Friday, November 06, 2009

Use Google Voice voicemail with iPhone

I'm a bit conflicted about this tip, for three two reasons:

1.  The iPhone Visual Voicemail is actually pretty good, and this tip bypasses it.

2.  This tip requires a Google Voice account, and the invitations are not always easy to get.

3.  This tip is imperfect.  So far, I can't find a way to use Google Voice and retain the call waiting feature.  But I will, and when I do I'll update this tip, so you should click the "Subscribe To TheMacCFO Posts" button to the right.

Call waiting is working.  Either my testing was flawed, or the feature did not activate immediately.  But it is now working properly.

With that in mind, here's how to use Google Voice with your iPhone and receive your voicemail transcribed in a text message or voicemail.

1.  Get an invitation.  Register at Google Voice or ask a Google Voice user for an invitation.  I'm out of invitations at the moment but hope to have more soon.

2.  Setup your account BUT DO NOT REQUEST A NEW GOOGLE NUMBER.  When prompted, tell Google you want to use your mobile phone number.

3.  Follow the instructions, which will include dialing a long string of characters on your phone.

That's it.

When a caller dials your iPhone:

1.  Your iPhone will ring if turned on, and you'll have an opportunity to answer it.
2.  If you do not answer it, the call will be forwarded to your Google Voice account.  Your message is fully configurable, as are a number of advanced call handling features beyond the scope of this post.
3.  The voicemail message is stored as an audio file.
4.  The voicemail message is transcribed into readable text.
5.  (Depending upon options selected), the audio file and text are emailed to you, and the text is sent to you via SMS.

For most messages, it is enough for me to see who called and what they wanted in general.  Perfect transcription isn't required.  When details are needed, I can listen to the voicemail with one click.

IF YOU TRY IT AND HATE IT... dial ##004# from your iPhone and you'll be back to normal.

There is no need to make ANY changes in the Settings panel of your iPhone.


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