Sunday, August 15, 2010

Google Voice Callback FAQ

Here is a list of frequently asked questions and answers:

Q: What is the differences between your app and the official Google Voice app? Why do I need Google Voice Callback?
A: As its name implies, my app uses callback mechanism, which means it intercepts your outgoing calls, and then it asks Google Voice to call you back so that when you pick up the incoming call from your Google Voice number, you are connected to your original outgoing number. That means you actually never call out; you answer a call from your Google Voice number.
The official Google Voice app, in contrast, calls out, which means it dials another number instead of your original number (some number from the 416 area code) then transfer you to your original number on their (Google's) end. That means you are virtually dialing a number that does not even exist on your phone book.
Is the difference significant? If you want some form of free call, then it is. See questions/answers below.

Q: Does Google Voice Callback give me free calls?
A: No.

Q: Does calling using Google Voice Callback cost in my phone bill?
A: Yes, unless you have special setup as answered below. But of course, it won't cost any more than you dial out from your phone with the old fashioned way.

Q: But why does your app advertise that it gives free calls?
A: No it does not advertise as such. Yes free call is possible, but my app does not magically give you free call - you need other ingredient(s). There ain't no such thing as a free lunch!

Q: Then how can I get free calls?
A: There is two ways that Google Voice Callback can help you get free calls. 1) Through your cell phone carrier; 2) through internet via Voice-Over-IP (VOIP). Both requires that you have a Google Voice account, of course. Let me walk through the two options quickly:
  • Through your cell phone carrier: WARNING: it's YOUR responsibility to check with the conditions and terms of your cell phone carrier whether this method is legitimate. I do not recommended nor sponsor this method; I simply state the possibility. I bear no responsibility if you break the terms and conditions with your cell phone carrier. To get free call, you need a plan such as MyFaves from T-Mobile, which gives you unlimited call to a fixed number of individuals (your family, friends, etc.) By adding your Google Voice number as one of those unlimited calling numbers, you appear to be talking to your Google Voice number all the time from your cell phone carrier's perspective, no matter what number you originally called out. Hence the "free" calls.
  • Through VOIP: this is more complicated, but it can be truly free (if you have internet connection already). See here for more details.
Q: How do I only use Google Voice Callback for some number? / How do I use Google Voice Callback except a few numbers?
A: You need to use filter rules.

Q: How do I use Google Voice Callback only during the day on weekdays (because my cell phone plan has free night and weekend, etc.)? A: Have a look at the setting called "Quiet Hours".

Q: How do I use Google Voice Callback only on 3G/wifi/2G/whatever?
Q: How do I use disable/enable callback during two sets of times (i.e. Quiet Hour does not do exactly what I wanted)?
A: Unfortunately, you need an external app that does scheduling: Locale or Tasker. Google Voice Callback v0.5 or above has a plugin for Locale or Tasker, so you need to setup a profile in either of those apps, and let that app toggle the settings for you.

Q: Does Google Voice Callback work in country X (where X is not US or Canada)?
A: I'm afraid not. Google Voice Callback only works where Google Voice itself works. You can still take advantage of free internet VOIP calls to US numbers from anywhere in the world, but you cannot use Google Voice Callback to call a local number without paying or have Google Voice callback to your local phone.

Q: Why does it stuck at the "Waiting for callback" screen?
Q: Why do I not receive the callback?
A: If you have successfully received a callback call before, and you haven't change the settings or your cell phone number, it could be a temporary problem with Google Voice. Try making the call again. If multiple tries all fail, go to on your computer and make a call there. If that doesn't work either, then Google Voice is down temporarily for you, and there is nothing you or I can do beside waiting for Google Voice to work again. If you have never made a call with Google Voice Callback before, and you are stuck on the "Waiting for callback" screen, you likely have some incorrect settings. In particular, make sure that the number you selected as callback number is available to receive an incoming call. For example, if you choose your home number as callback number and you are at work, obviously you will never receive the callback.

Q: Why does it take so long to register callback? Plzzzz fix it!!!
A: Google Voice Callback needs to login to Google Voice, and then register with Google Voice to request callback to your callback number. Both login step and the request step are relatively quick (and if you make call often enough the login result is cached across calls). Once the callback is registered, it's all up to Google and your cell phone network's latency to decide when you will receive the callback. There is nothing I can do to shorten that time! Usually if you are using VOIP, the callback is close to instantaneous; if you use your regular cell phone for callback, you do need to wait a little bit. You probably already noticed that if you call someone standing right next to you, his/her phone does not ring immediately; this is the similar delay you experience when waiting for the callback!

Q: Auto-answer does not seem to work for me?
A: First of all, auto-answer works for the default Phone app on Android. (For auto-answer in third party apps such as Sipdroid, CSipSimple, etc., you have to configure that in with that app, not with Google Voice Callback). If you have Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), you are somewhat out of luck. Auto-answer for Android 2.2 or below relies on internal API within Android, but access to that API is closed for non-system apps on Android 2.3. There is a fallback mechanism that basically fakes button presses to answer the incoming callback call, but it is not very reliable, as far as I know.

Q: My question is not answered above? A: No problem! Post a comment below, or email me (my email can be found on the app's description page on the Android Market).


Justin - jt400 said...

I have installed your version of Sipdroid, GV callback and configured Sipdroid with my SIP account and GV callback to start Sipdroid. If I make a call with GV callback will it now be a VoIP call (not on my bill)? Thank you, you seem to have a good app!

Anonymous said...

I set my Google voice up using my Yahoo! E-mail address and this app won't let me login with those credentials. What do I do?

David said...

Is there any way to add a feature that calls back a different number associated with your GV account based on whether your phone is currently connected to WiFi or connected to 3G?

Ammon said...

Is there anyway to get my contact's picture to show up instead of my voice mail icon that is attached to my google voice number? I know that it is google voice calling me back but if you can intercept outgoing calls you could intercept this picture and change it to the picture on the contact of the original number right? I'd settle for the picture changing once the call is connected if you can do that.


Ammon said...

Is there anyway to get my contact's picture to show up instead of my voice mail icon that is attached to my google voice number? I know that it is google voice calling me back but if you can intercept outgoing calls you could intercept this picture and change it to the picture on the contact of the original number right? I'd settle for the picture changing once the call is connected if you can do that.


KiethS said...

GV Callback Free, HTC Magic (aka T-mobile 3G MyTouch / Google G2) running Froyo 2.2.

Using GV/sipgate (via Sipdroid) for a free VOIP to PSTN solution via WiFi. I found details for this setup at:

I'm getting perhaps a 40% success rate. That is, I call, and get a choice to select either, ' Use GV Callback', or, 'Use Normal Call'. I've set SIPDroid call settings to always call via phone (so 'use normal call' really does make a normal call). But when I choose 'use GV callback' about 60% of the time, it pops up saying 'please wait', then at the top, 'Logging in'...and then...nothing. Or sometimes at the top it goes to 'Placing call', and...nothing more. About 40% of the time, it works perfectly, it displays, 'please wait...', 'logging in', 'placing call', then I get the incoming SIPDroid call, slide the box up to connect, and the call out begins like a champ.

Is there a way that GV Callback can verify / retry if the GV account logs in successfully, and if not, retry?

Anonymous said...

I am a Sprint user with the unlimited Mobile to Mobile plan. I am wanting to know how this affects my bill [free calls]. How do phone companies recognize the calls? Is the number seen as a Landline or Mobile number?


Anonymous said...

If I use the toggle widget to toggle the use of google voice callback there is no indication of what state the app is, thus making it borderline useful. Maybe a message stating the new state would help.

John said...

Found your app today.
Does "Google Voice" (from google) have to be installed? or unistalled?

Getting FC errors (looping / restarting FC that I have to pull battery...) on my Samsung Moment.
Moment is using a custom rom and custom Aps2SD from SDXDevelopers, if that matters.
Would love to introduce this Tool / trick to use G'voice+ my callcentric!!

Anonymous said...

I use callback to call Canada for free.
Can your app be set up to filter for Canadian area codes only?
I went into When To Use Callback/According to Rules/Edit Filter Rules/Don't Use GV for US phone numbers.
I tested it with a 604 area code number (Vancouver) and my phone dialed straight to the number without initiating a call back.
Thanks. LG Optimus T running 2.2

Cliff said...

Great app! Works well, great options, had it set up just the way I wanted. Well done.

I planned to contribute for me and the family but had a few questions I couldn't find answers to and never found the time to ask. Today the app notified me I just made my 50th call and reminded me of my plan. I clicked the link to upgrade or whatever it asked and paid the reasonable amount. The paid app installed and overwrote my settings. I quickly got the basic working but lost my rules and times. Now I have some time to clean it up. I show your app once on my phone but 2 times in "Market" under "My Apps," both listed as installed. One free and one donate. Can I get my rules and times back? Should I uninstall one? How do I best clean this up before I re do things? How should I have done this transition to avoid this for me and now my family?

Many thanks for a great app.


scott said...

i have a gv # that feeds to a sipgate number. with that said, i have a mac and an android phone. i have installed cipsimple on the phone. seems to be working fine. i have also installed gv callback.

so, if i am in mexico calling back to the states with wifi and using my phone, will it cost me? or does the sipgate see that as an incoming call since i am using gv cb? also if i am using my mac to call out from mexico, i will have to pay for those calls with my sipgate acct? is this correct?
thank you

Anonymous said...

How do you change your number

The Overcash Family said...

Curious... What is the purpose of the "Official GV App Compatible" setting?

Dennis said...


I'm having problems with the callback feature always defaulting to the same incorrect number.

Ie. No matter what number I call, I get the same incorrect number call me back. Very annoying for this person - and for me!
the app helped me reduce my bill significantly, but now I can't use it. Crazy bill. Please help! I emailed by there was no response.

drif said...

still don't understand how to set up with NimBuzz, while Sipgate is out of phone numbers for sign up.

Yi said...

I have a problem with GV Callback not intercepting outgoing calls.

My phone is Moto Defy running latest MIUI (android 2.3.4). I can get Gingerbread's built-in sip client to intercept outgoing calls (either all calls, internet calls, or Ask each call), but I can not get GV Callback to intercept any outbound calls (Always or Ask Everytime) in GV Callback. All calls just go straight through carrier's network (T-Mobile) as if GV Callback was never installed.

Some settings that I am using right now if they matters:

I have Gingerbread's built-in sip client set to "internet calls" so it doesn't intercept normal calls before GV Callback.

Official GV app set to "every time make a call".

GV Callback's "Official GV app compatibility" set to ON.

I have tried to change all these values but nothing seems working. I can't figure out what prevents GV Callback from intercepting outgoing calls, from dial pad or address book. Please help. Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

I have an Atrix 4G and want to use it to call another Atrix 4G on my viva mexico plan through art, even though the other Atrix smartphone is in mexico, I still only have to dial a US number... is that considered not in the US or Canada?
And if it is doable, does this work calling from any tower in my network or does it NEED some form of data connection?

x said...

@David: no the feature is unlikely to be added, but you can easily accomplish that by using a profile in Tasker (or Locale) and using the Tasker/Locale plugin that comes with Google Voice Callback.

@John: you can leave the Google Voice app installed or uninstall it if you like. Both will work.

@Cliff: sorry about that. There is no data export/import between the free and donate app at this moment. It's probably too late now, but if you still have the free version installed, just shoot me an email so that we can resolve the problem.

@scott: you should be able to callback to the US for free with your setup.

@Yi: You need to enable 3rd party call monitoring app in the phone dialer in the MIUI rom. That's a custom "feature" of the MIUI rom.

@Anonymous on July 31st: You need internet connection to use Google Voice Callback.

Ari Tafari said...

Great app. Mucho Gracias

Do you plan to implement a "start SIP before call" for Gingerbread phones? just like you do for CSipSimple and Sipdroid. I had to download CSipSimple because the default Android Sip never stayed connected to CallCentric (always said phone number not registered).

x said...

@Ari: As far as I know, that's not possible. The SIP interface in Gingerbread is not open to other apps - unless Google Voice Callback manages its own set of SIP account(s).

aritafari said...

@X. Actually I have come to prefer the CSipSimple approach because it enables calls over 3G whereas the Sip in Gingerbread does not.

JIL said...

One thing I did not see addressed in here is the use of your cell providers Edge/3g/4g connection while using Gv call back. It is my understanding that if you are not on a free WiFi access point in your home, office, or someplace like Starbucks, then you are using your Edge/3g/4g allotted bandwidth. Some carriers sell unlimited but throttled bandwidth and others sell limited bandwidth. People with limited bandwidth plans are charged for additional bandwidth usage which can be pretty steep depending on the carrier. T-Mobile has unlimited bandwidth, but after so many MB of usage depending on the plan you buy, the bandwidth throughput is throttled back to much slower speeds until the monthly plan renews. So if your Edge/3g/4g plan is limited and you use the web a lot, then you could possibly be paying MORE than using your regular minutes. But that depends on how much extra they charge for the extra bandwidth you use over your limit. Remember though that using GV callback on anything other than a free WiFi connection will affect your browsing limits as well. If you make/receive a lot of calls, your browsing bandwidth will also be affected.

litenfluffy said...

I am having trouble verifying my SIP account DID# with Google Voice. I have read others have a similar problem, but how have the posters on this blog had success? I am using NimBuzz for Android, IPComms for my DID#, and my Google Voice account is already setup with a number. I just can't get the verify call to my DID#. HELP!!!!!

aritafari said...

You may want to try IPKall for your DID.

Sean and Kristin said...

I got you app installed and it works but it sends the audio to my speaker phone instead of the normal speaker. I tried clicking the speaker button but then i don't get any Audio. Is there anyway to fix this?

dora said...

How do I set it up to call out..I can get call to me but I can't call out with my google voice..can somebody help me?

dora said...

How do I set it up to call out..I can get call to me but I can't call out with my google voice..can somebody help me?

Anonymous said...

What is the answer to the posted question in the FAQ section, "How do I use Google Voice Callback only on 3G/wifi/2G/whatever?"?

mohamud said...

I have no commend

Andres0841 said...

Im not receiving any calls , how do I disable this on my phone to be back to normal . Epic touch 4g

crobs808 said...

Formatted my phone, and went to reinstall this but is no longer available on the market. I searched: google voice callback, google call back, google callback, callback donate, but none of them showed up. I paid for this app, what gives?

beau & teri said...

I can no longer find your app on Google play/market. I just had my phone service now I can't find your awesome gvcb I had purchased $2.99 a few months ago. I need it back, please list it again!

Ari Tafari said...

The recent upgrade of CSipSimple seems to have broken GV Callback. The "Start CSipSimple before..." option is not working anymore. With this option checked, when I tried making a call GV Callback says "Unfortunately, Google Voice Callback has stopped". When turned off GV Callback attempts to make the call.

Shawn said...

Love the app and have used it for a long time. Unfortunately, my phone was stolen and when i got a replacement phone, GV callback was no longer available on Google Play Store. There is another app that is using the moniker "gv callback" that doesn't have nearly the same features.

I was glad to see it in the Amazon App Store. Please try to make this available on the play store. At the least, make sure it is never removed from Amazon's store. OR make the apk publicly downloadable.

Thanks for the wonderful app. I'm very happy that i still get the chance to use it.

Bob Saget said...

@Shawn - You can get the full version APK here:

Anonymous said...

I have Google Voice, but Google Callback does not recognize. Please advise. Thanks