iphone + google voice = worth it?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by nsbane, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. nsbane macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2012
    Hi everyone,

    I just finished my stint in the Peace Corps, and will go home in about 5 days. I needed to buy a phone now that I'm back in America, and of course I ordered an iPhone 4S, with the new Virgin Mobile USA prepaid plan.

    I have a Google Voice number which I used to send and receive text messages to friends back home these 2 years from my computer. I'm considering still using the Google Voice number, but I have a few concerns:

    1) Battery life. With Google Voice you have to leave notifications on - I've heard this can drain your battery faster. Is this true?

    2) Overall integration. I've heard GV integration with the iPhone is pretty sucky compared to integration in Android. True?

    3) Has anyone used Google Voice with the iPhone? How do you like it?

    The advantages are pretty clear - I will be getting a 300 minute plan, and each minute is precious. Checking your voice mail uses up minutes, but if I have Google Voice I don't need to. Unlimited texting is also a plus, but then, Virgin Mobile offers unlimited texting anyway, so that's a wash.

    I'm also looking to make free outgoing & incoming wifi calls, as I'll be going to grad school at a school with excellent campus-wide wifi. Most services require Google Voice...

    Anyway hoping to hear from all you experts out there. Thanks!

  2. serenemind macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2011

    Just checking if you are aware of the fact that calls made through Google Voice do count towards your cellphone plan minutes even when in a wi-fi area.

    The only option I know where you can use google voice without using your cellphone carrier plan minutes is using it in combination with Groove IP, which is not available on iOS.

    I will let the experts speak of other alternatives on iOS.
  3. iceterminal macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2008
    Dallas Tx.
    I use GV on my phone, but ONLY for text messaging. This uses the data connection, not voice. If you intend to use GV for its voice function it will use your normal cellular connection, and thus your minutes.

    As for using it with notifications. I leave mine all the time. I only charge my phone at night while I sleep. When the day is done I have a normal 40-60% of battery left. Sometimes more or less depending upon my usage.
    So the notifications really don't affect it much. Unless you cannot charge often.

    Integration: It goes without saying that Google will integrate something better with another Google product. No different than what Apple does with their products. So its like saying water is wet. Of course it is, its expected.

    I have used the voice side of GV before and really don't notice much difference between that and normal cell phone usage. Maybe a very slight lag at times, but it wasn't a big deal.

    GV is a great app for texting, almost as good as iMessage for me and family/friends.
    I say you'll enjoy it thoroughly.
  4. nsbane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2012
    Yeah, I'm aware. So far I've figured out how to make free outgoing wifi calls with an app called Vonage. The call quality is so-so, but it's also free. I've made calls with my iPod touch using it.

    The app requires Google Voice to work; that's what I meant when I'll need GV for free wifi calls. I'm assuming any other app I can get to make/receive free calls will also require Google Voice.
  5. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Calls made via Google Voice still use your plan minutes unless you use a VOIP app like Talkatone.

    Notifications for incoming Google Voice text messages come in via Push Notifications, so battery impact is virtually none. Do note that right now, only SMS is supported via GV. MMS is not yet supported.

    The dialer integration is much better on Android than on iOS. GV will hook in to the native dialer on Android and can integrate into the voice mail system as well. Dialing on iOS requires use of the GV app. Not that big of a deal, but it's more seamless on Android.

    The GV app on Android can also replace the native SMS app on Android. Changing default apps in iOS isn't possible.

    Bottom line is that Google Voice works well on iOS, but integrates better on Android.

    My two cents - sound quality for calls coming from/to GV is terrible, so be aware there is some impact. Sprint can combine your mobile and GV number to the the same, so not sure if it impacts sound quality, but on other carriers (I've tried at&t and vzw) it's not so good.
  6. takeshi74, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Not that I've noticed but I haven't done any extensive testing with and without GV. I'm using GV no matter what so it really doesn't matter to me. The "notification drain your battery" bit sounds like something parroted by those that don't understand causal versus coincidental. Push notifications won't have much impact on battery life. Yes, they'll use more than no notifications but it's oversimplification to think that your battery will die if you use notifications. If you're worried about battery life there are bigger fish to fry.

    Compared to Android it isn't integrated as well. Does that matter? Depends on the needs/wants of the individual. If you're willing to JB there are solutions on Cydia that will allow you to text and call via GV using the stock apps. I use them and I'd highly recommend them as it does bring it all closer to the Android experience. If these aren't an option for you then you'll have to rely on the GV app for messaging and calls via GV.

    All covered above. Not as well integrated as it is with Android but works for me. As with any subjective matter (worth is always highly subjective no matter what the topic), YMMV.
  7. rmhop81 macrumors 68020


    Apr 4, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    it sounds good in theory, but unless you use the google voice app for everything it can be a big pain. i like the default messaging app in iOS so using the google voice one is just not the same.

    You can check out an app called Talkatone like mentioned above. Free VOIP calling using your google voice number.

    Random annoyances.....
    if someone calls you and you forward the calls on your phone and just want to quickly call someone back after a missed call from the phone app bc that's what you are used to....it will show on their caller ID as your random number from Virgin. So every time you will have to remember to call people back using your google voice app if that makes sense. The integration in Android is tons better as you can set your phone to make calls using google voice and don't have to worry about calling through the actual app.
  8. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    I use Google Voice as a land line. I don't think it's very practical for making calls on your cell phone.
  9. B.A.T macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2009
    GV + Talkatone works great. I have an iPhone that has no cell service and it works great when ever you have wifi (which for me is all day long). Not ideal for most but might work for you and it is free.
  10. Caliber26 macrumors 68000


    Sep 25, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    If he's been using his Google Voice number for quite some time, and wants to keep it seamless for his friends and family, his best bet is to add all of his contacts to the iPhone, using the alternate number that Google Voice assigns for each of those contacts. This will allow him to call and text from the native iOS apps and it will always come up as his Google Voice number for whoever he calls/texts. He just needs to have his calls and texts forwarded to his Virgin Mobile number.
  11. MACis122 macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
  12. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Talkatone is free probably only as long as gmail calling is free (or 20$ a year ad-free). As soon as gmail calling stops being free, talkatone will probably be costly.

    On the other hand, most providers are giving unlimited minutes nowadays so VOIP isn't needed as much anymore.
  13. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    What makes it more suited for land lines in your opinion? There's no GV app for land line phones, for example, and you'd have to dial your GV number from a land line to dial out using your GV number.

    My GV number is all I have been using for years on my cell. It's very practical IMO but that's a subjective matter and YMMV.

    I haven't been paying attention (it's fairly seamless for me since I'm JB'ed and using the GV extensions) but IIRC the assigned numbers were replaced with rolling numbers several years ago.
  14. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    I use it as a landline on my PC at home when I need to dial out for work. (I sometimes work from home and we don't have a real landline). Otherwise, I just use my regular cell #.
  15. articulatefool macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2012
    I am 100% Google voice user. I don't even remember my actual number as I bounce between prepaid accounts as necessary.

    If you jailbreak the iPhone (I use a 4S), you can get full GV integration with 2 apps ($2.99 each).
    Phone GV Extension
    SMS GV Extension

    This way you never have to worry about operating everything through the ugly GV app.
  16. gaanee macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2011
    How about if you turn on airplane mode and then connect to wifi for google voice, will that work? This shouldn't take up any minutes.
    Just wondering, why does using google voice on iphone consumes your cell phone minutes? That goes against the idea of having google voice in the first place.
  17. articulatefool macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2012

    I believe you severely misunderstand the use of Google Voice.

    That link will help you understand what GV is meant to do. It is not a VOIP solution. It is more-or-less a way to group phone numbers and to reap some neat features in the process.

    In my case, I change numbers about twice a year or more due to changing carriers; however, I never have to notify anybody of a changed number.
    Insanely handy for job applications, etc...
  18. rmhop81 macrumors 68020


    Apr 4, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    i know how that works man. the point is you have to go in and save the alternate number for every single contact. have 500 contacts? you see the point.

    it's not as good as peeps make it out to be.

    Also if you get a missed call from someone you have to manually go in and call them back on their alternate number for your google voice number to show up. You can't just look up missed calls and click return call...if you do it will show the number of your actual iphone.
  19. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Google Voice + Jailbreak + GV Extensions is the way to go.

    You can set the Phone extension to dial out from either number depending on whom you are calling, if you want to. I have the selection menu pop up when I make a call and choose between GV Direct or Carrier. This added step also keeps me from butt-dialing people.

    If you use the SMS GV Extension, you can set all of your texts to come and go through Google Voice. So, you can also text from a browser, and, all of your texts are saved at the Google Voice website.

    Also, being jailbroken you can use a more robust texting app such as BiteSMS.

    As others have said, you can set up Talkatone to make calls if you want. I make a lot of calls from home using GV but just use my landline for that. Also, my GV rings both iPhone and landline, so I can cut down on iPhone usage by answering the landline.
  20. Che Castro macrumors 603

    May 21, 2009
    Jailbreak your iohone

    From cydia get

    SMs gv extension & bitesms

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