FIRST: Sign in to your personal gmail/google account. If you don’t already have a personal gmail account, you can sign up for one at gmail.com
Once you have a Google account, there are a few different methods to use Google Voice, but the iPhone and Android apps are hands-down the easiest ways.
- Download the Google Voice app from either the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
- When the app launches, click on “Sign in” at the bottom of the screen, then tap continue when it asks if you want “VoiceApp” to use google.com to sign in.
- It will prompt you to login with you Google account. It may also ask for additional verifications to verify that it’s really your account. It may also ask you to accept the terms and conditions.
- It may ask if you want to allow Voice to access your contacts. I would suggest No if you only plan to use this in the short term, but it wouldn’t hurt anything to say yes… it will just make the app a little more cluttered by pulling your existing Google contacts in, and if your Phone backsup contacts to Google it will pull all of them in, too.
- You’ll end up at a page that says “Choose A Google Voice Number.” On this page, click on “search” in the lower right hand corner. It will then ask you to pick a city (Knoxville, Sevierville, Clinton). There are no Maryville numbers available, so pick Knoxville.
- Next, it will present you with a list of phone numbers. Pick the one that speaks to you J
- After you pick a number, it will walk you through a series of steps to verify Google phone number and link it to an existing phone number. It will ask you to configure settings and decide how you want the Google Voice phone number to work. Because I have my number set up already, it won’t let me repeat the setup steps on my account so I can’t give you the play by play, but it will prompt you for anything it needs to know to work. Some of the options will likely be whether you want to forward Google Voice calls to a different phone or if you want them to only be answerable in the Google Voice app. This option is up to you. It may also ask about how you want to set up voicemail. Again, select these options based on your preferences.
- For me, I set up a Google Voice number that forwards to my cell phone. So if someone calls my Voice number, my phone rings. If you don’t do this, it will come to the app instead of your phone, so instead of the phone ringing you should get a ringing notification from the app -- this may be the best way to get started with a Voice number.
- For my voicemail, I set messages to forward to my email. That way, whenever I get a voicemail, I also get an email notification that has a transcript of the voicemail, as well as a link to replay the voicemail audio. I’ve also set mine to send me email alerts when I miss a call. If you want to change any of these at any time, you can open the Google Voice App and go to Settings.
- Now, you can send and receive calls and text messages from your new phone number! If you have any trouble, let me know and I can try to walk you through it.