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How to screen calls with Google Assistant

Get rid of pesky scammers, robots, and telemarketers!
By

Published onMay 27, 2023

Are you tired of random spam calls, telemarketers, scammers, robocalls, or overall unwanted calls? Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate legit calls from undesired ones. This is why Google has included a feature for screening calls before you answer them. When enabled, Call Screen will allow Google Assistant to pick up your calls, then ask who’s calling and why. Users can then listen to the answers and decide whether to pick up or not.

Setting up Call Screen can be a bit confusing, so we’re doing our part by creating a comprehensive guide for you. Let’s get right to it.

QUICK ANSWER

To automatically screen calls with Google Assistant, go to Phone > More > Settings > Spam and Call Screen. Turn on See caller and spam ID. Go to Call Screen > Unknown call settings > Automatically screen. Decline robocalls. Google Assistant will then screen calls from numbers that aren't in your contacts.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Editor’s note: We’ve put together instructions in this guide using a Google Pixel 7 running Android 13. Steps may differ depending on your specific device and software version.

Does my Pixel phone support screen calling?

pixel 6a vs 7 vs 7 pro 1
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Call Screen works on all Pixel devices, starting from the first one all the way up to the Pixel 7 series and the Pixel 7a. Not every Pixel user will be able to enjoy the feature, though. Automatic call screening only works in the US. You can also manually screen calls with Google Assistant only in supported countries.

Countries where manual Call Screen is supported:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Spain
  • UK
  • US

How to set up screen calling on your Google Pixel

Stock photo of Phone by Google app on phone next to home phone agenda and pen 5
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’re using a Pixel phone and live in a supported region, it’s time to set up Call Screen. You’ll first have to decide how you want to use Call Screen. You can either activate it manually or have it answer calls automatically.

How to automatically screen calls on a Google Pixel:

If you want all unknown calls to be screened, you’ll have to set up automatic Call Screen. Remember that the feature will only activate call screening for unknown numbers or private calls. People in your contacts won’t be sent to Call Screen.

  1. Make sure the Phone app is updated to the latest version.
  2. Launch the Phone app.
  3. Hit the three-dot menu button.
  4. Go into Settings.
  5. Select Spam and Call Screen.
  6. Make sure to turn on See caller and spam ID.
  7. Hit Call Screen.
  8. Go to the Unknown call settings and pick which callers you want to screen.
  9. Pick Automatically screen. Decline robocalls under each type of caller.
  10. You can also choose to Save Call Screen audio.

After this, you’ll be notified when Google Assistant screens a call. It will read, “Screening an unknown call.” You can also choose to Answer or Decline.

Google is currently rolling out an updated set of controls for the Call Screening feature. You will no longer be able to pick what happens with specific unknown calls: Spam, Possibly faked numbers, First-time callers, and Private & hidden numbers. Instead, Google has reduced the options to three simpler ones. These are Basic, Medium, and Maximum.

Basic protection will decline numbers from known spam callers. Medium mode will reject spam calls and screen suspicious ones. Meanwhile, Maximum protection will screen all unknown numbers.

We will update this guide as soon as the feature rolls out to one of our devices. Learn more about these changes here.

How to manually use Call Screen

If you’d like to take control of call screening, you can opt to screen calls manually.

  1. Open the Phone app.
  2. Hit the three-dot menu button.
  3. Go into Settings.
  4. Select Call Screen.
  5. Follow the steps to set it up.
  6. Next time you get a call from an unknown number, you should see an option that says Screen call.
  7. Google Assistant will answer and start asking questions. You’ll get a live transcript of the answers.
  8. You can pick up the call, hang up, or ask additional suggested questions. These suggested questions include: “Is it urgent?,” “Report as spam,” “I’ll call you back,” and “I can’t understand.”
Google Assistant stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

How to access transcripts or save recordings from your screened calls

When you screen calls with Google Assistant, transcripts will be automatically saved. You can also opt to save these recordings, though. Here’s how!

  1. Launch the Phone app.
  2. Hit the three-dot menu button.
  3. Go into Settings.
  4. Select Spam and Call Screen.
  5. Hit Call Screen.
  6. During the setup, choose to Save Call Screen audio.
  7. Go back to the Phone app’s main page.
  8. Go into the Recents tab.
  9. Hit the screened call. It will have a Google Assistant logo next to it.
  10. Tap Transcript or Transcript and audio.
  11. You can also select History and go to See transcript.

How to change the assistant voice for screened calls

There aren’t many options, but you can change the Google Assistant Voice callers hear, if you prefer. Currently, you can pick between the female voice (which we all know and love), or the male voice.

  1. Launch the Phone app.
  2. Hit the three-dot menu button.
  3. Go into Settings.
  4. Select Spam and Call Screen.
  5. Hit Call Screen.
  6. Select Voice.
  7. Pick between Voice 1 or Voice 2.

FAQs

No. Only Pixel phones support the Screen Call feature, and only in a select set of markets.

Automatic call screening is available only in the US. Manual call screening is available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the US.

You can customize which types of calls Google Assistant screens. The one exception is that numbers in your contacts will not be screened.

Call Screen will use your carrier minutes, so keep that in mind if you don’t have unlimited minutes. It won’t use data or Wi-Fi, though.

Screen Call won’t automatically activate if you are using headphones, whether you’re connected physically or via Bluetooth.