Gone are the days when you had to dial your voicemail to enter a PIN and check your messages. Well you still can technically Check your voicemail this way, but if visual voicemail is an option, why choose anything else?
If you use visual voicemail through an app or your phone provider or manufacturer, you can see all your voicemails at once. Sometimes you can even preview a transcript of the call so you know what the message is about before you even open it. Being able to see all your voicemails makes it a lot easier to manage your messages and not end up with 20 messages that you just couldn’t delete.
What to look for in a visual voicemail app
If you don’t have the option of using a proprietary visual voicemail app through your phone’s manufacturer or carrier, you’ll need to download a third-party app instead. While all of the options on this list are reviewed and pretty awesome, if you stray from the list and look for yourself, here’s everything you need to look for:
- User friendliness: The best visual voicemail apps are easy to navigate. Even if you only get a few voicemails each month, the app should be so easy to use that you won’t dread checking your voicemail. An ideal interface for a visual voicemail app puts everything you need to see on the home screen, so you can see your voicemails as soon as the app opens. It also makes any other settings you want to access easy to find.
- Special features: There are some special features that come with a visual voicemail app that you may not see when using your phone’s built-in voicemail service. One feature that most visual voicemail apps have in common is the ability to transcribe the audio of a voicemail into text, allowing you to quickly skim through a voicemail and pick out the important parts without having to listen to it. Some voicemail apps like Google Voice also allow you to search past transcripts. You can also customize your voicemail greeting and, depending on the app, even personalize greetings for individuals. Voicemail apps often include some sort of spam blocking feature as well, but not always, so be sure to check if this is an important feature for you.
- Customer service: Sometimes you get a voicemail with important information about a doctor’s appointment or job interview that you want to save. In case something goes wrong with the app — like all your voicemails getting deleted or they’re not being transcribed properly — you’ll want to make sure there’s great customer service on the other end of the app.
- Costs: Since there are some great free options, you shouldn’t have to pay anything for a visual voicemail app. However, some visual voicemail apps offer paid subscriptions with additional features. If you end up needing more transcribed voicemails than the free plan offers, more personalized greetings, or voicemails for more than one number, a paid subscription is worth it.
What about visual voicemail through a carrier or phone manufacturer?
Before you try visual voicemail apps, make sure your phone doesn’t already have a built-in option for you. Through your phone’s carrier or manufacturer, you may already have this nifty feature on your phone and just waiting to be activated.
On your phone, quickly search for “Visual Voicemail” and see if you already have an app installed on your phone. If anything comes up, it’s from your phone’s manufacturer; The two largest manufacturers with integrated visual voicemail are Samsung and Apple. Setting up Visual Voicemail through your phone’s manufacturer is fairly easy, and you should be able to follow the on-screen steps intuitively.
If your phone doesn’t have a built-in, proprietary visual voicemail app, there’s still the option of an app from your phone carrier. Several phone providers have developed a visual voicemail app that you as a customer can download from the App Store. Here are some of the most popular options right now:
- T Mobile (Android)
- AT&T (Android)
- Metro by T-Mobile (Android)
- Cricket (Android)
- Sprint (Android)
All the apps listed above do not have an iOS version. This is probably because Apple has its own visual voicemail app that they want people to use if they have an iPhone.
Don’t worry if you can’t find a visual voicemail app through your phone’s carrier or manufacturer! There are many other great options to try.
Personalize Voicemail Greetings: Voxist
- ✓ Has a free version with no ads
- ✓ Can convert speech to text
- ✓ You can personalize greetings
- ✗ Additional transcriptions require a subscription
- ✗ More than one personalized greeting requires a subscription
Voxist is the visual voicemail app of choice for people who want a seamless transition from their legacy voicemail. If you’re downloading the app for the first time, enter your existing phone number, create an account, then simply follow the prompts to connect your phone number and finish setting up your new visual voicemail.
With a free Voxist plan, you get 10 voicemails per month transcribed into text so you can read them instead of having to check the voicemail. You can also connect a single email account and set up a personalized greeting.
To get more out of Voxist, you can opt for a monthly subscription. Voxist Premium ($4.99 per month) gives you 30 transcriptions and five personalized greetings each month. Or you can jump for Voxist Pro ($9.99 per month) to get 100 transcriptions each month and unlimited personalized greetings for everyone on your contact list. With Voxist Pro you can also read your voicemails in over 70 different languages.
There is also no limit to the number of voicemails you can store in Voxist. Even if only a certain number of transcriptions are available per month, you can receive and save as many voicemails as you like.
Ideal for blocking spam calls: YouMail
- ✓ Free version with everything you need
- ✓ Visual voicemail + excellent spam call blocker
- ✓ Free personalized greetings
- ✗ The free version is ad-supported
- ✗ Getting removed from Robocaller lists is a Plus Plan feature only
These days robocalls and spam calls seem to be much more common and it doesn’t seem to matter how many numbers you block as it keeps increasing. An app with two main purposes – visual voicemail and spam call blocking – YouMail is an excellent choice for those who constantly have to deal with both.
The app’s built-in call blocker is updated with new spam numbers every hour to detect and block them when they call you. You can also manually block other people from your contacts if needed, e.g. An ex who won’t leave you alone, or an insurance agent who doesn’t seem to understand that you no longer need their services.
The free, ad-supported version of YouMail blocks the worst automated calls, marks calls as spam when they’re detected, transcribes your voicemails to text, and lets you record personalized greetings for everyone. You only have access to self-service support in the free version. So if you think you could benefit from live chat and email support, you need to upgrade to the Plus plan for $5.99 per month.
In addition to additional customer support, the Plus plan promises to block everything unwanted robocalls, email or text transcripts to you if you wish, and do not display ads. This paid plan also helps catch spam calls as they happen and sometimes even plays “disconnected number” tones, resulting in your number being removed from the dialing lists.
Good for a second number: Google Voice
- ✓ Free to use
- ✓ Transcribes voicemails to text
- ✓ Ideal for international calls
- ✗ You have to pay $20 to use your current number
If you’re looking to give retailers, service providers, or anyone other than family a second phone number, Google Voice is the app for you. All you need is an existing Google account and you’re good to go. Once you’ve set up your account, you can create a unique number to use with Google Voice.
You can also use your existing phone number with the app, although porting your existing phone number will cost $20. Also, porting your current phone number to Google Voice essentially means switching phone service providers. Google’s guide to porting an existing number states that your service provider will cancel your phone service after the porting is complete.
Google Voice automatically transcribes your voicemail into text and even lets you listen to messages as they’re left for you. Calls, texts, and voicemails made through your Google Voice number are backed up so you can easily search your history.
You can also block annoying spam callers from the app if they aren’t already detected and blocked by Google. If you plan to travel internationally in the near future, Google Voice is also great for making cheap international calls.
As with many other Google services, you can use Google Voice across platforms. This means you can use Google Voice primarily on your smartphone, but you can also check your voicemails using a web browser on any computer.
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