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TRAI DND App Finally Arrives on the App Store as Apple-TRAI Standoff Ends

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Signalling the end of the standoff between Apple and India’s telecom regulator, the TRAI DND app is finally available for download via Apple’s App Store. Like its Android counterpart, the TRAI DND app for iPhone lets users register for DND (Do Not Disturb) to stop pesky calls and text messages (at least on paper), modify their DND preferences, and even report offending calls or text messages.

In July this year, TRAI released regulations that would’ve required telcos to “derecognise” devices that didn’t permit functioning of a mobile app developed by the regulator (or an entity approved by the regulator) designed to let consumers change their communication settings and also report entities that violate them. In simple words, TRAI wanted to ban use of devices that didn’t allow installation and use of its DND app.

With the TRAI DND app already available on Android, this regulation threatened iPhone users with deactivation after six months, the deadline set by TRAI for telcos to implement the regulation.

With the release of the TRAI DND app on iPhone well before the January deadline, that threat of deactivation seems to have been staved off.

The resolution has been a long time coming. Apple doesn’t allow third-party apps to access call and messaging data, something TRAI wanted to develop the DND app. But new features in iOS 12 allowed developers to specifically develop such types of apps that let users report pesky calls and text messages. While there’s no official word from either party, TRAI’s DND app seems to have done just that, so it doesn’t have any special privileges.

TRAI DND iPhone app: How does it work?
After installing the TRAI DND app on your iPhone, you will be guided through three-step process to register for or modify your DND preferences, and start reporting offending text messages and calls by giving the app the necessary permission.

Once you’ve followed these steps, you can report pesky text messages straight from the Messages app. You will see the option to “Report Message” or “Report all Messages” at the bottom when viewing SMS from numbers not already in your Contacts.

Similarly, you can report telemarketing calls from within the Phone app. Just swipe from right to left on a number on a call listing under the Recents section of the Phone app and you will see the option to Report numbers in addition to the Delete option.

In both cases, details of your communication will be shared with TRAI via a toll-free text message.

When you activate the DND app (or any other SMS/ Call Report app for that matter), Apple warns that by “enabling this SMS/ Call reporting allows your device to send to the developer of this app information about your calls and text messages you choose to report. For received calls that you report, the developer will receive information about the call, such as the caller’s number and the time of the call.”

“For received text messages that you report, the developer will receive all the text, content and sender information. These messages may include verification codes from banks or other institutions, as well as other personal or sensitive information that may be in text messages,” the alert continues.

The TRAI DND app is available as a free download via the App Store.