How to stop Google from using your Plus profile as caller ID

How to stop Google from using your Plus profile as caller ID

Summary: Google will implement its "Smarter Caller ID" for Android phones early next year to show Google Plus names and profile photos. Here's how to turn it off.


If you have an Android phone registered with Google services, Google has matched your phone number to your Google Plus profile and plans to turn the association into yet another de-anonymizing tool.

Google Caller ID

All phones have caller ID. But in 2014, Google is extending caller identification on Android phones to access Google Plus profiles and show Plus profile pictures and names to anyone making or receiving calls on Android phones.

If you have registered a phone number with Google, it appears that you have already "opted in."

Much like with tying Plus "real name" profiles to Play Store and YouTube comments, Google is keen to remove the anonymity from making and receiving phone calls.

Google Plus profiles require people to use their real name, a policy that Google strongly enforces, even up to the point of having users send in government-issued ID. Users can then add a nickname or "other name" if it is within Google's strict "real name" guidelines. 

So when a random person calls you, they will see your Plus photo and your real name, thus making it easier to find your profile on Google Plus.

When you call people, you'll be able to see their photo and name as well.

Google's "Smarter Caller ID" comes as part of Android 4.4 KitKat, and you do not need to be in someone's address book for them to get your Plus name and profile pic when calls are made or received.

Google engineer Attila Bodis wrote,

Coming in early 2014, users who have verified their phone number and have discovery turned on will have their names and Google Profile photos display whenever they call you, or you call them (it’s great if a new friend who hasn’t been saved in your contacts yet calls you).

Check your Google Account to make sure you are happy with how you appear on caller ID by Google: []

People who prefer privacy and at-risk populations (such as women) probably won't think it's "great" if strangers can call their number and instantly get their name, photo and the social network to find them on.

If you don't want random callers to see what you look like, to know your real name or alias, or know how to find your profile on Google Plus, you won't want this change to take you by surprise.

If you don't want Google's [Plus] Smarter Caller ID, visit and un-check the box next to your phone number (or numbers).

stop google caller ID


There is currently no way to remove a phone number once it is registered with Google.

Topics: Google, Android, Mobile OS

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  • Better yet, dump your Google Plus account.

    I dumped my Google plus account and I am very very happy.
    • keeping up with the joneses

      yeah, it just keeps getting worse and worse on google+, I guess they gotta keep up with the competition (facebook) on violating your privacy...
    • and other big tech

      I've been trying to not get one. But Google tries to keep forcing me into one to be able to do various things. I'm sick of tech companies complete disregard for privacy. I recently dumped my FB account now that you can't set your profile to not be searchable. I like to have control over what information I share.
  • You are the `Android`!

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search

    Android commonly refers to:

    Android (robot), designed to resemble a human

    The word robot comes from the Czech robotnik, which means "slave." (

    Well with this said, it is obvious that Google knows how to treat and how it sees its consumers, ..., like SLAVES!
  • Would have purchased a Chromebook...

    I would already have purchased a Chromebook to use as a third computer is not for the fact that using it basically requires giving up your privacy and soul to Google. It's not worth it.
  • It was stunts like this

    That made me give up on Google services years ago.
  • Wow,

    How much negativity is here? I think this is good. Now those with an Android phone will not be able to give me the "Unknown Number" or "Private Number". How is that bad for me? Now I have more information in order to determine if I should actually answer the call or disregard it. Now if they would just do this for ALL phone numbers, I could completely ignore all telemarketing and robo-callers.
    • what's the big deal benched42

      Yes, benched42, privacy is bad. So are anonymity and freedom. After all, if you're not doing anything wrong, why would you worry if an authority monitored you? If you never post comments that the ruling elite dislike, why a need for anonymity? The elites only dislike speech that's hateful/mean-spirited/x-phobic/anti-Semetic, so why would anyone object to monitoring, censoring and punishing that speech? The $outhern Poverty Law Center & (a)DL tell us it's harmful and tolerance demands we not tolerate it. You'd only disagree if you were one one of the adjectives above.

      Mindless drone conformists like you devoid of critical thinking are every totalitarian's dream. Keep up the good work, you pathetic troll.
  • i though it was kinda cool

    My photo is on the work directory, my Facebook and dozens of other places. (Twitter, instagram etc) this isn't really any different. And it is kinda cool too.

    Least Google give you an opt out if you want it.
  • Caller ID on cell phones?

    Violet Blue wrote "All phones have caller ID." Ummm, no. Most cell phones do not transmit caller ID. Only the calling number is shown on my caller ID. A very few mobile services display the name of the caller (Metro PCS is evidently one such service). All land lines report caller ID unless the user blocks it.
  • you can use your google voice number

    i keep my real number very private and give out my google voice number to nosy cashiers who need a phone number to ring up my purchase. i gave google plus my google voice number and it verified. so there is that option too...
  • !!!

    Damn thing was switched on to share! I am careful to go through settings and uncheck all such settings so I suspect they have pulled a dirty trick here...

    This is the sort of thing which ended my short trial of facebook! If they think users will want to have their details so freely available they only have to email them all and ask them to opt in or am I being too dumb?
    dumb blonde
  • Sounds perfect for nerds who want to be able to robo dial all the numbers

    in their area code and get to see pics of single girls that come up. And criminals and psychos and other undesirables. Seriously though who in their right mind would not implement this as an opt in whitelist thing?
    Johnny Vegas
  • so much for adding a phone#

    Two tweaks would make this palatable:
    1. Display the data on recipient's phone when the Google+ user makes outgoing calls, with the ability to override per call.
    2. Set up fine tuning so you can decide which of your contacts you want to share the data with by default, so you don't have to override when dialing, including a "display if recipient is not known" option

    To forward that information to a caller just because they are dialing your number, with no verification that you know the caller, is enough that I won't be opting in for this. It is a robo-caller's dream - they won't have to wait for you to answer the phone to verify a "live" number, just wait for Google+ to send data to confirm it.
    • Phone Circles

      Since this is tied to a social network I bet eventually you will be able to choose which groups of friends see what. Circles already let's you hide specific stuff.
  • Usability Stupidity

    I don't care so much about the privacy issue...

    When someone calls me, I want to see the photo I assigned to them in my contact list so I recognize them, not the photo they chose. My Google+ photo is the Trillian logo; a friend of mine uses a picture of her pet rabbit, and you have to look really closely to make out the rabbit in the tiny picture. People change over time; if you haven't seen someone in real life for a while, you may not recognize them - so I use pictures of how they looked when I was with them.

    This is another place where letting the user choose which picture/avatar to display would be a nice gesture. All I need is a few friends with pet rabbits and I have no idea which one is calling me.
  • Simpler thought....

    Don't use Google Plus!
  • Enough Google

    Does anyone remember them automatically enrolling every Gmail user in "Buzz"? This strikes me as a similarly sleezy move. Ditto for forcing Picasa Web users to share only via Google+.

    The solution is - don't use Google+, or use it under a junk email that isn't associated with your phone.
  • If you don't want the NSA totally in your business

    Minimize your exposure to Google.
  • Creepy... yet useful

    On the one hand, this does feel a little creepy. On the other hand, it's useful. And, it's a little creepy if you don't want someone knowing it's you calling. You're basically trying to trick someone into talking to you when they don't want to. The only people I know that want to call anonymously are telemarketers, in-laws, crazy exes, and one really annoying acquaintance who nobody wants to talk to.