Google Voicemail on the iPhone 6

Last month I had my sister in NYC purchase a 64GB Space Gray iPhone 6 Plus for me at her local Apple Store. This was at a time when the majority (re: >95% of stores) were sold out of the 6 Plus, and shipping estimates from Apple were in excess of three weeks. After I added her to my AT&T account as an authorized user, she graciously took the train downtown, purchased the phone for me and dropped it in the mail. Unbeknownst to me at the time, when you purchase a phone directly from an Apple Store for replacement of a phone already on contract, the store is required to activate the new phone on the spot, which left me with a deactivated phone for a few days until the new unit arrived

I know - First World Problems.

Segue aside, this post is about the problems that arose from attempting to using Google Voice on an iPhone 6.

I switched over to using Google Voice as my primary phone number a few years ago, instantly seeing the benefits of being able access to the most essential functions (at the time) of a phone (a trusty BlackBerry Pearl 8100). Having the ability to send and receive text messages, make and receive phone calls, and be able listen to voicemails all from the relative comfort of a web browser meant that the phone itself became inconsequential.

Throughout each iPhone upgrade, I have continued to give out my Google Voice number to friends, family and colleagues, using Google Voice as my voicemail provider via AT&T's Conditional Call Forwarding (CFF).

As of the iPhone 6, this stopped working, as I soon began to discover when numerous people began to tell methat my voicemail wasn't set up, or that my "voicemail inbox was full".

It took me a little while to realize that I actually had a problem, since I still have been receiving voicemails sporadically in Google Voice. Turns out, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus currently have a problem parsing the combined CFF string that's been working on previous models for the past few years (**004*1234567890#). This **004* is actually three strings combined, and thanks to a blog post by Marcel Brown, the solution is one again within our reach.

Instead of using *004 for Conditional Call Forwarding, if you have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, you'll have to either call AT&T and ask them for CFF, or use the following set of strings provided bellow:

  • Call Forward if Unanswered: *61*1234567890#
  • Call Forward if Unreachable: *62*1234567890#
  • Call Forward if Busy: *67*1234567890#

The codes above should be entered into the default dialer on your iPhone, with the string "1234567890" being replaced with the number you would like your calls to be forwarded to. In my case, this is my Google Voice phone number.