Thursday, August 13, 2009

Using Google Voice when traveling internationally

When we visit the old country (Canada) I put my AT&T iPhone in airport mode. So no cell services and no data services. It will work in Canada, but even the voice charges are prohibitive.

So what do I do about for people calling my cell phone while I'm away? How should people from work get in touch with me?

Enter Google Voice.

I forwarded my iPhone number to my local Google Voice number (it's in iPhone settings under phone). In Google Voice turn off forwarding to the iPhone [1] and all other numbers.

Now calls to my mobile to go my GV voice mail. All messages are transcribed, and an email is sent to my Gmail account with the transcription and a link to the audio (which plays, interestingly, in the iPhone's video player -- weird, but it works).

So when I travel voice messages will reach me whenever my iPhone has WiFi services, which is usually a few times a day. Not bad.

When I cross into the US I just turn on the iPhone and turn off forwarding.

Now to see what happens if I try to may a GV call from Canada (I think it won't let me do this, but I'll give it a try).

[1] If you forget to do this, you can set up an infinite loop. GV forwards to the phone which forwards to GV. Ok, so I forgot. Turns out the phone rings for a while but GV eventually goes to voice mail (because you're not picking up the forwarding). If you turn off forwarding to the phone GV picks up incoming calls immediately.

Update 8/26/2013: A more sophisticated version of this.

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