When you buy an Android smartphone, you’re often tempted to download and play the latest games first. Before you delve into your device and get to the good stuff, you’ll want to set up voicemail on Android. While it’s a standard in most smartphones, you don’t have to rely on the factory option out of the box. Below, we show you how to set up voicemail on Android and explore alternatives to traditional voicemail services.
Voicemail on Android
Hundreds of Android devices from over a dozen brands are on sale at any given time throughout the year. When you factor in older handsets, the sheer number of smartphones on the platform is staggering. Regardless of the colors or design, if your smartphone has an active SIM card and a plan, you’ll want to set up voicemail.
Most smartphones provide two options; traditional voicemail and Visual Voicemail. Regular voicemail works as it would on a landline. You simply need to dial a number to access messages on your device. With visual voicemail, you can see messages as texts on an interface and visually select, read, and respond to any.
While voicemail is free on every smartphone, visual voicemail can come at an additional charge depending on your carrier and features. Setting up visual voicemail may vary from one device to another, but you can follow these steps to set up voicemail on Android the old-fashioned way.
How to Set Up Voicemail on Android
In most cases, your voicemail is already preconfigured by your carrier to a degree when you purchase a new handset. Unless it’s an unlocked device with a new sim card under the hood, you only need to take a few steps to set up voicemail. This typically works with smartphone carriers in the United States, including T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Cricket, and others.
1. Open the Phone App
Open the Phone app on your smartphone. You can do this by tapping Phone Icon or using the search bar to locate it in the app drawer.
2. Access Voicemail
With the phone app open, tap and hold down on the 1 key. You hear a message from the voicemail service after a few seconds.
3. Follow the Prompts
The process may vary, but you’ll still need to set up a PIN or password to check your voicemail. This is also where you can choose to set up a greeting or personal message for anyone calling your line. If you choose not to leave a message, they will hear your phone number when leaving a voicemail.
4. Hang Up and Confirm
If you are satisfied with your greeting and have set up a PIN passcode, hang up the phone to disconnect from the voicemail service.
You can access your new voicemail by pressing and holding the 1 key again to ensure it’s working properly. You can also adjust your notifications for voicemail through settings, as shown in the screenshot below.
Once you have set up voicemail on Android, you can retrieve voicemails in different ways. The key combinations and options could differ depending on your carrier. With that in mind, here are some common commands that come with basic voicemail plans.
You can save voicemail messages to listen to at a later time or to preserve an audio memory. Skipping through voicemails and deleting them are also options with number keys. So is the ability to forward voicemails to another mailbox.
Want to return a call directly from voicemail? That’s an option whenever you finish listening to a message, although you’ll need to go to a different area if you want to block someone.
Basic vs. Premium Voicemail
Some carriers offer different types of voicemail services. Be sure to check beforehand before you sign up or upgrade your phone’s voicemail plan. While it may not seem like a good idea to have an add-on included with your bill, premium voicemail can be helpful.
Verizon has a Voicemail to Text plan for the iPhone and a Premium Visual Voicemail tier. Both are $2.99, but double the amount of storage capacity from 20 to 40 messages. It can also extend the length of messages people can leave. Some even allow you to record separate greetings for specific callers.
T-Mobile has three voicemail options; standard, visual, and voicemail to text. They even allow you to check voicemail on a PC or send messages as emails. Their visual Voicemail package is also $2.99 after the free trial ends, and you may need a separate app for your smartphone.
If you’re interested in a premium or visual voicemail plan, check with your carrier to see what’s included in your smartphone package. When that isn’t an option, or you’re unhappy with your current voicemail setup, you can try a voicemail alternative for Android.
Voicemail Alternatives for Android
Visual voicemail alternatives can transcribe voicemails. Some have more features than others. One of the best voicemail apps for smartphones is called YouMail. It’s available for Android smartphones and iPhones with the same features you’ll find in carrier voicemail apps.
The difference is how the app performs and the range of features on the app. You can filter out spam voicemail messages in seconds and view them as voice-to-text. You can do this from a PC, tablet, or smartphone.
Another wonderful voicemail app for iOS and Android is Hullomail. It has a similar range of features and can handle robocalls and spam. It allows users to set up custom greetings and browse their voicemails visually while providing a level of call protection. It’s $2.99 a month after a free trial but isn’t as streamlined as Google Voice.
Google has dozens of services to extend the capabilities of smartphones. Google Voice is one that tends to get overlooked. Their app basically gives you an extra phone number in the cloud that’s tied to your Google account. You can back up calls and voicemails, have messages transcribed, and it’s incredibly easy to set up and use.
Whether you’re upgrading to a new device or purchasing your first Android handset, don’t forget to set up voicemail on Android. While the amount of messages you can store depends on your carrier and plan, you can generally extend storage and length through add-ons or third-party alternatives.