How do I make Google Voice my default messaging app on Android?

Google Voice is an app developed by Google that provides phone calling, voicemail, and messaging services. It offers features like a free phone number, call forwarding, voicemail transcripts, and texting (Google Voice – Market Share, Competitor Insights in VoIP). Some key advantages of using Google Voice include:

  • Ability to make and receive calls on any device with the app installed
  • Voicemail that can be accessed and managed online
  • SMS/MMS messaging through your Google Voice number
  • Blocked numbers and spam call screening

Making Google Voice your default messaging app on Android allows you to take full advantage of these features. You can have all your calls and messages synced across devices. It provides a unified communication experience regardless of the device you are using. Overall, setting Google Voice as the default makes it simpler and more convenient to use its capabilities regularly.

Check Android Version

The first step when setting Google Voice as the default messaging app is to check which version of Android your device is running. This is important because the process differs slightly depending on whether you have Android 7.0 or newer, or an older version prior to 7.0.

As of September 2022, Android 7.0 Nougat and newer account for around 80% of Android devices worldwide according to Statista. The remaining 20% are on an older version like Marshmallow, Lollipop, KitKat etc. So it’s worth checking if your device falls into the newer or older category.

If your device is running Android 7.0 or newer, you’ll be able to set Google Voice as the default messaging app directly in the system settings. For older versions, you’ll need to take a couple extra steps by linking contacts and configuring individual app settings.

So before making any changes, go to your Settings app > About phone and look at the Android version. This will determine which steps you need to follow going forward.

Enable Google Voice

To use Google Voice as your default messaging app, you first need to make sure the Google Voice app is enabled and set up on your device. Open the Google Voice app and log into your Google account if prompted. The app will guide you through any additional steps to activate your Google Voice number if you have not already done so.

According to Google, Google Voice works by giving you a virtual phone number that rings multiple phones and provides advanced call routing and voicemail features. So when enabling Google Voice, ensure you have completed set up of your virtual number and linked it to your mobile device.

With over 2 million websites using Google Voice according to BuiltWith, it is a popular choice to integrate messaging and calling into other services and platforms. As of 2020, the Google Voice app had over 10 million downloads on Android according to SimilarWeb. So once enabled, you can take advantage of its widespread integration and features.

Set as Default (Android 7.0+)

To set Google Voice as your default SMS app on Android 7.0 or later:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Default apps (cited from
  2. Select SMS app and choose Google Voice from the list.

This will make Google Voice your default app for sending and receiving text messages. All SMS will now go through Google Voice rather than your previous default texting app.

Set as Default (Pre-Android 7.0)

For Android versions prior to 7.0, the process to set Google Voice as the default messaging app is slightly different. Here are the steps:

Go to Settings > More/Wireless & Networks > SMS app (1).

Tap on SMS app. This will open a list of installed messaging apps on your device.

Select Google Voice from the list to set it as the default SMS app. Check the box next to Google Voice to enable it as the default app (2).

Once selected, Google Voice will replace the previous default messaging app and will be used to send/receive all text messages going forward.

Configure Settings

One of the benefits of using Google Voice is the ability to customize various settings to your preferences. Here are some of the key settings you may want to configure:


Under Settings > Notifications, you can control notifications for new voicemails, text messages, missed calls and more. Enable or disable notifications as desired.


Customize your voicemail greetings under Settings > Voicemail. You can record a personal greeting, switch between different greetings, and manage greetings in general.


Under Settings > Calls, you can configure call forwarding, call screening, voicemail options, and more for your incoming and outgoing calls.


Manage message settings like delivery reports, group messaging, auto-retrieving MMS, and more under Settings > Messages.

Other Options

There are many other settings you can customize like:

  • Linked numbers
  • Phones
  • Groups
  • Account management

Take some time to explore all the available options and tailor Google Voice to match your preferences.

Link Contacts

To sync contacts between Google Voice and your Android device’s native address book:

  1. Open the Google Voice app and tap the menu icon in the top left corner.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ and then tap ‘Calls started from this device’s contacts’.
  3. Toggle ‘Sync contacts’ to on. This will sync your Google Voice contacts with your native address book.
  4. You can also sync contacts the other direction by going to your device settings, selecting Google in your account settings, and enabling contact syncing.
  5. After enabling syncing in both directions, your Google Voice and native address book contacts will stay up to date across apps.1

With contact syncing enabled, you can now seamlessly access all your contacts when making calls and sending messages with Google Voice.

Make a Test Call/Message

After setting Google Voice as your default messaging app, it’s a good idea to test it out. Try sending a test message to a friend using your Google Voice number. Make sure the message is delivered and your friend can reply back normally.

You should also test making a phone call with Google Voice. Try calling your own cell phone number or a friend’s number. Confirm that the call goes through and you can hear audio on both ends. This verifies that calling with Google Voice is working correctly.

If both sending a test message and making a test call work without issues, then you have successfully set up and activated Google Voice as the default calling and messaging app on your Android device.


If you run into issues setting Google Voice as the default messaging app on your Android device, here are some troubleshooting tips:

For common issues changing the default app, first make sure you have the latest version of the Google Voice app installed. Older versions may not integrate properly with Android’s default app settings. Check for any available updates in the Play Store and install them.

If your device is unsupported or you don’t have the option to change the default app, you can try installing a third-party app like JustCall which provides additional customization and control over setting default apps. JustCall has a “Default App Manager” that lets you set Google Voice as the default even on devices that don’t natively support it.

You can also try clearing the cache and data for the Messenger/Messages app which may help reset the default app associations. Go to Settings > Apps > Messenger > Storage > Clear Cache and Clear Data.

As a last resort, you can perform a factory reset on your device to wipe all app preferences and associations. This should allow you to freshly set Google Voice as the default when setting up the device again.

If none of these troubleshooting tips work, your particular Android model may not be fully compatible with changing the default messaging app. You can provide feedback to Google Voice and your device manufacturer to request better support.


Setting Google Voice as your default messaging app on Android provides several advantages. Google Voice gives you a free phone number to make and receive calls and texts. It syncs across all your devices so you can seamlessly send and receive messages no matter which device you’re using. Google Voice also provides features like voicemail transcription, call blocking, and more.

Making Google Voice your default messaging app on Android just takes a few simple steps. First, check your Android version and make sure you’re updated to at least Android 7.0. Then enable Google Voice and designate it as your default texting app in your system settings or default apps menu. Be sure to link your contacts, and test it out by making a call or sending a text. With these steps completed, Google Voice will now be set as your primary messaging application on your Android phone.

Setting up Google Voice as your default gives you access to a unified messaging platform across all your devices. It can improve your messaging experience with handy features not available in the standard messaging app. Follow the steps outlined here to get Google Voice working seamlessly as your default on your Android device.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *