Visual Voicemail for iPhone with Google Voice

I got an iPhone recently and I noticed a lot of users raving about the visual voicemail functionality. If you’re on a prepaid carrier like I am (net10/Straight Talk), you don’t get this functionality. Luckily we can fake it with Google Voice and conditional call forwarding.

I used to use Google Voice back when I had my Nexus S on Sprint and could do carrier integration. Sadly those days are passed, but I still kept my Google Voice number. I think I can still port my phone’s number over, but I’m not wildly excited about putting all my calling eggs in one basket, especially since Google Voice has been pretty abandoned for a while. It works great for voicemail though!

First make sure you have a Google Voice number tied to your account (mine ends in PHARTL which is pretty sweet). Then open up your phone app and dial the following numbers:

GSM Carriers:


Where 5555555555 is your 10 digit Google Voice phone number.

To deactivate, dial these numbers

GSM Carriers:


Now go into your Google Voice settings and enable do not disturb. This will automatically send all calls (which are automatically being forwarded by your phone if you don’t pick up or you are busy) to your Google Voice number’s voicemail. You can then go and find a Google Voice app on your phone to access your voicemails. They’re all… not great. Especially Google’s official app. Services like YouMail use this same idea, but I already have a Google Voice account and I like everything tied into one environment.

Honestly I think Google should highlight how to do this and push out a separate proper iOS7+ app that would be just a voicemail app. Or I wish they would give us a REST api so we could do what we want and improve on their service.

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