Google Voice with your existing number (the missing how-to guide)

Illustration: Clippy tries to help get your number forwarding configured, but is just too entertained by poor transcription of voicemail to offer other options. I previously wrote about how it’s possible to use Google Voice with your existing mobile number, as a no-answer/busy handler for that number, like YouMail.

On October 26th Google added a set of helper screens to get your mobile number configured, although they’re buried in settings hell. This is, to the best of my knowledge, how you get it done via the new helpers:

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Settings”
  3. Click “Edit” on an existing mobile number.
  4. Click “Show advanced settings”
  5. Under “Forwarding Options” click “Activate”
  6. Select that mobile number’s carrier and click “Continue.”
  7. The steps you need to configure no-answer/busy forwarding are shown. (Google can’t do this one for you.)

No, this is not the same as if you could “port” an existing number to Google Voice.

But that hasn’t been critical, as all I want is web/email-accessible voicemail, which my carrier doesn’t provide on my current mobile hardware, and this Google Voice configuration delivers. If that’s all you want too, well, here you go.

If you have better steps, or Google’s shuffled the user interface around again and these steps no longer work, please let me know in comments.

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