How to set up Google Voice on your smartphone

Using Google Voice to add a second phone number to your mobile device is an excellent way to shield your private information from criminals, hackers, and online troublemakers and protect your privacy. Just as you wouldn’t give out your landline number to just anyone, you don’t have to hand over your mobile number to every app, mailing list, social network, or new person, either. Just use Google Voice. Here’s how to set it up.

Please note: When you place a Google Voice call from your mobile device, you might see a phone number that is neither your Google Voice number nor the call recipient’s number. These numbers are used to send all Voice calls. The person you’re calling will still see your Google Voice number. Such access number-based calls use the standard minutes from your cell phone plan and may incur costs if you’re traveling internationally.

What is Google Voice?

Google Voice gives you a separate Google Voice phone number you can use to forward  incoming calls to any phone you like — your landline, smartphone, or any other phone, up to a total of six different phones. When you use Google Voice, you can choose a different area code from your local one, which affords further protection from anyone trying to find your address or geographical region.

Google Voice uses your Google account to give you a different public-facing phone number for calling, text messaging, and voicemail for your smartphone or computer. You choose your own number as a second phone number that links to your actual personal number. You can set up the app to forward calls, text messages, and voicemail with full backup. The app even offers advanced voicemail transcriptions that you can read in the app or have sent to your email and lets you call international destinations at competitive rates without extra charges. It will even sync across devices while you’re on the go and manage your messages. Google Voice also filters out spam and can block any numbers you choose.

However, it does have some limitations. Google Voice only works with U.S. Google accounts and some G Suite accounts, and text messaging is also not supported everywhere. Also, there may be some variations in this sequence depending on when you decide to enter information, if you change your mind about phone numbers or other preferences, or if you set up an existing account on a new phone.

Set up Google Voice on iPhone

  • If you don’t have the Google Voice app, download it from the App Store.
  • Launch the app, and when Google recognizes your account, tap Continue as [Your Name].
  • Tap Accept to the terms and conditions.
  • Tap Search to choose a Google Voice number by city or area code.
  • Select the number you want from the list.
  • Agree to verify your existing phone number by tapping Next.
  • Enter your phone number and tap Send Code.
  • Enter the text code you received.
  • You will get a message that your account is ready to use.
  • Google then alerts you that it has added your account.
  • Google asks permission to access your contacts. Tap OK.
  • Google asks permission to send notifications. Tap Allow.
  • Google sends an alert that all calls made from Google Voice will show up in the app.

Set up Google Voice on Android

  • If you don’t have the Google Voice app, download and install it from the Google Play Store.
  • The app may or may not ask you to choose or sign in to your Google account.
  • Tap Search to select a Google Voice phone number. Select the number that you want your contacts to see when you call them. You can search by city or area code.
  • Tap Select when you choose your number, and then tap Next to confirm the phone number you selected.
  • Google Voice confirms the number you chose, and if it all looks OK, then tap Accept Number.
  • You will be asked to add a number; if you haven’t added your mobile phone number to your Google account, do so and click Send Code.
  • An alert asks permission for Google Voice to access your contacts. Tap Allow.
  • A list of your contacts pops up.
  • You are now ready to use your new Google Voice phone number.

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