{Ask the Pixie}: Google Voice Q & A


Since I wrote about forwarding 2 Google Voice numbers to one cell phone almost nine months ago, it has become the most popular post of the IT Pixie blog.  I have received a lot of questions on getting the setup to work, as well as questions about the setup in general.  While I keep the post updated with new information I learned, I thought it would be helpful to have a FAQ post so you don't have to search through the comments to find answers to questions that might already been asked.

I will keep this post updated as well as I receive and answer more questions about Google Voice (GV), so please feel free to add your own questions in the comments.

Disclaimer: The following questions are sent to me via comments or emails by readers of this blog.  Most of the questions are copied & pasted "as is", and I only made changes to the selected few to correct grammatical/spelling errors, and/or to clarify what was asked.

Google Voice FAQs

  • Question: I have just signed up for a new Google Voice account, and chosen a new number to use as forwarding with my cellphone.   Can I keep my original phone number AS WELL AS my new Google Voice number?  If so, then how do i do this?
  • Question: I have 2 Google Voice numbers each from a separate e-mail account, one personal and work number. I want to connect both to my cell number... Please suggest the best way to do this.
  • Question: I have a Google Voice number that is my real cell phone number (I ported my cell number as a GV number).  Why can't I link a 2nd GV number to my cell phone?
  • Question: Does each Google Voice (GV) account need to have a unique email address in order to create a new GV number, as well as a unique phone number (not to be used for forwarding calls to)?
  • Question: How many GV accounts/numbers can be setup to forward to, to the same number?
  • Question: Can we create a large amount of GV numbers to forward to, to the same number if they’re marked Home or Work?
  • Question: Is there a limit to the number of GV accounts that can be created in a day?
  • Question: Let’s say I create 100 GV accounts/numbers, do I need 100 unique phone numbers where they will need to verify?
  • Question: Is there any fees associated with having multiple accounts?
  • Question: Can you create multiple GV numbers using one GV account?
  • Question: I have two google voice numbers set up to forward to my cell phone.  Is there any way for me to know which GV number is calling when I receive an incoming call?
  • Question: I don't understand this Google Voice thing at all. I was given a number by my employer, but there's no tutorial on how to set-up a number that's been given to me.
  • Question: I have 2 GV numbers linked to my cell phone.  Can I switch between the 2 GV numbers when I make calls with Google Voice?
  • Question: My Android prompts me to use either GV or my regular cell number when I make a call.  If you have 2 GV numbers forwarded to the same phone, do you get an option to choose which GV to use along with your phone's actual cell number?
  • Question: Is it possible to have voice messages and text messages forwarded to a cell phone, but not the phone call itself?
  • Question: I have 2 Google Voice numbers to 1 cell phone set up, and the GV numbers have separate voicemail greetings. When someone calls GV Number 1 and I don't answer, they get the GV Number 1 voicemail greeting. However when someone calls GV Number 2 and I don't answer, that person hears the GV Number 1 greeting as well... Any idea why? I have an Android phone and am using the native Google Voice app.
  • Question: Is there any way to have Google voice associate a voice mail message with the number instead of individual names? So that when friends/family call my cell phone number they get one message and when clients call my Google number they get a different message?
  • Question: Google Voice seems to have hijacked my call settings and no longer uses my ringer settings. I am using a ringer that I imported from another site into my phone. Is there any way to import ringers either from my phone or another site into Google Voice?
  • Question: Can I choose an international Google Voice number?
  • Question: Can I use an international phone number as my Google Voice Forward To number?
  • Question: Can I ever change my Google Voice number?
  • Question: I have a Google Voice number from Google, but now I want to port my cell number to my Google Voice account, can it be done?  And what will happen to my Google Voice number from Google?

See Also:

Google Voice Help
Link 2 Google Voice Numbers to One Phone

  • Isfaswench

    I just got a google voice number for my cell phone – it’s set up… but I want to be able to tell who is calling in on the Google Voice Number and who is calling in on my actual cell phone number. HELP??

    • If you have your Call Screening on (in your GV account, Settings –> Calls), when you answer a call that is someone calling your GV number, you will hear an announcement saying “Call from …. To accept, press 1…” This is how you can tell if that’s a GV number call, or if it’s a call to your actual cell phone number.

      And using the Caller ID (incoming) setting (below Call Screening), you can then tell who’s calling your GV number.

      Hope this help… Good luck and have fun with GV!

  • khan

    How can I dial a number from my any of my two Google voice numbers.Like how to switch from one to another GV number.

    • Please refer to the question ”
      I have my GV numbers set up to forward to my cell phone. Can I switch between the 2 GV numbers when I make calls with Google Voice?” for more information.

  • Nicki

    I have two GV accounts. Work account (GV1) and gmail account (GV2).
    GV2 (gmail account) used to just be a voice mailbox, but I had to upgrade the account to be able to link both GVs to my cell. I did this after I set up GV1. I am having some issue with getting the right voicemail to pick up. I want it to work like this. If you call my cell phone number (not a GV number) the GV2 picks up. When you call the GV1 number the GV1 voicemail picks up. I have GV1 set to screen calls. My problem is if both accounts are linked to my cell phone number GV1 always picks up, even if you call my cell phone direct and even if call forwarding is not turned out.

    I want friends to call my cell number and get my GV2 voicemail. I want clients to call my GV1 number and get the GV1 voicemail which is linked to a Google Apps email address.

    I have an iPhone that is set to forward all calls to the google voicemail number

    Thank you for all of your help that got my this far @itpixie:disqus!

    • First of all, you’re very welcome. Glad to hear you found the information useful! 🙂

      It sounds like somehow you have set your iPhone’s voicemail service to use GV1. You didn’t mentioned in your comment, but I assume if I called your GV2, I would get the GV2 voicemail. Is this correct?

      Is there a setting in iPhone to specify what voicemail service to use? (Sorry I don’t have iPhone so I don’t really know what settings are available…)

      One way you can try get everything to work the way you want to reset all the linked phone numbers and start over — and start linking your GV2 first. Follow these steps:

      1) Remove/delete your cell off the forward-to lists of both GV numbers. That should reset your cell’s voicemail service as well.

      2) Set up your GV2 (personal GV) first. This should then set your phone to use GV2 as your voicemail service. You might have to add your cell as “Mobile” first and click “Activate Google voicemail on this phone” to get that voicemail service connection going. Then change it back to “Work” or “Home” after the connection has been established to allow your cell to be used as the forward-to phone for GV1.

      3) Now set up your GV1 (work) with your cell phone. Add the phone as “Work” or “Home”.

      See if this works for you… And please let us know if you don’t mind. 🙂

  • munkymack

    Hey IT Pixie – There’s a possibility of forwarding your GV number to an international number. You just have to buy a DID number that can forward it on. I tried a bunch while I was in Europe and settled on one from keku.com. They had the best voice quality, and even had a walkthrough specifically for GV subscribers who wanted to do just that.