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Google Voice not working? Here's how you can try to fix it

Whatever you do, don't break terms of service.

Published onJanuary 15, 2024

While Google tends to downplay the existence of Google Voice, the service dates back to 2009, and has outlived many of the company’s other products. That’s because it’s indispensable for those who need it — ranging from businesses to us regular people who need a phone number they can access on any device. When Voice stops working, here’s what you need to do.

How to fix Google Voice

Google Voice stock photo 4
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

As you might imagine, there are a variety of ways in which Voice can break, from poor call quality to outright failing to receive calls or texts. The good news, however, is that many of these can be addressed by a common set of troubleshooting steps. We’ll also cover a few niche issues to be comprehensive.

  • Doublecheck your internet connection. Since it’s a VoIP service, Voice rides or dies on the quality of your cellular, Wi-Fi, or (on computers only) Ethernet link. If you’ve got a slow or weak wireless signal, try getting closer to your source or eliminating obstacles. That’s easier said than done with 4G or 5G, naturally. You might alternately try switching between connection methods if more than one is available. It’s also possible that your carrier or ISP (internet service provider) is experiencing outages, in which case you’ll just have to be patient while they’re solved.
  • Make sure Google servers are up and running. Like most Google products, Voice is dependent on the cloud, and any trouble with Google servers or associated network infrastructure can bring everything to a screeching halt. Check the Google Workspace status dashboard to see if Voice is functioning normally. If it’s not, you’ll have to find other communication options while technicians sort things out.
  • If Voice isn’t ringing, check your device’s volume settings. It’s entirely possible that the app itself is working, but that a setting on your phone, tablet, or computer is preventing you from hearing it. On Android 12 or later, you can usually check volume levels by pressing a volume button then tapping the Menu (triple-dot) icon to access all volume sliders. Be sure your microphone is working, while you’re at it.
  • Check call forwarding settings. When you’re not getting calls or texts, it could be that forwarding settings are wrong for Voice and/or your phone. In the Android Voice app, you can check forwarding settings by going to Menu (the triple-line icon), Settings, and then the Custom call forwarding section. There, tap Manage rules. You can change Android forwarding options by going to Phone > triple-dot menu > Settings > Calling accounts, selecting your SIM, then hitting Call forwarding.
  • Verify that Voice has necessary permissions. At a minimum, Voice needs access to your microphone, contacts, and notifications. If you’ve accidentally blocked or limited something, you can usually change Android app permissions by going to Settings > Apps > Google Voice > Permissions. Windows, macOS, and iOS/iPadOS have their own permission systems as well.
  • On mobile, scan for app updates. Although Google tends not to update Voice as often as, say, Gmail or YouTube, it’s possible that the company has fixed a software bug since the last time you updated. You can update Android apps using the Google Play Store, or iPhone/iPad apps using the Apple App Store. The web version of Voice is updated automatically behind the scenes.
  • Relaunch the app or refresh the webpage. Temporary glitches sometimes happen with apps and websites, whether it’s a caching problem or a stuck process. On the web, try refreshing your Voice tab. On mobile devices, force-quit the app and open it again.
  • Manually clear out cache data. If the last step didn’t accomplish anything, you can try manually wiping temporary cache data from whatever app you’re using. We’ve got separate guides for clearing your web browser’s cache and doing the same for Android apps. There’s no equivalent for iPhones and iPads, but the next step might accomplish something similar.
  • Restart your device. There’s the possibility of a temporary glitch at the operating system level, in which case rebooting your device may help by forcing processes to start from scratch. This step also closes other apps that could be consuming too much memory or bandwidth.
  • Check whether or not your account has been banned. You should receive an automatic message if Voice access or your entire Google account has been banned or temporarily suspended. If that does happen, there’s not much you can do except submit an appeal and turn to alternative VoIP platforms. If the ban is for illegal conduct, don’t count on getting back on.

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