The days of dialing your voicemail to enter a PIN and listen to your messages are over. well you still can technically check your voicemail this way, but when visual voicemail is an option, why would you choose anything else?
When you use Visual Voicemail through an app or your carrier or manufacturer, you can see all of your voicemails at once. Sometimes you can even see a preview of the call transcript, so you know what the message is about before you even open it. Being able to see all of your voicemails makes it so much easier to keep 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 to use a proprietary visual voicemail app through your phone’s manufacturer or carrier, you’ll need to download a third-party app. While all of the options on this list are vetted and pretty impressive, here’s everything you’ll need to look for if you stray from the list and search on your own:
- Easy to use: The best visual voicemail apps are easy to navigate. Even if you only get a few voicemails each month, the app should be simple enough to use so you won’t be afraid to check your voicemail. An ideal user interface for a visual voicemail app will display everything you need to see on the home screen, so you can see your voicemails as soon as the app is opened. It will also make any other settings you want to access easy to find.
- Special features: There are quite a few special features that come with a visual voicemail app that you might not see if you use your phone’s built-in voicemail service. One feature that most visual voicemail apps have in common is the ability to transcribe voicemail audio to text, so you can quickly flip through a voicemail and pick out the important parts without having to listen to it. . Some voicemail apps, like Google Voice, also let you search past transcripts. You can also personalize your voicemail greeting and, depending on the app, even personalize greetings for individual people. Voicemail apps will also often incorporate some kind of spam blocking feature, but not always, so be sure to check if this is an important feature for you.
- Customer Support: Sometimes you’ll 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 not being transcribed correctly, you’ll want to make sure there’s great customer service on the other end of the app.
- Cost: Since there are great free options out there, you shouldn’t have to pay anything for a visual voicemail app. That said, some visual voicemail apps offer paid subscriptions that come 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 might be worth it.
What about visual voicemail through a phone provider or manufacturer?
Before you try visual voicemail apps, make sure your phone doesn’t have a built-in option for you. Through your phone carrier or manufacturer, you may already have this nifty feature on your phone waiting to be enabled.
Do a quick search on your phone for “Visual Voicemail” and see if there is already an app installed on your phone. If anything shows up, it’s from your phone manufacturer; the two largest manufacturers with integrated visual voicemail are Samsung and Apple. Setting up Visual Voicemail through your phone manufacturer is pretty straightforward, and you should be able to intuitively follow the on-screen steps.
If your phone doesn’t have a proprietary visual voicemail app built in, there is still the option of an app from your phone provider. Several phone companies have developed a visual voicemail app that you can download from the app store to use if you’re a customer. Here are some of the most popular options out there right now:
For all the apps listed above, there is no iOS version. This is likely because Apple has its own visual voicemail app that it wants people to use if they have an iPhone.
If you can’t find a visual voicemail app through your phone’s carrier or manufacturer, don’t worry! There are many other great options for you to check out.
Personalize Voicemail Greetings – Voxist
- ✓ It has a free version without ads.
- ✓ You can transcribe speech to text
- ✓ You can personalize greetings
- ✗ Additional transcripts require a subscription
- ✗ More than one personalized greeting requires a subscription
Voxist is the visual voicemail app for people who want a seamless transition from their old voicemail. When you first download the app, you’ll enter your existing phone number, create an account, and then simply follow the instructions to connect your phone number and finish setting up your new visual voicemail.
With a free plan from Voxist, you get 10 voicemails per month transcribed to text so you can read them instead of having to listen to the voicemail. You can also connect a single email account and set up a personalized greeting.
To get more out of Voxist, you can choose to pay for a monthly subscription. Voxist Premium ($4.99 per month) gives you 30 transcripts and five personalized greetings each month. Or, you can opt for Voxist Pro ($9.99 per month) to get 100 transcripts each month and unlimited personalized greetings for everyone in your contact list. Voxist Pro also allows you to read your voice messages in more than 70 different languages.
There is also no limit to the number of voice messages you can store on Voxist. Although there are only a certain number of transcripts available per month, you can receive and store as many voicemails as you like.
Great for blocking unwanted calls: YouMail
- ✓ Free version with everything you need
- ✓ Visual Voicemail + excellent spam call blocker
- ✓ free personalized greetings
- ✗ Free version is ad supported
- ✗ Removing robocall lists is a Plus plan feature only
Nowadays, it seems like robocalls and spam calls are much more prevalent, and it doesn’t seem to matter how many numbers you block because there are always more. YouMail is an app with two main purposes: visual voicemail and spam call blocking, and it’s a great option for those who constantly have to deal with both.
The app’s built-in call blocker updates every hour with new spam numbers to help recognize and block them if they call you. You can also manually block anyone else from your contacts if you need to, like an ex who won’t leave you alone or an insurance agent who can’t seem to understand that you no longer need their services.
The free ad-supported version of YouMail blocks the worst robocalls, marks calls as spam when recognized, transcribes your voice messages to text, and lets you record personalized greetings for everyone. You’ll only get access to self-service support in the free version, so if you think you could benefit from live chat and email support, you’ll need to upgrade to the Plus plan for $5.99 per month.
In addition to additional customer support, the Plus plan promises to block exhibit spam robocalls, send you transcripts by email or text if you request, and not show ads. This paid plan also helps detect unwanted calls as they are made and even sometimes plays “Number Disconnected” tones, causing your number to be removed from dial lists.
Good for a second number: Google Voice
- ✓ free to use
- ✓ Transcribe voice messages to text
- ✓ Ideal for international calls.
- ✗ You have to pay $20 to use your current number
If you want a second phone number to give out to retailers, service providers, or anyone other than family, Google Voice is the app for you. All you need is an existing Google account and you’re good to go. Once you set up your account, you’ll be able to create a unique number to use with Google Voice.
You can also use your existing phone number with the app, though transferring your existing phone number costs $20. Also, transferring 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 terminates your phone service once the port is complete.
Google Voice automatically transcribes your voicemail to text and even lets you listen to messages while they’re left. Calls, texts, and voicemails that go through your Google Voice number are backed up, so you can easily search your history.
You can also block annoying spam calls through the app if Google still doesn’t detect and block them. So if you’re planning to travel internationally anytime soon, Google Voice is also great for making cheap international calls.
As with many other Google services, you can use Google Voice on all platforms. This means you can primarily use Google Voice on your smartphone, but then also check your voicemails via a web browser on any computer.