is blocked by any of the stock apps (Dialer, SMS or otherwise) will now be added to a system-wide list which can then be understood by other apps. The result of which will mean that any third-party app you have will also know that the incoming number is one that has been deemed ‘blocked’ by the system apps. This will also translate from calls to texts. So if a number is blocked by the Dialer, text-based apps will also understand and continue to block the number as well. Of course, this will rely on those third-party apps being updated so they can understand, but this will likely happen in due course. It is also worth briefly pointing out that it is only the stock apps that have permission to write to the system-wide list. So while third-party apps will be able to view and implement blocking based on the list, they will not be able to write to the list.
Another benefit of the implementation of this feature at the system level is that once a system app does block a number, the associated Google account will also know the information and can continue to block the number on any other device associated with the account as well. So if you change devices or perform a reset on your current device, the unwanted numbers will be known to the new device or reset device through the ‘Backup & Restore’ feature. At the even more fundamental level, integrated carrier apps will also be able to view the blocked list and potentially stop the use of these calls through any medium. Although, this will require action from the carriers as the current change just means they will ave access to the numbers.