Google Voice on iphone
May 21, 2011 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Google Voice on iphone? How well does it work for you?

I'm considering transitioning from my android to iphone 4 but I use Google Voice as my main number. How seamless or frustrating is GV on the iphone in May 2011? Which apps do you like to use? Is it easier to make or receive calls using GV, and/or texting? I'd love to hear from iphone users who use GV regularly.
posted by cardamom to Technology (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I use GV almost exclusively on my iPhone.

Pros - Free texting, texts and VM sent to my email inbox for when I'm away from my phone, missed call notification to inbox too. None of these are iPhone-specific though I guess.

Cons - When calling out you have to use the GV app or the GV webpage otherwise your AT&T phone number will show up on the recipient's caller ID. Why is this annoying? When you click on a phone number (from a map or a tweet or something) it tries to open the normal dialer. This isn't a problem for just calling for a pizza or something, who cares what number you call them from. But it is annoying sometimes. Likewise, here where I live sometimes the network gets bogged down. Since the GV app and the GV webpage both have to load something (why they can't cache it? I don't know...), occasionally it takes MINUTES of me waiting at the dialier screen waiting for the app to download the contact list or my VM inbox or something... This is borderline unusable but I still use it.

Overall? I use it, and continue to use it. It has it's issues and drives me nuts sometimes, but the free texting for me is worth it. The flaws I pointed out might not show up for you if your network isn't as clogged as mine is here.
posted by pwb503 at 7:02 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're jailbroken, you can use the GV extensions on Cydia to bypass all of the hassle inherent in the GV app or webpage. You can dial straight out using the dialer and it'll use Google Voice to make the call without needing to ringback. Caller ID will show you Google Voice number for SMS and calls. They cost six bucks total, but I'm quite happy with them.
posted by sun-el at 7:48 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just turn off my caller id for calling out. Incoming business calls are routed via google voice. The only problem is the "press one to answer" can be a pain but I like the transcribed voice messages and texts come through just fine.
posted by metahawk at 9:24 PM on May 21, 2011

metahawk: You can turn off the phone screening in the Google Voice settings.

pwb503: If you want to make calls via GV but avoid the GV app/site, you might check out the Calling Card app. Before there was a GV app, I setup my GV number in it so it would call, enter my pin, hit the option to dial out, then dials the number. Only bummer is you have to hit the pound button yourself, but otherwise it works pretty well. It doesn't use any internet at all but only uses the Google voice menu system. You may find it more usable than the real app.

OP: The biggest issue I have with GV is that there is a noticeable 1-2 second delay on all calls on my iPhone. I am not sure if this is an AT&T or Google issue. I do not notice this delay on other phones, or in the Gmail/Google Voice/Google Chat dialer ... thingy. (whatever they call it when you can call via Google Voice from Gmail)

The second biggest issue I have is that the Google Voice iOS app is utter crap. It locks up all the time. I'll be typing a text, it will "freeze" as I'm typing, the keyboard will disappear, and when I click to make the keyboard appear again, everything I had typed is deleted. If I try to open the app, it remains frozen on whatever screen I had it on previously for many seconds, usually crashing afterwards.

If Google Voice _phone_ is important to you, I probably would not get the iPhone. It's workable, and for me I use the phone so infrequently it usually doesn't bother me, but if you use it more often, I think you'll become quite frustrated.

If you just want it for texting, it works great. I have push email setup and push notifications in Google voice. I get the ding from the GV app when I get a new text, then I switch over to mail to reply. I only use the GV app for the push notifications, otherwise I avoid it like the plague.

Been a member of Google Voice since it was called Grand Central and independent. I love Google Voice, but it needs lots of work on the iPhone.
posted by icebourg at 10:15 PM on May 21, 2011

I moved across the country a year ago but I still have my east coast number. I have been using it for over a year now. Today was the first time a text or call was delayed getting to my phone.

It is fantastic.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:00 PM on May 21, 2011

I'm currently doing this, using a jailbroken phone and the GV extension. It works... okay. The extension is pretty good but not perfect, so sometimes (once every two weeks?) it get confused and hang, particularly if I've got a call coming in right while I'm dialing out or some such thing. And then upgrading the system on the phone is a bit of a pain, because I'll have to re-jailbreak etc. And there's the delay when making calls -- I don't an experience a delay during the conversation, but when I call out there are a few seconds while it's finding the network, and then I'm told there can be a second or two after the person answers before we can hear each other. (To be fair, I've had this issue on other phones too, particularly VOIP systems.)

On to the coolness: 1. free SMS (I use the GV sms extension, also through jailbreak, to allow me to use the native SMS app.) 2. When I'm on wifi, I can choose to use the Talkatone app instead of the native dialer; this gives me a seamless VOIP with pretty good sound (better than the cell I'd say) and uses no minutes. I can set Google Voice to call that app instead of my main phone for incoming calls if I choose, or only for particular callers; I have it set to do that for people with whom I'm liable to chat for long periods.

Final recommendation: it's fiddly and I'd only do it if you -like- fiddling.
posted by wyzewoman at 4:40 AM on May 22, 2011

I use both GV and my regular number. I think that the the non-Google gv app IS better than the google one, at least for now, and worth paying $2.99

Using GV slows me up a bit, and almost all my friends have both my numbers, so I'm not religious about it (I too originally started using it for the free texting). But it's really not bad, and I love my iPhone enough that it's worth it.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:13 AM on May 22, 2011

I use google voice primarily for the value prop of free texts. I use it to text a couple people I text / chat a lot. For other people I don't bother since they fit under my cap. The transcription almost never works but I occassionally take advantage of having computer / wifi access to my voicemail.

The official app is frustrating. I write software so I'm conscious of how over the top and unfair and uninformed much criticism is, and yet I can't help but think it's intentionally shit because of the platform. It appears to not use any sort of caching and it presumably runs all of its blocking network calls on the UI thread so that it locks up for long periods of time and won't display a text from yesterday because it's waiting for the network. Just total crap.

I haven't tried any of the third party apps.
posted by Wood at 9:07 AM on May 22, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, for the great answers! :-)
posted by cardamom at 9:51 AM on May 23, 2011

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