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Google Voice will soon no longer be able to forward text messages to other phone numbers

One of the handier features of Google Voice is the ability to send text messages via your phone’s original number and messaging app. Unfortunately, Google Voice is now set to lose this message forwarding capability “soon.”

With message forwarding, Google Voice is able to send a copy of your incoming messages to your carrier-based phone number, even allowing you to reply to these messages directly from your SMS app of choice without opening the Google Voice app. In a similar process, these messages can also be forwarded to your preferred email address.

An update to the Google Voice app, version 2021.10, began rolling out today via the Play Store, and in it, our APK Insight team discovered a line that points to message forwarding to phones being discontinued. So far, the notice does not appear to be live in the Android or web apps.

Message forwarding to linked numbers will stop working soon.

Following up on this discovery, we’ve found that the support page about Google Voice’s message forwarding has been updated to also share the unfortunate announcement.

Important: Message forwarding to linked numbers will stop soon because mobile carriers have started to block these messages.

From what we can understand of the terse notice, some cell phone carriers have begun blocking the incoming messages from the “shadow numbers” that power Google Voice’s forwarding feature. The carriers’ blockage is likely part of ongoing efforts to eliminate spam calls and messages, and Google would seemingly rather discontinue the forwarding than have it not work with specific carriers.

No specific timeline was shared for when Google intends to pull the plug on this particular feature of Voice. Importantly, the email-based message forwarding should continue to work as normal and is not affected by this change.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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