My iPhone 4S With Google Voice Native. Sitting Here On My Desk.

Last week I wrote about how Google Voice junkies can, finally, use the service properly with the iPhone 4S (or any other iPhone Sprint sells). No quirky apps to download that can’t take over the address book or call log anyway. Nope. If you’re willing to live with a Sprint iPhone, you can have it use your Google Voice number natively. It just works perfectly.

Background – Google Voice has never worked properly with the iPhone because Apple didn’t want Google to take over that much control over the phone. But a Sprint deal with Google this year gives every Sprint user the option of either (1) using their Sprint number as a Google Voice number, or (2) replace their Sprint number with their existing Google Voice number.

Then Sprint got the iPhone deal and, BINGO, Google Voice just backdoored their way into the iPhone natively. The only way for Apple to stop this now would be to put a policy in place banning it.

But Apple will not create a policy banning Google Voice on Sprint iPhones.

Here’s what you see when you go through the process on Google Voice. I chose #2 because I want to keep using that Google Voice number. Clicked a button, verified the phone with a code and…bam. I got myself the purest idea of a Google Voice phone to date – one that needs no app whatsoever to work, and work perfectly.

Calls, voicemails and text messages all go through the normal iPhone native apps. And I’ll be using all of those all the time because with Sprint’s horrible data speeds (confirmed by me today, just awful), I won’t be doing much Internet stuff on this very pretty phone.

My next purchase will be a 3 watt cell phone booster, DIY converted to backpack form for portability. It won’t be pretty, but I’ll get a signal everywhere I go, right up until the day I die from brain cancer.

28 thoughts on “My iPhone 4S With Google Voice Native. Sitting Here On My Desk.

  1. John Best says:

    Can you also fry eggs with that booster?
    Interesting the GV came in via the Sprint partnership – I wonder if that can be the new model to subvert Apple’s ring fencing policies.

  2. Bill Barhydt says:

    I’m a big fan of Google Voice and have used it for a couple of years now. I’ve also ported it to the iPhone 4S running Sprint. While the iPhone4s/Sprint/GV mashup is great, it has made the one problem with Google Voice even worse for me.

    Google Voice still doesn’t support SMS short codes. We utilize short codes for mobile banking/money transfer at m-Via. I’m constantly forced to shut off Google voice via the web page to demo my product.

    The Android model of having a separate google voice app has one big advantage and that is the ability to revert back to the built in SMS app/carrier supplied phone number for sending text messages to/from short codes.

    You probably aren’t interested in short codes but for many consumers this is a big deal. I really hope Google fixes this.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      yep, it’s a problem. other issues with GV – mms (until now), and those free conference call phone numbers crap out. You won’t be able to call them from this sprint iphone at all.

    • Nathan says:

      Short codes work for me, but I kept my Sprint number and ported it to GV rather than porting my GV number to Sprint. Don’t know if this makes a difference or not, but I have no issues with short codes.

      My only issue is that very occasionally, texts will get “stopped up” and then hours or even days letter, spew forward. Only happens to or from a few numbers, but it’s a pain when it happens.

      And since GV has no real support, it’s exceptionally frustrating.

  3. Ravi Sheth says:

    So if I do this, I won’t need a texting plan? I could use google voice to send them? Sorry too tired to figure this on my own.

  4. Ravi Sheth says:

    You can send a text message from your Sprint mobile phone or from your online Google Voice account. Standard data and text messaging rates apply for all text messages sent from your mobile Sprint phone. You can send text messages for free from the Google Voice website.

    damn =(

  5. Is Google Voice providing MMS support for Sprint customers?

    • Wade says:

      If you’re using your Sprint number for the service, MMS works just fine for sending and receiving messages. Google is working on MMS inclusion for Google Voice number users now and should be available sometime soon.

  6. I also struggle with the round-trip audio delay on Google Voice. I end up talking over people because the packets are having to run through google servers.

    With ios5, I’m swapping numbers around, and will just abstract google to handle transcribing voicemails.

  7. Steven says:

    Other (slight) downsides that I’ve discovered through my same setup:

    1) Visual Voicemail is gone with GV so the native Voicemail app doesn’t do anything by call the inbox. You have to use Google’s app or te mobile interface to see your voicemails.

    2) FaceTime and iMessage won’t work with the GV number. It won’t even activate with the Sprint number either; it just returns an error. It’ll require the use of an email address. Great if you don’t want people knowing your number but unfortunate if people don’t recognize the email you use for caller ID (I have a variety of emails for different purposes, and some friends don’t have every address in their address book).

  8. Cequal says:

    Need a little help. I have a gv number and sprint number. If I decide to port my gv number to sprint does this mean my international calls will use my gv credit available instead of my sprint plan ?

  9. will says:

    Or, you could have just gotten any Android phone and had this years ago as I did.

  10. Very cool. Curious to see how this experiment pans out over the coming weeks – I’m in the same boat, toting around the original Nexus One + using GV, running on T-Mobile. But more and more, I’m coveting the iPhone. It’s encouraging to learn that the GV integration mostly seems to work as-designed, but discouraging to hear that you’re noticing slow data access speeds on Sprint’s network. I assume this is based on your experiences in the Seattle area (where I live also) so I’m very interested in hearing your ongoing impressions here…

  11. The lack of short code support is a real problem especially if you have poor data speeds. I have linked my AT&T number to Twitter and Facebook, so I can update my networks when out in the woods or at a crowded venue where speeds are slow or there is only Edge network.

    One workaround I found was http://ifttt.com. You can configure tasks using SMS. So, for instance, you could configure it to update your Twitter when you text a certain number. This will work with a GV number.

  12. I mostly care about Sprint reception and data speeds in SF. Anyone have an opinion on this?

  13. Can’t delete voicemails without an app. You can only mark them as read.

  14. Mike, we’d love to get you set up with a Wilson booster free of charge. We’ve been massive fans of Techcrunch since day one so we’ll consider this paying you back :)

    Anyway, we’re one of the largest online booster retailers so we’ll be happy to talk you through which one is right for your situation. Its important to get the right fit. Please shoot me an email at brendan at repeaterstore dt com

    Brendan
    Co-Founder RepeaterStore.com

  15. Hi. I just got an iPhone with Sprint a couple of weeks ago, but every time I try to do this same thing, I get an error and it can’t be done. Sprint says they can’t do it for me and now I am stuck. :( Any chance you know why sometimes it doesn’t work? I have tried different browsers, different computers, etc. No avail.

  16. alex says:

    I think the use of voice short codes is just going to boom over the next couple of years as companies try to do more to automate simple processes

    Voice Short Codes give customers a simple way to contact businesses‚ retailers‚ financial and utility services‚ and access competitions and voting systems directly from their mobile phone via SMS‚ MMS and‚ more recently‚ voice.

    Overall I think people prefer voice short codes especially when thay are short of time and just need a quick way to achieve a task.

    For more in VSC’s:

    http://www.inveroak.com/voice-short-codes.php

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