Talking on the phone while driving is definitely not advisable, and is even illegal in some parts of the world, but there are times when you just have to take this call or launch apps while behind the wheel of a car. The danger comes in handling the phone when you should have your hands on the steering wheel, and your attention on the road.
While we wait for a sturdier built-in system for iOS and Siri users, Android users may be able to find a solution with Auto Answer.
Auto Answer is a car-mode app, with a twist. Not only does it offer a driving interface with a quick one-touch dialing interface for up to 18 of your contacts, Auto Answer also lets you answer a phone call simply by whistling. No more reaching over to swipe your smartphone to accept the call.
Getting Started With Auto Answer
Auto Answer will run on any Android version above 2.3.3, so you shouldn’t have any problems with compatibility as long as you’re running a relatively recent Android smartphone. The first time you run the app, you will be bombarded with information on what to expect from Auto Answer.
It is recommended that you go through the displayed information to familiarize yourself with what the app can do.
Once you’re done, tap on the big green Go button at the bottom and you’ll be taken to the app itself.
The first thing you’ll see is a pop-up window asking you if you want to enable the whistle-to-answer feature, plus how long before the app silences the incoming call. Don’t worry about your choices here, as you can change them later.
There are more features in the main menu to further customize your usage.
Using auto Answer
Auto Answer is a pretty streamlined app designed to do one particular thing, but there’s still a reasonable number of options at your fingertips within the app. Here’s a quick run through Auto Answer’s main features.
Driving Mode Dialer
Auto Answer has two types of Driving Mode dialers: one that will give you one-touch access to up to 18 contacts, and another for up to 9 of your favourite applications.
To enable Driving Mode and access these dialers, tap on the icon to the right of the Driving Mode dialer text on the app’s main screen. This will bring the app into Driving Mode, and give you access to the dialers.
The first time you enter Driving Mode, the contacts dialer will offer to automatically add contacts to the dialer, based on your most frequently called contacts.
If you want to add contacts yourself, just tap on the Edit checkbox in the upper right to enable editing mode. In this mode, the circles will turn to gold, and you’ll be able to add or remove contacts as you see fit. The same applies to the app dialer.
The Force screen on option is there if you want the dialer to keep your smartphone’s screen on, for instance, if you’re waiting for an incoming call. There’s also an option in the Settings sceen to automatically enable Driving Mode when connected to a Bluetooth device.
Whistle To Answer
The main highlight of Auto Answer is the whistle-to-answer feature. To enable this feature, just tap on the switch to the right of Answer to incoming call by whistling on the app’s main screen. This will enable the whistle-to-answer functionality of the app.
Note that the app will also automatically enable your speakerphone if you answer a call by whistling.
To tweak the functionality of this feature, you’ll need to go into the Settings screen. Scroll down until you find the section that has to do with this whistle-to-answer feature:
Here, you can change the amount of time before your ringtone is silenced as well as choose between five levels of whistle detector sensitivity.
You can also set whether this functionality only activates during Driving Mode and whether to disable noise cancellation.
Automatic SMS Scheduling
Auto Answer can also be used to schedule and automatically send SMSes when you’re not available. Just tap on the switch to the right of the Schedule automatic SMS setting and you’ll be taken to the Schedule automatic SMS settings screen.
Here, you can define an end time for the automatic SMS function, choose recipients and the content of the SMS. The SMSes can be sent to all incoming calls, numbers in the contact list, numbers not in contact list or a specific contact.
You also have a number of choices for the text you want to send in these automatic SMSes, but note that the free version doesn’t let you edit these messages.
There’s also another automatic SMS-related options in the app’s main Settings screen. Here, you can enable an option to prompt you about enabling automatic SMS every time your smartphone is switched to silent mode.
Auto Answer isn’t the most feature-rich Android app you’ll find, but then it doesn’t have to be. It was designed to be a car-mode app with some additional hands-free functionality, and as far as that is concerned, it’s quite a capable app. The basic app is free, but there’s also a Pro version that removes ads and lets you edit the messages for the Automatic SMS feature, amongst others. There is one drawback though: it sucks if you can’t whistle.