iPhone and Google Voice SMS
Google Voice has a Free App
Prerequisites: You must have a Google Voice Account. See my [cref get-a-google-voice-account] article.
Google recently released the Google Voice App through the Apple iTunes App Store. This is a pretty solid app, and if you are young and your parents won’t pay for text messages, this is a decent way to send texts from an actual phone number. You can also place calls from that number through the app. Or, if you’re not a kid and just want to limit your texting, this could be a good solution for you.
Pros of this app:
- Texting is free
- Jailbreaking is not necessary
- Your Google Voice number is portable – you can check your texts on the web if your visiting Grandma for a week and have no service
- You see your friends’ numbers appear and they see your Google Voice number
Cons of this app:
- If any other apps pop up a notification, you lose all of the text you’re writing
- If someone responds while you’re typing, their text doesn’t appear in your conversation window. You have to depend on the popup or back out to the main window and back in to refresh it.
- There’s a rumor that AT&T wants to start charging for bandwidth over this app. Maybe in 2012.
- It’s not as nice as the native iPhone app
- You can’t SMS through Google Voice. Your friends will have to email pictures to you.
To run this app, just go to the App Store, search for Google Voice, install it and sign in. You’re good to go. Make sure you’re not forwarding texts to your mobile phone through Google Voice settings or you’ll get double alerts on your phone. See my [cref get-a-google-voice-account] article.
The cons really bothered me and I was spoiled with my jailbroken BiteSMS app. BiteSMS is a text messaging utility with features like smileys, Quick Reply, Quick Compose, privacy, scheduled SMS, passcode lock, delivery reports, and signatures. check out the link if you’re curious.
I wanted a better solution. I am using BiteSMS and SMS GV Extension. This system cost me about $12 for the apps. No montly fee. ($3.29 if you don’t want to use BiteSMS.) I’m also using Phone GV Extension to send/receive phone calls through Google Voice. It doesn’t save me any money, it just makes it look like my calls are coming from my Google Voice number so people won’t get confused. That’s another $3.29 app. Read my [cref iphone-and-Google-Voice-Calls] article for more info on that.
How To Use Google Voice With BiteSMS
Prerequisites: Jailbroken iPhone, Google Voice Account. If you have an iPhone, but it’s not Jailbroken, or need a Google Voice Account, see my articles:
- [cref why-jailbreak-an-iphone-4]
- [cref downgrade-an-iphone-4-ios] – this also tells you how to flash the correct firmware
- [cref how-to-jailbreak-an-iphone]
- [cref how-to-unlock-an-iphone] – if you need that for a different carrier
- [cref how-to-install-jailbreak-apps] – how to do this stuff if you’re a newb
- [cref my-jailbreak-setup] – the stuff I put on my phone
- [cref make-multiple-backups-in-itunes] – if you’re using iTunes, you NEED this!!
- [cref restoring-your-jailbroken-iphone] – yep, you WILL have to do this at some point
- [cref get-a-google-voice-account]
On to the Tutorial…
Step 1 – Set Up Google Voice
- Go to Google Voice and go to Settings > Voice Settings.
- Make sure that all of your mobile phones are set up as Home phones. If for some reason you have to have them set up as mobile phones, choose that phone and go into Edit. Uncheck the Text Settings box next to “Receive text messages on this phone”. Otherwise, you will receive double texts and the ones being forwarded this way will be charged through your carrier.
- Save, of course. Then go to Settings > Voice Settings > Voicemail & Text. Here, the important thing to check is the Text Forwarding. Check the box next to “Forward Text Messages to my Email”. Notice that the default email address is the address that you have set up your Google Voice account through. You will need a gmail account for this Google User Name. If you don’t have one, pause and do that now. If you don’t know how to set up a gmail account, stop this tutorial now. Please. 😉
Step 2 – Set Up Your Gmail Account
If your Gmail account is only used for your Google Voice, you can go on to Step 3. Otherwise, you’re going to want to set up some filters.
- If you’re in Google Voice, click on the Gmail link at the top/left portion of the page. Gmail will open in a new tab.
- In Gmail, click on Settings, then the filters tab.
- Click the “Create a New Filter” link.
- In the wizard, type @txt.voice.google.com in the “From” box and click on the “Next Step” button.
- In the next page, check “Skip the Inbox” (you don’t want your SMS messages cluttering up your inbox) and check “Apply the label:”. In the dropbox, create a new label. When the dialog box appears, name your new label. I call mine SMSiPhone. Then click on “Create Filter”.
Step 3 – Set Up Gmail Account on iPhone
- On your iPhone, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars
- If you don’t already have the Gmail account used in Step 2 setup here:
- Click on Add Account and select Microsoft Exchange.
- Email – enter your full Gmail account address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Domain – leave blank
- Username – enter your full Gmail account address again
- Password – enter your password (*** Important – If your password for Google contains symbols, go to Google now and change it. It will not work with SMS GV Extension. Then come back and put the new password in here now.)
- Description – Enter a description for the account so you’ll know it on a list
- Select Next and a box should appear called Server. In this box enter the following: m.google.com and select done.
- From the accounts list, select the account connected to your Google Voice. Click on “Mail Folders to Push.”
- Scroll down until you see your new Label from the last part of Step 2. (Ignore this if you did not filter your email)
- If you do not see the label, you may need to send yourself a test message to your Google Voice number so the filter is used at least once to appear. If that still doesn’t work, respring your phone and try again.
- Be patient, it will appear. When it is finally is there, it seems to act weird. When you click on it, the check disappears. Go back 2 levels and come back in. It should be checked. You may have to do this twice, but it will work.
Step 4 – Get the SMS GV Extension App
- If you plan on using the app on 3G, make sure you turn off wifi before installing. I’m not sure why, I just read that somewhere. Better safe than sorry. It will still work on wifi.
- Launch Cydia and search : SMS GV Extension
- Install the application and restart springboard.
- Go to Settings > SMS GV Extension and click the Check License Off and back on to buy it. Go through the Paypal process to pay $3.29 for the app. Shut up. It’s worth it.
- Fill in your settings:
- Username – this is your Google Voice username. Don’t add the @google.com
- Password – this is your Google Voice password. There is no error checking, so make sure this is right. (*** Important – If your password for Google contains symbols, go to Google now and change it. It will not work with SMS GV Extension. Then come back and put the new password in here now. Don’t forget to change it in your phone email settings.)
- Enable Send – this needs to be on. If you turn it off, you’re sending messages through the carrier which means you’re paying for them and not using Google Voice. What’s the point?
- Leave the signatures blank unless you want something at the end of every text you send.
- Receive Settings – Go forward into this page.
- Official GV App – Off. We’re using BiteSMS (or just the native app if you don’t want to use BiteSMS)
- Local Mail – On – We’re pushing texts through email.
- Monitored Accounts – “Specify (below)”
- Or Specify – Your full email address goes here (email@example.com)
- Monitored Label – put your label here (SMSiPhone)
- Refresh Cache – On
- Check License – Go ahead and hit this twice to turn it off and back on to see if your license has gone through after your purchase. It takes up to an hour to go through the database. When it is done, it will say “License Status: Registered.” You will then be able to send.
Step 5 – Get the Official Google Voice App
It needs to be on the phone.
- Go to the App Store and do a search for Google Voice. Get the Google Voice app by Google. It has a blue background with a white talk bubble and a blue phone in it.
- Open the app and sign in using your Google Voice username (no @gmail.com) and password.
- In settings, select This phone – Don’t use for calls.
- Exit the app and go to the phone Settings > Notifications > Google Voice. Turn off all notifications. They’re annoying.
Step 6 – Test Using the Native App
- So you know you’re not using the carrier texting, put the phone in airplane mode and turn on the wifi.
- When you open the messaging app, you’ll see a notification telling you to disable airplane mode to send/receive text messages. click Cancel to ignore it. We can text anyway!
- Your text should go right through. It’s great if you have a buddy to text with to test your app. Make sure you spelled everything right and you should be good to go!
Step 7 – Adding BiteSMS
I really like this app and it adds in seamlessly. Check out the webpage here for more info about it. Download and install it through Cydia. It’s way simpler than the SMS GV Extension. There’s a 14 day trial and the app costs $8.99.