Call forwarding and voice mail are how we deal with calls when we’re caught up with something important. Of course, not all calls can just be forwarded to voice mail. Some are important enough to take during a meeting. Essential Calls is an Android app that lets calls from white listed contacts bring your phone out of silent mode and ring or vibrate, whichever you prefer. The app has a Lite version and a premium version. The Lite version lets you white list only two contacts (a bit too restrictive to be honest) while the premium version lets you add unlimited contacts and get SMS alerts for text messages sent by them.
Launch Essential Calls and add the contacts that are super important. It might be a good idea to let those contacts know that they should only get in touch with you in case of a real emergency so that the app serves its purpose as well as yours. Tap the plus button to add a contact from your phone book or just add a contact directly to the app. Tap Activate. You can now set the phone on silent or vibrate, whatever suits you when you don’t want to be disturbed.
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With the app active, an icon appears in the notification area with the silent or vibrate icon still visible. When you receive a call, the silent/vibrate icon disappears and your device either rings or vibrates to alert you. You can choose whether the app should vibrate or ring your device when a call from a white listed contact comes through. Tap the more button and select how you want to be alerted. You can also disable the app’s notification area icon.
The app is not meant to be kept active at all times so unless you’re in a situation where you need to selectively take phone calls, you should deactivate it. It’s worth mentioning that the app is not suitable for filtering out annoying calls. You should try a different app or contact your service provider if you want to block a number.
The app works well and has a nice interface but the two contact restriction is a bit too restricting, as stated earlier. Come Android L, one might wonder just how useful the app will be since there is a Do Not Disturb feature complete with white list functionality for both calls and text messages. This app might run its course sooner rather than later.