Screen calls

Call screening lets you know who's calling your Google number and gives you options to handle your calls.

Call screening is turned on by default. There are two ways your calls are screened:

  • The caller's phone number shows on your Caller ID display.
  • Google Voice asks callers to speak their name. So even with unknown names and numbers, you'll hear the caller's name when you pick up.

After picking up, you have four ways to handle the call:

  • Accept it: Press 1.
  • Send it to voicemail: Press 2.
  • Listen in on the voicemail: Press 2 and stay on the line.
  • Accept and record the call: Press 1, then 4.

Google Voice stores callers' spoken names so they won't be asked for it again.

Change a screened name

You can change a caller's name in your Contacts list so, if you want to hear "Mom" or another nickname, Google Voice will read the assigned name the next time they call.

Add a number to your Contacts list:

  1. Open Google Voice.
  2. In the Inbox, find the caller.
  3. Next to the caller's number, click the Add link.
  4. In the Quick Add box that appears, enter their name in the “Name” field and select a phone type.
  5. Click Create / Add to save.

Edit a caller's name in your Contacts list:

  1. Open Google Voice.
  2. On the left side of the page, select Google Contacts.
  3. Find a contact you want to edit, then click the name to open their contact info.
  4. At the top of the info page, click their name and make your changes.
  5. Press Enter to save changes.

Turn off call screening

If you don’t want to screen your calls, you can turn off call screening.

To turn off call screening for all contacts:

  1. Open Google Voice.
  2. At the top right, click Settings .
  3. Select Settings, then choose the Calls tab.
  4. Under the Call Screening section, select "Off." Changes will save automatically.
Turn off call screening for a group or circle
  1. Open Google Voice.
  2. At the top right, click Settings .
  3. Select Settings, then choose the Groups & Circles tab.
  4. Find the contact group or Google+ circle you want to edit, then click Edit.
  5. Under the "Enable Call Screening for this group?" section, select the Edit link.
  6. Choose Off, then press Save.
Turn off call screening for an individual
  1. Open Google Voice.
  2. Click the History tab.
  3. Find a contact you want to edit, then click the name to open their details.
  4. Under the "Enable Call Screening for this group?" section, select the Edit link.
  5. Choose Off, then press Save.

 

Things to keep in mind

If you turn off call screening, you won't be able to:

  • Hear an announcement of who's calling you
  • Directly send a call to Google Voice voicemail
  • Listen in on voicemail
  • Record a call
  • See voicemails in your Google Voice inbox
    • If call screening is off, the first forwarding phone or voicemail system that picks up (for example, your home answering machine) will get the call and any voicemail the caller leaves.
    • You can turn off call screening on a per contact basis in your Contacts list.



 

Megan is a Google Voice expert and author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.

Was this article helpful?