Sunday, June 9, 2013

Turn your iPod Touch into a Phone

Using your iPad or iPod Touch you can make free phone calls and send text messages to any phone. You can do this with the WiFi iPad or iPod Touch - the 3G/4G version is not necessary.  This post will give you the details.

Just like an iPhone, I receive calls and texts from friends and families on my iPod Touch, which I always carry in my pocket. Likewise, I can call and text them, and they receive these on any phone - whether that phone is a smart phone, regular cell phone or landline - without needing to install a special app (unlike Skype, which requires the other party to also have the Skype app on their device). This can be done on any of your iOS devices, including the regular iPad or iPad Mini.

This calling and texting capability does require a WiFi connection. Equally important, however, is what it does not require - a cell connection, cell plan, and all the accompanying costs. Let me be clear: calls and texts with no cellular provider, no contract, no monthly cell plan.

So how do you turn your iPad or iPod Touch into an "iPhone"? 
  1. The Talkatone app
  2. A free Google Voice account

First, you need a Google Voice account. This cool Google service, which is free, actually lets you pick a phone number and get calls and receive messages at that number. Going through Google Voice you can make calls to any number, and send text messages to any phone. (US customers only, International differs.)
You can learn more about Google Voice. And here is the step-by-step procedure for setting up your Google Voice account.

Second, install the Talkatone app on your iOS device. The free version is all you need. Talkatone improves on Google Voice by letting you make calls and send texts using WiFi, eliminating the need for a cell plan (or letting you use your iPhone over WiFi when that's more convenient). But you need Google Voice as a prerequisite; Talkatone uses Google Voice to handle calling, texting.

Questions? Talkatone has a
good Questions/Answers page. Also useful is how to configure Google Voice to work with Talkatone.

Granted, this is a little more involved than simply downloading an app.  But be patient, walk through the step-by-step, because the end results are worth it!

One final note: I have seen other "free calling" apps, but often the free calling feature is only for an initial trial set of minutes. Talkatone is free without restrictions on minutes, etc.  I have found it to be a very useful app.

No comments:

Post a Comment