How to Change Your Voicemail Greeting on Google Voice

Google Voice has a powerful voicemail function that allows you to not only listen to missed calls, but also read transcriptions of what they say! Another neat feature of it is that you can customize the voicemail greeting that callers get – even for individual people or groups! This tutorial will go over how to change your Google Voice greeting to:

  • A standard greeting that uses your Google Voice number
  • A standard greeting that uses your recorded name
  • A custom standard greeting
  • A custom greeting for individual people who contact you
  • A custom greeting for people within a certain group who contact you

To change your standard Google Voice voicemail greeting:

1. Access your Google Voice account.

Open your preferred web browser and go to www.google.com/voice.

2. Find the main menu by clicking the “More Options” button.

You will be asked to log into your Google account, so go ahead and do that. Next, click the three bars in the top-left corner of the page to open Google Voice's main menu.

Google Voice main menu

3. Switch back to the older version of Google Voice in order to access the settings you need.

Next, click Legacy Google Voice to switch back to the old version of Google Voice.

Legacy Google Voice button

4. Access Google Voice settings to change your voicemail greeting.

Once you're in Legacy Google Voice, click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the page, and then click Settings.

Legacy Google Voice settings

5. Find the Voicemail options and click on it.

Next, click the Voicemail & Text tab.

Voicemail & Text tab
(Image source: Google Voice Help Forum – ChuckBaker)

From here, there are 3 standard greetings you can choose from: a greeting with your number, a greeting with your name, and a customized greeting. The procedure is different depending on what kind of standard greeting you want to use. Here is how to set up each option.

How to select a Google Voice standard voicemail greeting

Method One: Standard greeting with your Google Voice number:

  1. Simply click the drop-down menu next to "Voicemail Greeting" and select System Standard.

    Standard voicemail greeting
    (Image source: Google Voice Help Forum – ChuckBaker)
     

  2. Then, click Save Changes at the bottom of the screen.

    Save settings changes
    (Image source: Optimal Digital Marketing – Jeremy Sholz)

Method Two: Google Voice standard greeting with your name:

  1. First, next to the "Recorded Name" section, click Record New.

    Record name for voicemail greeting
    (Image source: Google Voice Help Forum – ChuckBaker)
     

  2. A box will pop up asking you which phone you want to record your name on. Click the drop-down menu and select one of the phone numbers linked to your Google Voice account, and then click Connect.

    Call linked number to record name
    (Image source: The Unofficial Google Voice Blog)
     

  3. Google will call the number you selected. Answer the call and follow the prompts to record your name. After you hang up, your voicemail greeting will automatically be switched to a standard greeting that uses your name instead of your number.

Method Three: Custom Google Voice standard greeting:

  1. Start by going to the "Voicemail Greeting" section and clicking Record New Greeting.

    Record new voicemail greeting
    (Image source: Google Voice Help Forum – ChuckBaker)
     

  2. A box will pop up asking you to name your greeting. Click in the field marked "Greeting Name" and type in a name for your greeting. Make sure the check box labelled "Make This My Default Greeting for Callers" is marked – if it isn't, click it to mark it – so that your greeting is automatically put into use when you're done recording it. Then click Continue.

    New custom voicemail greeting
    (Image source: The Unofficial Google Voice Blog)
     

  3. Next, you will be asked to select a phone to record your greeting on. Click the drop-down menu marked "Phone to Ring" and select a number linked to your Google Voice account. Then click Connect.

    Choose phone to record custom greeting
    (Image source: The Unofficial Google Voice Blog)
     

  4. Google will call you at the number you selected. Answer the call and follow the prompts to record your new greeting. When you hang up, your recording will be saved and will become your new default greeting.

That’s how you set up any of the three kinds of standard Google Voice voicemail greetings. Standard greetings are a simple way to have an active voicemail system that can keep track of missed calls. However, if you want to customize your voicemail a little more, then there are some ways you can do it.

You can create special voicemail greetings in Google Voice that will play when certain individuals call you, or when someone in a certain group of your contacts calls you. We’ll show you how in the instructions below.

To change your Google Voice voicemail greeting for specific people:

Whether you want to set up special voicemail for a specific contact or for contacts in a specific group, the first step is to go to www.google.com/voice and log into your account. Next, click the Main Menu button (the three bars) in the top-left corner of the page.

Google Voice main menu

Again, you need to switch back to the old version of Google Voice in order to make changes to your voicemail greetings, so click Legacy Google Voice.

Google Voice Legacy option

From here on out, the process will be different, depending on what you want to do.

First Method: Use a custom greeting for a specific person:

  1. Click Call History in the left-hand pane (if you're not already there). Then, click on the name of the person you want to create a custom voicemail greeting for.

    Select contact for custom voicemail
    (Image source: Lighton Phiri)
     

  2. Once you're on the contact's information page, scroll down to the section labelled "When This Contact Goes to Voicemail". Click the drop-down menu beneath this heading and select a greeting that you've created to use. Or, if you want to create a new greeting just for this person, click either Use Phone to Record a New Greeting or just Record New.

    Select custom greeting for individuals
    (Image source: YouTube – Doug Caldwell)
     

  3. If you opt for creating a new greeting, a box will appear asking you to give it a name. Click in the field marked "Greeting Name" and type in what you want to call your greeting. Then click Continue.

    Name custome greeting
    (Image source: The Unofficial Google Voice Blog)
     

  4. Now you will have to choose a phone linked to your Google Voice account to record your greeting on. Click the drop-down menu under "Phone to Ring" and select a phone for Google to call. Then click Connect.

    Choose phone to record greeting
    (Image source: The Unofficial Google Voice Blog)
     

  5. Answer the phone you chose when Google calls you, and then follow the prompts to record your greeting. When you hang up, your new greeting will automatically be saved for the person you chose. Now, all you have to do is click the "X" in the top-right corner of the pop-up box to close it, and then click Save at the bottom of the page to save your changes.

Second Method: Use a custom greeting for contacts in a specific group:

To change the voicemail greeting for a specific group of people, they need to be part of the same group in your contacts. If you haven’t already done this, see this help article from Google. Once you’ve got that set up, you’re ready to customize your Google Voice voicemail.

  1. First, click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the page, and then select Settings from the drop-down menu that appears.

    Legacy Google Voice settings
     

  2. Next, click the Groups & Circles tab. A list of your contact groups will appear; click Edit below the one that you want to change the voicemail greeting for.

    Select group for voicemail
    (Image source: The Unofficial Google Voice Blog)
     

  3. Scroll down to the section labelled "When People in This Group Go to Voicemail". Click the drop-down menu and select a pre-existing greeting to use, and then click Save. Or, if you want to use a new greeting that you'll make from scratch, click either Use Phone to Record a New Greeting or just Record New.

    Choose new group voicemail
    (Image source: The Unofficial Google Voice Blog)
     

  4. If you choose to record a new greeting, a box will pop up asking you to name it. Click in the field marked "Greeting Name" and type in a title for your new greeting. Then click Continue.

    Name custom greeting
    (Image source: The Unofficial Google Voice Blog)
     

  5. Now you will actually need to record your greeting, so you have to pick a phone to record it on. Click the drop-down menu under "Phone to Ring" and select a phone linked to your Google Voice account for Google to call. Then click Connect.

    Select phone for recording greeting
    (Image source: The Unofficial Google Voice Blog)
     

  6. Google will call the phone you chose. When they do, answer the call, and then follow the prompts to record your greeting. When you hang up, your new greeting will automatically be selected for the group. From here, simply click the "X" in the top-right corner of the pop-up box to close it, and then click Save at the bottom of the page.

 

Those are all of the different ways you can change your Google Voice greeting! Next, we'll cover how to turn your voicemail on Google Voice on or off for specific phones. This lets you forward voicemails to your Google Voice account or switch back to your phone's standard voicemail system as you see fit. 


How to Turn Google Voice Voicemail On or Off for a Phone

One of the neat features of Google Voice is that you can use it to check voicemail messages from all of the phone numbers that you link to it, including your mobile phone, work phone, and home landline phone. But sometimes, you’ll want to be able to check your voicemails without having to go to Google Voice, especially while on the go. Many iPhone users do, as they feel they have an easier time checking their voicemails using their phone’s built-in default voicemail system. As such, this lesson will show you how to enable or disable forwarding to your Google Voice voicemail for any particular phone that you’ve linked to your account.

To enable or disable call forwarding from your phone to your Google Voice voicemail:

1. Log into your Google Voice account.

Go to www.google.com/voice and log into your account.

2. Access the main menu.

Click the Main Menu button in the top-left corner of the main page.

Google Voice main menu

3. Switch to the legacy version of Google Voice.

Scroll to the bottom of the pane that appears and click Legacy Google Voice.

Legacy Google Voice button

4.  Go to your settings.

Click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the page, and then click Settings.

Legacy Google Voice settings

5. View your linked phone numbers and choose the one for which you want to switch voicemail systems.

Click the Phones tab, and then click Activate Voicemail below the phone that you want your voicemails transferred to Google Voice for.

Activate Google Voicemail for phone
(Image source: WhyWeWeb)

6. Call the specific voicemail transfer code for your telecom carrier.

A box will pop up with instructions on how to complete the transfer of your voicemail function from your phone’s default system to Google Voice.

Transfer voicemail to Google voice
(Image source: ZTE USA Z-Community)

First, make sure that the telecom company listed beside “Your Carrier” is the one that provides your mobile phone service. If it isn’t, click Change Carrier and select the correct service provider.

Next, turn on your phone and dial the number that appears in the blue box, exactly as it’s shown. Place a call through to this number, and you should be all set! Click Done when you’re finished.

If you want to switch the voicemail system for your device back from Google Voice to your carrier’s default one, start by repeating steps 1 through 4. Then, when you get to step 5, after clicking the Phones tab, click Deactivate Voicemail below the phone that you want to disconnect from Google Voice’s voicemail system. Just like in step 6, a box will appear asking you to select your telecom provider and call a special number. Just change the carrier indicated if yours is different, and then place a call to the number that appears. Voila! You’re done!

 

Alright! Now you know how to enable or disable the auto-forwarding of missed calls on your mobile device to your Google Voice voicemail system. If you were instead looking for a way to permanently disable Google Voice by erasing your number or cancelling your account, see our tutorial here.


How to Block a Number on Google Voice

Google Voice is, at heart, a telecom system. So, by using it, you are unfortunately still subject to being targeted by phone calls, text messages, and voicemails meant to spam, scam, or harass you. The good news is that there are some simple steps that you can take to cut down on the number of junk communications you receive on Google Voice.

This lesson will give you a crash course on them by showing you:

  • What actually happens when you block a number on Google Voice
  • How to turn Google Voice's built-in automated spam filter on or off
  • How to block communications from specific numbers on Google Voice

What happens when I block a number on Google Voice?

  • If you use Google Hangouts, the number will be blocked there, as well.
  • Existing call records, voicemails, and text messages from that number will be marked as "blocked" (i.e. "Blocked symbol").
  • When the number calls you, Google Voice will say that your number is not in service.
  • You will not receive text messages from that number.

To block numbers automatically by turning on Google Voice's built-in spam filter:

1. Log into your Google Voice account.

Navigate to www.google.com/voice in your web browser of choice, and then log into your account.

2. Open Google Voice's main menu.

Click the Main Menu icon (the three bars) in the top-left corner of the main page.

Google Voice main menu

3. Access your Google Voice settings.

Next, scroll down and click the Settings button.

Google Voice Settings menu

4. Select your "Security" settings, and then toggle the spam filter on or off.

In the "Settings" menu, scroll down and click Security. Then, beside "Filter Spam", click the toggle switch to turn it to the "on" position (as shown below).

Spam filter feature

5. If a legitimate number gets caught in the filter by accident, go to your "Spam" folder and remove it.

Calls, texts, and voicemails from numbers registered as spam in Google Voice's database will be sent to your "Spam" folder. If communications from a particular number end up there by mistake, however, there is a way around that. First, click the Main Menu button again, and then click Spam.

Google Voice spam folder

Once in your "Spam" folder, click the More button (the three dots) below a communication from a number that you want to unblock, and then click Remove from Spam (or People & Options first and then Remove from Spam).

To block a specific number in Google Voice:

1. Sign into your Google Voice account.

Use your web browser of choice to go to www.google.com/voice and log into your account there.

2. Open the folder for the communication type that contains the number you want to block.

Click the Messages, Calls, or Voicemail icon (the speech bubble, phone, or reel-to-reel tape, respectively) in the leftmost pane to display communications of that type you've received.

Messages, Calls, and Voicemail icons

3. Open the communication from the number you want to block, and then ask for more options.

Next, click on the communication from the number that you wish to block. Once it's open, click the More button (the three dots) in the top-right section of the details screen.

More options button
(Image source: Amir Ali Tayyab)

4. Choose to block the number.

When the "More Options" menu opens, click Block Number. Click Block in the box that pops up to confirm that you want to block this number.

Block Google Voice number
(Image source: Amir Ali Tayyab)

5. Repeat the process if you need to unblock the number.

If you want to remove the block on a number, simply repeat steps 1 through 3, and then click Unblock Number.

Unblock Google Voice number
(Image source: Amir Ali Tayyab)

 

There you have it! You now know the two primary ways of blocking unsolicited calls, text messages, and voicemails on Google Voice. Try using the built-in spam filter first, and then manually block any spam numbers that make it through. With two layers of protection, your communication folders should be spam-free in little time at all!

For help recognizing and blocking spam manually, see our lesson on phishing scam safety.