Frequently Asked Questions

Check this list of frequently asked questions below to help address your problem and save you time.

What is Talkatone? How do I use it?

Talkatone lets you call and text any US or Canadian phone over WiFi or Data (3G/4G), without requiring cell minutes. Using WiFi/Data instead of cell networks is cool for a number of reasons:

  1. You can add phone functionality (calling and texting) to your iPad or iPod
  2. You can still call/text in areas with bad cell reception. For example, some of our users have bad cell reception in their homes and use Talkatone over their home wireless network to make/receive calls from home.
  3. Americans and Canadians traveling abroad can call/text home without paying for expensive international cell minutes and text messaging plans. You’ll also have a US number that your friends can call for free while you’re traveling.
  4. You can buy a cell plan with fewer cell minutes and stop paying for text messages. Some Talkatone users buy data only plans and don’t pay for any cell minutes.
  5. You can call international numbers at Google Voice’s low rates from your mobile phone. Check out Google’s international calling rates here.

Finally, you can import your Facebook, Gtalk and Address Book contacts into one, unified address book and message any of your friends via Gtalk, Facebook or SMS from one interface.

How does Talkatone work?

Talkatone’s core functionality (free calling and texting to any US or Canadian number) is built on top of Google Voice. First, you need to get a free Google Voice number (if you don’t already have one) which also becomes your Talkatone number. Calls/Texts from the Talkatone app come from this Google Voice number and when people call your Google Voice number, you can choose to receive the call on your regular mobile phone (which uses cell minutes) or via Talkatone (which does not use cell minutes). Talkatone improves the native Google Voice app by letting you call/text over WiFi or 4G whereas the Google Voice app calls/texts using cell networks.

Talkatone also allows you to make free calls to any other Talkatone user without having a Google account.

Finally, you can import your Facebook contacts and chat with them via Facebook messenger without having a Google Account.

How much does Talkatone cost?

We offer almost all Talkatone functionality for free thanks to support from advertisers. We also offer a few more advanced, premium features for $1.99/month or $10.99/6 months or $19.99/year. Premium functionality includes 1. removing ads 2. support for multiple google voice accounts 3. premium support and 4. slightly better call quality. But all functionality described on this page is free and the vast majority of Talkatone users do not pay us anything!

What do I need to use Talkatone?

You need a Google/Gmail account with Google Voice activated. All of this is free. You can get a Google account here. If you already have a Gmail/Google Account, but haven’t signed up for Google Voice, you can sign up here.

You also need a supported mobile device:

  • iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S, 5)
  • Android: 2.2 (2.3+ is required for BlueTooth and speakerphone), armv7 or x86 CPU
  • iPad (2, 3rd Generation, 4th Generation, Mini)
  • iPod Touch (3rd Gen, 4th Gen, 5th Gen)

How can people outside of the United States use Talkatone?

American’s traveling abroad:
Americans and Canadians traveling abroad can call/text home without paying for expensive international cell minutes and text messaging plans. You’ll also have a US number that your friends can call for free while you’re traveling.

Residents of Canada:
Google Voice is not available in Canada. However, Google does let Canadians make free outbound calls to other US or Canadian numbers from a web browser. This means that Canadians can use Talkatone to make free outbound calls to any US or Canadian number, but cannot receive inbound calls and will not be assigned a Google Voice number.

Residents of Europe and many other countries:
Google Voice is not available outside of the US. However, Google does let residents of many countries make calls from a web browser at very low rates. This means that Talkatone users who do not live in the US or Canada, can buy Google Credits and make cheap, outbound international calls via the Talkatone app.
Rates are available here.
Outbound calls at low rates in Talkatone are only available in countries where Google allows "Gmail Calling." This list of countries is available here.

Everyone Else:
If you live in a country that doesn’t support outbound calling, you can always call/text other Talkatone users. So invite your friends to install Talkatone!

Why is Talkatone better than Skype, Viber, Google Voice?

Skype/Viber calls are only free if the recipient also has Skype/Viber installed on their mobile phone or computer. Skype charges you to call mobile and landline numbers and send texts. By contrast, Talkatone lets you call and text any US or Canadian number for free. Finally, since Talkatone works using your Google Voice phone number, calls come from a real number and you have a number that never expires to give your friends.

Google Voice: Talkatone improves the native Google Voice app by letting you call/text over WiFi or data whereas the Google Voice app requires cell minutes. The fact that Talkatone does not require cell minutes means you can make calls even when you don’t have cell coverage, turn your iPad/iPod into a phone, make free calls from abroad etc …

How do I set up calls?

  1. Download the Talkatone app from the app store
  2. Log into the Talkatone app with your Google/Gmail Account
  3. Talkatone will check whether or not you have a Google Voice number
  4. If you do not have a Google Voice number, Talkatone will tell you to set up Google Voice and provide instructions. Note, that you can only set up Google Voice on your COMPUTER, not on your mobile phone.
  5. When you set up Google Voice, you have the option of paying to port your existing mobile number over to Google Voice or being assigned a new number (free). We suggest that you get assigned a new number since this option is free.

Once you’ve set up Google Voice, you’ll be able to make calls and send texts from this number in Talkatone over WiFi or Data without requiring cell minutes.

Note that full access to Google Voice is only available in the US. Canadians have partial access to Google Voice. This means that Canadians can make free outbound calls using Google Voice, but cannot receive inbound calls and are not assigned a Google Voice number. People living in countries outside of the US and Canada can pay to make outbound calls, but can not receive inbound calls. Outbound call rates for these countries are available these countries have no access to Google Voice. Note that even if you are in a country with partial or no Google Voice access, you can always call/text other Talkatone users. So invite your friends to install Talkatone!

I can make outbound calls but am not receiving inbound calls?

There are two possibilities here:

  1. You started the Google Voice sign up process at some point, but have not completed it
    • If you have not yet been assigned a Google Voice number, but have accepted Google Voice’s Terms of Service, then Google will allow you to make outbound calls, but not receive inbound calls. Calls that you make from Talaktone will come from a central Google number (707.359.4608). When your friends try to call you back on this central number, they will get a “sorry your call cannot be completed error message."
    • You can fix this by finishing the Google Voice setup process.
  2. You’ve set up Google Voice fully and been assigned a Google Voice number, but when people call your Google Voice/Talkatone number, the call is being forwarded to some other phone. You can fix this in your google voice settings.
    • Log into google voice on your computer: www.voice.google.com
    • Click on the settings gear wheel in the top right corner
    • Click forward calls to Google Chat (this means that you will receive calls to your google voice number in the Talaktone app). Note that if you check both “forward calls to Google Chat" AND “forward calls to Mobile" then when someone calls your Google Voice number, the native phone app and Talkatone will both ring on your mobile phone. This is annoying. So you should either check “forward calls to Google Chat" OR check “forward calls to Mobile." Forwarding calls to Google Chat will ring Talkatone (and not use any cell minutes).

When people call my Google Voice number both my mobile phone AND Talkatone ring?

Google Voice has a setting that allows you to specify where you want inbound calls to ring. You can access it here. Most likely, you have checked both “Forward calls to Google chat" (which forwards calls to Talkatone) and “Forward calls to Mobile." If both are checked, the call will ring both Talkatone and your mobile phone at the same time, which is very annoying!

To adjust this “call forwarding" setting on your computer:

  1. Log into google voice on your computer: www.voice.google.com
  2. Click on the settings wheel in the top right corner
  3. Check either “forward calls to gchat" or “forward calls to mobile" but not both

Where should I receive calls?

Receiving calls in your mobile device's native phone app is like receiving any other call. It uses cell minutes. By contrast, receiving calls in the Talkatone app does not use cell minutes, but requires that your phone be connected to the internet via WiFi or data. You can choose where to receiving calls by changing a setting in your Google Voice account:

  1. Log into google voice on your computer: www.voice.google.com
  2. Click on the settings gear wheel in the top right corner
  3. Click forward calls to Google Chat (this means that you will receive calls to your google voice number in the Talaktone app). Note that if you check both “forward calls to Google Chat" AND “forward calls to Mobile" then when someone calls your Google Voice number, the native phone app and Talkatone will both ring on your mobile phone. This is annoying. So you should either check “forward calls to Google Chat" OR check “forward calls to Mobile." Forwarding calls to Google Chat will ring Talkatone (and not use any cell minutes).

Why is there a delay receiving texts in Talkatone?

Talkatone only periodically checks your Google Voice account to see if your Google Voice number has received any new texts. This can lead to a delay in receiving texts in Talkatone.

You can fix this in two ways:

  1. In the Talkatone app, if you go to the Recents tab and pull down the list, the list will refresh with any new texts
  2. In Google Voice’s settings, you can check the “forward text messages to my email" setting. If this setting is checked, you will receive texts immediately in Talkatone. However, it will have the somewhat annoying side-effect of also sending text messages to your gmail account. To solve this problem, you can set up a filter in your gmail account.

Why do I need to log in with Google?

Talkatone is built on top of Google Voice. Thus calling and texting requires you to log into your google/gmail account and set up Google Voice (all free). There is some minor functionality available without having a Google Account. For example, you can import your facebook contacts and chat with them without logging into Google. You can also call/text anybody who also has downloaded the Talkatone app. Get a google account here. Set up Google Voice here.

Using Talkatone while traveling outside of the US or Canada?

One of the awesome things about Talkatone is that it allows you to call any US or Canadian number over WiFi or Data no matter where you are in the world. As long as you have WiFi or Data access you can call/text your friends at home or receive calls/texts from them without paying for expensive international cell minutes. But be aware, however, that international data can be expensive. 1 minute of Talkatone call easily could cost you $5-10 on 3G data roaming! So if possible, get a SIM card from a local provider with reasonable prices or use WiFi which is always free.

What devices are fully supported by Talkatone?

  • iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S, 5)
  • Android: 2.2 (2.3+ is required for BlueTooth and speakerphone), armv7 or x86 CPU
  • iPad (2, 3rd Generation, 4th Generation, Mini)
  • iPod Touch (3rd Gen, 4th Gen, 5th Gen)

What is Talkatone Premium?

Most Talkatone functionality is FREE. However, for $1.99/month or $10.99/6 months or $19.99/year, Talkatone Premium:

  1. Removes ads
  2. Supports multiple Google Accounts
  3. Provides priority Customer Service
  4. Offers slightly higher audio quality

Is it possible to improve voice quality on 3G/WiFi?

You can play with your WiFi router and try to select cleaner WiFi channel (default auto selection is often not the best choice. Several users reported that they were able to significantly improve call quality by picking better channel).

My Firewall is blocking voice traffic. What should I do?

Talkatone needs the following ports open for outgoing traffic:

  1. TCP ports: 5222 (or 80, but we recommend both, otherwise battery drain may increase) to talk.google.com. Note that multiple IPs may respond to this DNS name - they are subject to change by Google and are using Geo DNS - i.e. will resolve to "closest" set of IPs. This is the main connection and is used for IM and call signaling.
  2. For media we use ICE (STUN+Relay) firewall traversal. Usually corporate routers would not allow STUN traversal anyway (they are usually double-NAT). Therefore, we need to be able to establish "outbound" connection to UDP port 19295 (relay servers) and ideally 19302 (STUN). Please note that IPs for those outbound ports will vary and may even come from different networks. So we recommend allowing establishing UDP connection to *:19295 (and this will allow server to send "responses" on this "connection").

I do not hear anything during the call (especially on iPod Touches)

"No-audio" on iPhones or iPod touches is a pretty common problem. Please check our Blog post where we outlined most obvious causes and solutions.

Do let us know if problem persists and you are not able to resolve it, we'll help you.

Does Talkatone support Bluetooth?

Yes, Talkatone supports Bluetooth on iPod Touch 4th generation or later and iPad as of iOS4.3.3. However, please consider following:

  1. Headsets used to make calls MUST have a microphone. iOS devices must play and record audio using the same "route" (device). You cannot use the headset to hear sound and built-in microphone to records audio at the same time.
  2. Due to security reasons iOS does not allow 3rd party apps to provide their own driver-level code. This means we cannot provide our own Bluetooth drivers and have to rely on those provided by iOS itself.
  3. Certain Bluetooth devices have compatibility issues which cannot be addressed due to above-mentioned reasons.

I forgot my Google password, can you help me to recover it?

No, we do not store have your password. Instead, you need to follow Google's instructions to reset your password.

Still have questions? Want to stay up to date with new developments?

We enjoy making Talkatone better and it's not possible without you. There are several ways of how you can learn new things about us and provide us your feedback:

  • Read our Blog where we post last news about Talkatone.
  • Check our Facebook Profile page where you may find live feedback from our users
  • Follow us on Twitter for real-time updates
  • Contact us if you have feedback or want to suggest improvements

Our Customer Support team is always here to answer your questions when you need help.