Make Free Phone Calls Over Wi-Fi/Data Using Talkatone [Android & iOS]

shutterstock glossy phone icon   Make Free Phone Calls Over Wi Fi/Data Using Talkatone [Android & iOS]In the future, your phone will only need a data connection. Paying for voice minutes and text messages will be an outdated concept and you’ll be able to communicate entirely over Wi-Fi. Google already offers free calls from your web browser, but they don’t offer this feature on smartphones to avoid upsetting the carriers. Talkatone does what Google won’t and offers free calls and texts over Wi-Fi.

Talkatone piggybacks off Google’s infrastructure, so it only offers free calls to the US and Canada. If you’re a Google Voice user, you can also receive phone calls and use text messages. Talkatone can even turn that iPod Touch, iPad, or Android tablet into a phone.

Making Free Mobile Calls

Talkatone is available from Google Play and the Apple App Store. The screenshots here are from the Android app, but the app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is more mature and should work similarly. The free version is ad-supported. There’s also a premium version that removes the ads and offers improved call quality, among other features – but the free version works just fine.

Launch Talkatone and you’ll be prompted to add a Google or Facebook account. You’ll have to provide a Google account to take advantage of the free calls.

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Outgoing Calls

You’ll see a dialpad after Talkatone connects. You can also use the icons at the top of the screen to select a number from your contacts, recently called list, or favorites.

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Placing a call is as easy as dialing the number. No further configuration needed!

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If you have never placed a phone call from Gmail’s web interface before, you may need to open Gmail in your web browser and place a single outgoing call before Talkatone will work properly with your Google account.

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You can also participate in VoIP calls over Google Talk or Facebook. Use the Contacts pane to start calls with your Google Talk or Facebook contacts.

SMS Messages & Incoming Calls

If you’re in the USA, read on – you can use Talkatone with your Google Voice account to send text messages and receive incoming phone calls. Talkatone has the features that should be built into the official Google Voice app, allowing you to use your Google Voice account entirely over a Wi-Fi or data connection. The How To screen under the Help menu will guide you through the setup process, if you need the help.

To receive incoming calls, log into your Google Voice account and enable the “Forward to Google Chat” option. You must also be signed out of the chat feature in Gmail.

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Talkatone runs in the background once you sign in with it, so you’ll get a notification when you receive a call. Place a call to yourself to verify everything is working properly.

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To get SMS support working, enable the “Text Forwarding” feature in Google Voice to forward text messages to your email. Once it’s enabled, you can send and receive SMS messages from Talkatone.

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Status Message

By default, Talkatone advertises itself by adding itself to your Google Talk status message when you’re using it. You can change this – open the Settings screen, tap Accounts and tap the name of your Google account to customize your status.

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Adjusting Call Quality

The Call Quality settings screen offers a variety of options to control call quality, with separate settings for Wi-Fi and cellular data connections. You can optimize Talkatone for high-quality calls over Wi-Fi and low-bandwidth calls over the cellular network.

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For more awesome apps, check out our list of the best Android apps, best iPhone apps, or best iPad apps. We also have free, full guides to Android, iOS, the iPhone, and the iPad.

If you try Talkatone, leave a comment and let us know how well it works for you. If you prefer another VoIP app instead, let us know which one!

Image Credit: Glossy Phone Icon Button via Shutterstock

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31 Comments -

Nathan

Kind of skeptical in giving my google username/password to login into the account.

Chris Hoffman

Always a concern. If you use a one-time password, you can revoke access later.

Actually, if you just want free outgoing calls, there’s nothing to stop you from creating a Google account just for Talkatone and not using it for anything else.

Chris Hoffman

I can’t edit my post, so I should also mention: Talkatone is also a well-reviewed, popular application. So it should be one of the safer ones to trust, I’d hope.

John Doe

Not letting a company like Google /or anyone else for that matter/ link all my friends together, link my accounts and get more data about me. In case anyone wonders why:
1. I usually use secure passwords not based on my personal information or surroundings. But I still hate the possibility of someone e-stalking me and e.g.: rob my house, because either me or somebody of my friends says publicly that I’m on a holiday far away from home and I won’t return for two weeks.

2. Not using any e-paying methods. Data can be intercepted and weak encryption broken. Contact free cards [be it a credit card for example] send the data up to a 2-3 meter radius. Why should I let anyone record my data and later on have my account emptied. And no, there are almost no insurances for this except a PIN which IMO loses all the purpose for “contact free” payments.

3. I’m not aware of breaking the law causally, but I’m horrified of surveillance that would be processed, stored and either stolen or sold to some companies. What for? Most of the information can only be misused in some petty way, since I don’t react to most ads.

As for calls via internet… plenty protocols available just make sure you have the same clients. It’s not like we couldn’t replace those damn carriers by internet access. Technologically it’s possible. But then they couldn’t make such huge profits. [The real cost of 1 message via SMS is less than 0.1 cent for example…]

Ron F

Not to be disrespectful, but that sounds like an awfully paranoid view of things, like there is some guy sitting in a room somewhere spending 24 hours a day just to monitor YOU.

The truth is that companies like Google, when they collect data on you, simply do it so that the ads they send you can be more targeted (if you like sports they offer you baseball tickets instead of tampons). You’re going to see the ads anyway if you’re using ad-supported products and services, so why not have them at least have a prayer of being relevant?

As for someone coming to rob your house because you Facebooked to the world that you will be on vacation, a little prudence about what you post and in how much detail and perhaps some basic command of Facebook privacy settings would solve that issue without a need for going off the grid.

The fact is that no one is “out to get you.” Companies, when they spend time, energy and money to find out about you, are only interested in figuring out whether you are likely to be interested in whatever they want to sell you. That’s their one and only reason for existing, much less tracking information about people.

Chris Hoffman

Talkatone is an interface to the old telephone system, too. The government has hooks to monitor that, anyway — conversations on telephones aren’t perfectly private in the first place, sadly.

john carpenter

Hey holly guess itis more than shay say hi to ur dude

Mitesh

I use Viber.. It is supported almost in all the countries

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for sharing. It looks good, but it looks like you can only call people with Viber installed. Talkatone is neat because it can call real phones in Canada and the US.

olivier

Hi Chris,
I use another similar app: TextMe+Call. I can call real phones for free over WiFi and 3G. I can also send free SMS messages. The calls are free – although I need to “earn” free minutes through ads.
-olivier

Chris Hoffman

Ouch. Any reason you prefer TextMe+Call given that you have to put up with the ads? That sounds really, really obnoxious.

olivier

I like it because it is all in one. I have a unique number for free texts and calls. I can call any phone number. Ads are not obnoxious to deal with. I understand folks need to make some revenue and the quality of the calls is great.

Chris Hoffman

That sounds pretty cool, then! Interesting service.

JP Palacio

Textme+call assigns you a number. This solves the problem for that person who’s cautious of using google account. However, it also prevents anyone trying to reach you through your old phone number.

Chris Hoffman

Neat. For Google Voice users (US only, sadly — I don’t even have it, as a Canadian), Talkatone and similar services have the advantage of being integrated with Google Voice. But then, you’re right — security is a concern, particularly with one’s Google account.

Austin

Sounds pretty good, maybe wqorth giving a try. I use a very similar app called Groove IP which works well, so I don’t know if this one is better or not, but works awesome on my Samsung Galaxy Player (Wifi, no data plan/3G/Mobile calling) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gvoip&hl=en

Chris Hoffman

Yup, I’ve heard of GrooVe IP. That’s why I was excited about Talkatone — GrooVe IP and similar programs cost money, while Talkatone is free.

if you’ve already paid for GrooVe, you may be better off sticking to it — you probably get the features Talkatone includes as premium ones (not sure, never used it). But for people that don’t want to shell out any money, there’s Talkatone.

Chris Hoffman

Actually, it looks like there’s now a “GrooVe IP Lite.” Interesting, that didn’t exist when I was originally researching this post.

GrooVe IP Lite doesn’t include support for calls over data, though — only wi-fi.

Austin

Yeah, I just tried out Talkatone real quick and it seems to work well, no better or worse than Groove IP in my very basic testing. I see no reason to switch, but this is a very good option, so I’ll keep this in mind for recommending to other people (along with Groove IP). Good app :)

Rudyanto Liang

Hate that iPod 1G neither have an internal mic nor support iOS 4.0..

Chris Hoffman

At least you can use an external mic! (at least, I think you can.)

Krishan Patel

Hi. I wonder what time you are going to bee here

Tina

Why, are you having a party?

TJ

Am I invited?

Sherman Helmsley

Performance fleece i’ll be the best dressed!

Josh

So i can make calls to my friend in Canada for free? Unless of course i’m using my data plan if i’m not connected to wifi

suman

i don’t understand this site free call

brendan butler

I am just wondering if there is a way to make wifi/data calls with a rogers Nokia Lumia 710 in canada??. I have found a text app but no call apps.

Roberta Metalious

I don’t understand the forwarding process. Will I get charged minutes on my mobile phone if that’s the forwarding number I use?