Voicemail is a great way to establish your personality, ensure that your friends and family know about your new business, or redirect clients to your assistant or other forms of communication in the event that you are on vacation or just away from the office. But what if your family doesn’t care about your business or already knows that you are on vacation? Several apps for the iPhone can enhance your iPhone voicemail features, allowing you to create customized voicemail greetings for anyone in your contact list, as well as dictate transcriptions of voicemails that your contacts leave for you and then send them to you via email. These apps vary in functionality, but allow you to use your voicemail however you need to — whether it’s by listening to your voicemail on your work computer, reading it via email during your commute, or creating greetings that are specific to certain types of people in your life.
One of the newest types of these apps available for iPhone users is ON Voicefeed, an app developed by Life is Better ON, which strives to help users greet different types of people appropriately. After you initially download ON Voicefeed, it will introduce you to the app with a quick demonstration video, and then walk you through a process to verify your phone number and email address. In this process, you’ll need to enter a verification code sent to via text and email, so you’ll want to set up ON Voicefeed when you have a few undistracted minutes and when you’re sitting in front of your computer as well. The process isn’t necessarily convoluted, but is designed to make using ON Voicefeed a fluid experience so that you can change your custom messages and access your voicemail wherever you may be, using whichever devices you have access to at that moment.
The key features of ON Voicefeed are free. Not only can you record unique voicemail greetings for each person in your contact list or specific groups of people such as “coworkers,” “friends,” or “clients,” but you can also use the speech-to-text service to type a message and have the app record the greeting for you. ON Voicefeed has an artificial voice with a very proper English accent, so your friends and family may question why you’re not the one greeting them if you choose to stick with the default greeting or use the text-to-speech option. The app also features the ability to read voicemails others leave for you, which is convenient when you’re in an environment where it is too loud or inappropriate to listen to voicemails, such as in a public area or in a meeting. The app is free, as are the first three customized greetings and the transcription service. If you’d like to create more greetings, you can upgrade for $9.99 a year.
ON Voicefeed is very similar to YouMail, which also offers the ability to create custom greetings and easily access voicemail from an app on the iPhone or via email — all for free. YouMail also transcribes these messages for you, though this feature is not free — YouMail offers several packages with varying voicemail services, up to a package that costs $39.99 per month for people who might need to transcribe more than 100 messages per month and store more than 5000 messages, total.
If you’re looking for a way a to simply transcribe your voicemail, PhoneTag is a great service that works for most mobile phones (including the iPhone) by converting your voicemail into text and delivering it to your email account. Unlike ON Voicefeed and YouMail, you can’t listen to your voicemail via your email, but it’s designed for the convenience of being able to access your messages when listening to your voicemail is otherwise unfeasible. PhoneTag is not free, and if you need to transcribe more than 40 messages per month, you will need to sign up for the $29.95 PhoneTag Unlimited plan. However, this service works with all major US carriers, including AT&T, Alltel, Cincinnati Bell, Sprint, Skype, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Virgin. So if you are looking to enhance your voicemail for your iPhone without all the bells and whistles offered by ON Voicefeed or YouMail, PhoneTag is a great choice.
Do you use any apps or services to enhance your iPhone’s voicemail? Be sure to share your favorites in the comments.