How To: Make and Receive Phone Calls With Your iPad

How To: Make and Receive Phone Calls With Your iPad

While the iPad is great for using Skype or FaceTime, or for chatting with your friends via iMessage or instant messaging, one feature that is notably missing is the ability to make phone calls. All is not lost, however – where there’s a will, there’s a way.

GigaOM provides a clever tutorial on how to use Google Voice and a couple of iOS apps to replicate a phone connection, and allow you to make or receive calls directly from your iPad. Here’s how to make it work:

Preparation

In order to make this work, you’ll need the following:

  • Google Voice account: Google Voice is a free service for all Google account users. If you’re not already using Google Voice, simply log in to your Google account, head to the Google Voice sign up page, and follow the steps to get your own Google Voice number.
  • GV Connect: Google currently doesn’t offer an official Google Voice client for the iPad, but a third-party app called GV Connect ($2.99, App Store link) can get the job done (and arguably better than the native Google Voice iPhone app). The app does cost $2.99, but in my opinion is well worth it.
  • Talkatone: This free ad-supported app provides the final piece of the puzzle, allowing you to actually make VOIP calls from your iPad. Once Talkatone (free, App Store link) is set up, it can be controlled through GV Connect.

Making and Receiving Calls

Once your Google Voice account is set up, and both of the above apps are downloaded, set up each app by providing your Google Voice account login information. That’s it – you’re now ready to make and receive calls. Follow the below directions to get started, and to make and receive your first phone call on the iPad!

Making Calls

  • Launch GV Connect
  • Enter Settings, and make sure the “Start Calls From” option is set to Google Talk
  • Make sure the “Call using Talkatone” setting is enabled
  • Finally, to make a call, simply click the telephone icon in the upper left corner and dial your number

It’s worth noting that, while it’s possible to make calls over 3G using this method, call quality can be spotty. It’s recommended that you use WiFi in order to make calls.

Receiving Calls
Enabling your iPad to receive calls is a matter of forwarding your incoming Google Voice calls to your iPad – just follow the below steps and you’ll be able to receive calls in no time.

  • Launch GV Connect
  • Enter Settings, and make sure the “Call Forwarding” option is set to Google Talk
  • Double check to make sure you are logged in to your Google account through Talkatone.
  • Wait for an incoming call, or test this yourself by calling your Google Voice number from another device.

Now anyone who calls your Google Voice number will automatically be forwarded to your iPad. And don’t worry about missing calls – Google Voice automatically keeps a record of your calls, and allows callers to leave messages.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

If you already have a Google Voice account that forwards to your cell phone, office phone or somewhere else, it might be worth setting up a second Google account (and a second Google Voice account)  just for your iPad.

You can use a standard Apple headset with microphone to handle your calls. You can also use a Bluetooth headset, but you won’t be able to answer calls using the headset – you’ll have to answer them manually with your iPad.

That’s all there is to it! You can now make and receive calls on your iPad from anywhere you have a reliable internet connection! I hope this tutorial has been useful – let us know how it worked out for you in the comments!

  1. Maxi Schmitz says:

    Sounds interesting… But is there a Way without Google Voice (which isn’t available in EU)?

    1. Not that I know of.

      1. Bobmatthews39 says:

        Free app Whisper works great.

        1. Bobmatthews39 says:

          Oops! Should be Whistle.

  2. Bob says:

    Great article I use the function all the time. Not sure what the purpose of the gvconnect app is. I don’t seem to need it

  3. Sarun says:

    Can we make a call to land line number? If not, why bother? iPad already have FaceTime, viber, Line, Skype and so on.

    1. Babie says:

      With Dingtone, you could make calls to land line number and mobile phone number, you may also make free international calls with Dingtone. They also provide a really phone number for you iPad to receive phone calls from any one.

  4. Jayd370 says:

    Finally got it. Not bad for a 73 year old illiterate

    1. Congrats! Glad you got it working!

  5. Mayine says:

    does this work regardless of location, like calling from Athens to New York or vice versa?

  6. Vic says:

    You don’t need GV connect. Talkatone and google talk are enough.

    1. pilo says:

      Vic, I just got my ipad mini, I already downloaded both apps but when I dial a number from my ipad it connects to my cell phone and I ending talking from my cell phone instead from my ipad. can you please help me?

  7. m13 says:

    I have all the above apps and more.

    GV Connect is a great Google Voice IM app with iPad interface but no push notification. It is not needed to use Talkatone. Other iPad Google Voice IM app include GV Mobile + and ThinkMessenger GV, both have push notifications. Google’s own Google Voice app is iPhone only (works in iPad) with push notifications.

    Talkatone used to be VoIP only for Google Voice but has since added texting support and Facebook VoIP calling. The latest version finally supported push notifications (option in settings). You can turn off ads with IAP.

    Hope that helps.

  8. Xav says:

    Booo! Only in US and Canada not to other countries! Stupid!

  9. Jimy55 says:

    This no longer works. Google does not allow 3rd party apps to be used in conjunction with Google Voice. Stopped working about a year ago.

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