Whether you have a mobile phone or landline, nuisance calls have gotten to the point where unbearable. To do something about it, I signed up for YouMail to see if I could stop robocalls and other unwanted calls.
In this article, we’ll review the pros and cons of YouMail and find out whether it does what it’s supposed to do: Stop spam calls.
YouMail review: Does it really stop spam and robocalls?
If you don’t think it’s bad yet, just wait. Spam calls are reaching epidemic levels. In fact, it’s quite possible that nearly half of all mobile phone traffic is spam calls, according to a recent report on the topic.
After looking for a solution to stop robocalls that I get at work, at home and everywhere in between, I decided to give YouMail a try. Here’s what you need to know.
What is YouMail and how does it work?
YouMail describes itself as being in the business of “visual voicemail services.” That’s a fancy way of saying that they record, log and transcribe voicemails so that you can see them in your email inbox.
The way it works is that YouMail forwards your missed calls, including those identified as spam, to an access number it provides, where YouMail answers.
“Once we receive your missed call, we play your designated voicemail greeting and deposit the message in your inbox,” YouMail’s website says.
Spam callers should hear an “Out of service” greeting when they dial your number, which should discourage them from calling again.
YouMail is free (although they do offer paid Plus and Professional versions).
Can you use YouMail with your phone?
You can use YouMail with your phone. As a matter of fact, to operate properly, the service will need your phone number.
How to set up YouMail and get a new phone number
On your desktop, go to YouMail.com to sign up.
1. Sign up at YouMail
You’ll enter your current phone number to use the service. A new phone number — or extra line — is only available on the Professional version of YouMail.
2. Input your plan information
Once you sign up with your phone number, YouMail will automatically detect your carrier or ask you to enter it and select whether you have a prepaid plan or a traditional one.
3. Get your PIN
Next, YouMail will generate a four-digit PIN that you’ll need to log in to your YouMail. Keep this number somewhere safe. It will also prompt you to open the app to complete your setup.
4. Go through the activation codes
Once I opened the app, it instructed me to “call” three numbers that act as activation codes to unlock many of YouMail’s features. After each “call,” a new screen listed the many features I had enabled.
Once you do that, you’re in business: You’ve got YouMail!
Now, you’ll be able to access your inbox, conferences and greetings and more from desktop. Here’s how that looks:
On your phone, you’ll want to enable spam call blocking. To do that on an iPhone, go to SETTINGS > PHONE > CALL BLOCKING & IDENTIFICATION, then toggle on YouMail.
Once you’ve enabled call blocking, you’re all set. You’ll be able to take advantage of several features immediately, including:
- Manually blocking nuisance numbers: Click the + sign from the Call Blocking page in the app
- Choosing a default greeting: In SETTINGS, you can choose from among six greetings. Just click the audio at the bottom of the screen to hear each one.
One thing to note: You will need to tell your callers (those that you want to hear from) that they’ll need to press 8 when they call you to hear your real voicemail greeting.
To test the service, YouMail sent a spam call (which I’m instructed to decline) to my phone. Here is that looked like. Notice that it displays the phone number (YouMail’s number, by the way) and length of the call:
Clark’s take: Is YouMail any good?
Money expert Clark Howard says that YouMail is invaluable to him when he’s on the go.
“What makes YouMail so great is that your voicemails come to you in an app,” he says. “So for me, when I travel, instead of having to call in, I can listen to them three different ways using the app.
“The best thing about it is if I’m traveling outside the United States,” Clark says.
“I can listen to my voicemails over Wi-Fi. On the data side, I don’t have to make a phone call to listen to my messages.”
After using YouMail for a bit, I’ve notices there are some definite positives about the service, but there are also a few drawbacks.
YouMail Pros and Cons
|Easy-to-use interface||You only get 20 in-app transcriptions per month with the free plan|
|Get your messages via phone and desktop||Collects your location data, contact list and other personal info|
|Accurate transcriptions||Desktop version a bit clunky|
Here’s the bottom line: Because it only allows a limited number of transcriptions, YouMail’s free version is only really useful for limited use.
Whether you decide to use YouMail or not, sooner or later you’re probably going to want to do something about robocalls. This service does what it says it does: stops spam calls.