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Make Calls From Your iPad With Talkatone

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The iPad, even the new 4G version, can’t make phone calls when you take it out of the box. But, with a free app and a Google Voice account you can turn your iPad into a phone and leave your iPhone at home.

Talkatone is a free app for the iPhone and iPad that allows you to make and receive calls on your iPad over WiFi, 3G or 4G. There’s no need to jailbreak your iPad or pay extra money to your carrier. If you have the new iPad with 4G, this is cheaper than getting a smartphone.

talkatone

Make calls from your iPad with Talkatone.

Talkatone works with Google Voice and Facebook, and despite the prompt to invite your Google Talk contacts to use Talkatone, no one you call needs to have the app installed. Any call to your Google Voice number will ring on your iPad.

talkatone notification

Once signed in, you can dial any number with the touchpad or pick from your list of Google or Facebook contacts to make a call. You can also send and receive text messages on your iPad.

There are no fees to make and receive calls and texts in the U.S., you will need to sign up for a free Google Voice account. When you call or text, your Google Voice number will show up on caller ID.

I tested out the app, making several calls from my iPad over WiFi with good results. During my first call, the recipient reported poor call quality at the start, but it improved after a minute. Subsequent calls had good call quality on speaker and Bluetooth. Sorry, you can’t hold the iPad up to your head to make calls.

Talkatone reminds me why I wish I could buy a phone with a data only plan. I can make and receive calls over the data plan on my phone, but the carriers don’t want to give up the lucrative minutes business.

The free version of the app shows ads, but you can pay to hide ads or buy an all in one subscription that lets you link multiple Google accounts, hide the ads and enjoy higher quality calls.

If you have a new iPad WiFi+4G, or even the older 3G iPad, you can turn it into a phone replacement with Talkatone.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

15 Comments

  1. Tim Davies

    03/21/2012 at 9:46 am

    I had been using Talkatone on my iPhone with a iPad SIM for over a year. With a little APN changing magic(no jailbreak required, but it does make it better with GV plug ins)

    Now I use my iPad SIM in my unlocked Galaxy NOTE. I have a data only phone plan :-) and you can still get one, all-be-it a limited data one (I have unlimited)

    My father is gibing me his Unlimited data plan that he does not use any more from his iPad 1..so that I can have a unlimited plan on my new iPad 3. :-)

    If your on Android and want to do this, GrooveIP does the same thign with just phone calls. you will have to use the GV app for text’s.

    • Cristie

      03/21/2012 at 6:55 pm

      Talkatone is now available on Android as well with the same features as iOS version (calls, texts). And it is free unlike GrooveIP.

  2. Adelantado

    03/21/2012 at 12:17 pm

    How can I use my I-pad as a phone? It doesn’t even have a microphone as well as any of the ordinatly features android equipment. I wish my wife gave me a real pad instead of this glass-faced excuse to purchase apps from Apple.

    • ol1bit

      03/21/2012 at 2:24 pm

      Bluetooth headset

  3. JamesDTaylorSTL

    03/22/2012 at 5:36 pm

    What about using Talkatone with NetZero’s new free 4G mobile WIFI hot spot? ($100)  How many minutes of phone service could you get on their 250MB/mo plan?  Would love to see an article on this.   

  4. Babette Hogan

    04/01/2012 at 7:30 pm

    Anyone know why are my google voice calls posting onto my facebook page? I’m using GV Connect and Talkatone with Google Voice. 

  5. Artem Soloviev

    04/08/2012 at 9:01 am

    I have been using my GV # and Talkatone app on my iPad exactly a year !!! My wife and I used to pay around $195 for a family plan with txt, night and weekends, and Internet on both iPhones… Now, we each use Talkatone on our iPads and we ONLY pay $30 for 3G Internet service per month, total of $60… So a savings of about $140 per month !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! X 12 months :)))))))))) We are extremely happy !!!

    • Nathan Cowen

      05/21/2012 at 10:13 am

      I am contemplating dropping my cell phone and switching to an iPad with VOIP. How do you like it? Do you find it to work well when you are not in a 3G spot, ie Edge Network?

  6. Mark L. Ward, Jr.

    04/24/2012 at 7:12 pm

    You can get a phone that does the equivalent of a data-only plan: have you heard of Republic Wireless?

  7. Dave

    05/25/2012 at 11:15 am

    Big thanks to Josh for this article. I have an ipad2 and have been using a Skype only data plan since November using AT&T 3G. The problem with Skype on the iPad is that the Skype app does not allow Bluetooth (had it but took it away..hmm Microsoft?). I had read that Skype always had better VoIP than talkatone but after using talkatone, I can tell you the quality is about the same AND I can use my Bluetooth. This is huge.

    As for Nathan’s question: you really can’t use a data plan VoIP with less than 3 bars in 3G. Basically you want a minimum of 4 bars in 3G. If you are less than 3 bars in a 3G area, you can let it go to voicemail and then call back when you are in a better 3G or wifi location. OR…just text them back since texting works in minimal conditions. Better yet, you could get a regular dumb phone for really cheap (use calling card) as a backup plan in poor reception areas. Sure it’s a sacrifice but look at Artem’s post about the savings. He’s right on the money. In fact, you could even sign up for a 250mb $15 a month plan if you were mostly close to wifi areas.

  8. Jim 54

    07/15/2012 at 12:46 pm

    Is it possible to use talktone in Europe ?

  9. juan

    10/13/2012 at 9:47 pm

    if you are calling from another country to USA the recipient would have to pay an extra money to receive the call?

  10. D

    11/16/2012 at 6:58 pm

    I have used talkatone in Europe to call the US. If you want to call a number outside of the US, it will use your Google Voice account and you pay a very minimal amount, e.g. $.02/minute to call almost anywhere in Europe. The recipient of talkatone calls does not pay to receive a call.

  11. Renee

    01/10/2014 at 6:48 pm

    I don’t understand … talkaphone website says calls to Canada are free but then it says Canadians cannot receive inbound calls because there is no googlevoice there. How can you call Canada if they can’t receive the call?

  12. Joy caw

    02/09/2014 at 7:18 pm

    I’m trying to enter my IPad to become a talkatone users but I’m very prostrated I can’t enter ????? Need help !!!!!

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