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Google Voice is broken in Android 4.2

We're hearing lots of rumblings about Google Voice issues with Android 4.2, starting with the early Nexus 4 review units that went out, but that could've been blamed on pre-release software. Well it seems that the final 4.2 software has the same bits that make the Google Voice app crash as well. Going to the Google Voice app, hitting the button to create a new message and attempting to add a recipient causes a complete force close of the app -- every single time.

Now, this is likely an issue in Google Voice itself, which if we had to choose would be the preferred place to find the error simply because it can be updated quickly in the Play Store. Its still unfortunate to see an update completely break one of Google's own first-party apps. Hopefully the fix is coming soon. In the meantime, if you're a heavy Google Voice user you may want to hold off on that 4.2 update for your Galaxy Nexus.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Does it work when composing from dialer/contacts (or other apps,) where the recipient is pre-populated?
  • It will work if the convo is already started in the inbox. If you push the create new message button its instant crash.
  • You would think the Google guys who run the test software way ahead of time would be using Google Voice and realize this.
  • I'm not surprised. If Google employees were eating their own dogfood, the Google Voice app wouldn't have been stagnating since May of this year. It's obvious that they don't use it. It's badly in need of updating. Not only does it need a UI update, it has other bugs (like failing to use the correct caller ID after data network changes--WiFi to mobile). From a features standpoint, Google still hasn't enabled MMS. The message threading is also broken. The app (like most Google apps) is in perpetual BETA status. I realize that it's a "free" service, but if you're going to use our data, at least put some effort into making the app up to the standards that you want other developers to show in their Android apps. It's called leading by example. If Google won't put the effort into their own apps, why should they expect others to follow their guidelines?
  • I love the Android app. I like the UI too. Much better than the ugly and crappy iOS app. The only two features I'd love to see are MMS and threading for all messages but that's more to do with the service than the app. The app could pull off the threading though.
  • I agree with just about everything here, but I just wanted to point out that Google considers the "broken" style of threading a feature, not a bug. It is designed to not have all messages in one thread per user. The actual "bug" is that it does a poor job recognizing when a conversation is over when it starts a new one. This is all available for your review in the Google Voice Support forums. A simple solution would be to make it user toggled on the phone or in the web settings, but alas, we have this "feature" instead.
  • My Galaxy Nexus works fine...
  • it's not 4.2 is it? They are talking about the newer UI in 4.2. Galaxy Nexus phones are using 4.1.1 stock, unless you have a gsm version or are using a rom.
  • This reminds me of why I love companies such as Verizon so very much. Their rigorous testing procedures would NEVER let something of this magnitude slip through the cracks. Let's hope all is resolved soon!
  • Verizon does not test all apps ever provided by Google or other companies for that matter, they would have never found such an issue. They rightfully test the performance of their phone on the network, but they spend the time to ensure some software is blocked i.e. Wallet, and Tethering is locked to suck more money out of you even though you paid for a data plan with limited capacity already ..etc. And if they can they would add bloatware, monitoring software, pre-installed apps that you can't remove ..etc. That's what drags the process, and that why Carriers have to grow up and support truly open phones with a necessary but light weight / efficient testing process. Having said that, I love Google Voice, but I think it's not the most reliable when it comes to messaging i.e. too many stuck messages / queued ..etc. Also, lacks VOIP support although available via utilities i.e. GRoove, not fully integrated yet i.e. can't invoke it from quick replies when a phone rings, and worst of all can't send international SMS even if I'm willing to pay a fee for it..
  • @steve what a douche bag statement you must work for them stick to your apple sucking
  • What a crass reply! I do not work for Verizon, nor do I use apple products. I bought the droid nexus on launch day last year!
  • 1. Verizon would not have caught this, they wouldn't have even looked at the GVoice app.
    2. There's no such device as a "Droid Nexus".
  • droid nexus... hah, that's funny
  • Verizon only test the phone on their network and the network on the phone, they could care less how the os/ apps/ widgets opperates.
  • Does voicemail work? That's all I use gv for.
  • All I use it for too, hope it works. I <3 google voice visual voicemail!
  • Hopefully they'll update the GUI while they fix the bugs.
  • Let's hope. There a slew of UI changes I'd like to see in Voice (e.g., a "bubble" message list similar to what you typically see in the stock message app) and Talk (e.g., swipe to close conversation, long-press contacts to bring up a menu).
  • Google voice hasn't been updated since March 9th 2012. Google Now Voice to Google voice text hasn't worked since jellybean. It's starting to feel like an abandoned product. Unfortunately, I depend on it heavily. There is a bug report on it somewhere to which google has never responded.
  • I depend on it, too. Here is the bug report you mentioned: Google's treatment of Google Voice (or lack thereof) is evident. Given the lack of attention to some of the other glaring bugs, I'm not surprised at this newest bug. I tried to get Android Central's and Google's attention about the bluetooth/voice search bug, but it has fallen on deaf ears. Now that there is a more "in your face" bug with Jellybean 4.2, maybe the Google Voice app will get some much-needed attention. I just wish they'd fix the Bluetooth/Google Now Voice Search "Initializing" issue that has been going on since July. Given how much I depend on a WORKING Google Voice app, I won't be letting my Galaxy Nexus update to 4.2 until this is resolved.
  • Actually I was referring to: Sadly there are a dozens of these sitting out there in "New" status.
  • Ahh, yes, I've heard of this one, too. Yeah, the lack of response is frustrating to say the least.
  • I've been worried about this for a long time. I depend heavily on GV, but I doubt that it's a service that generates much money for Google, so I'm really concerned about long-term support of the service.
  • I used it often as well. I would easily pay 10 or 20 dollars a year for the service (especially if they enabled native WiFi calling).
  • Oh, absolutely. Hell, if they added wifi calling and MMS, I'd pay five bucks a month for it, easily.
  • It doesn't work on your phone? It doesnt work in my country :p
  • Still awaiting that fix many years on and counting. Yours sincerely The rest of the planet
  • I guess it goes to show that nothing is perfect. Not windows, not android, not iOS. Maybe we should cut these companies some slack. Just my 2 cents.
  • We know that mistakes and bugs will happen. That isn't so much an issue. The problem is that when the bugs are reported to Google, the reports go unanswered. We don't even get an acknowledgement from Google ("Thanks for reporting... We will get to it when we have time."...even that would be appreciated.) We get nothing. Just silence. That's the part that gets people upset.
  • Not my case (4.2 Galaxy Nexus)
  • same here. edit: i was able to reproduce these issues.
  • Google Voice hasn't worked as well since Ice Cream...been trying to tell you guys that. It's prettier in Jelly Bean, but doesn't work as fast, as accurately, or with as little information.
  • What does that mean? I have been using ICS since last December on my Vibrant. Then on my Nexus 7 (with GrooveIP) and now on my Galaxy S3. Google Voice has been working flawlessly. I'm not sure what fast, accurate or little information you mean.
  • I use Google Voice to make calls with my GV number from my Galaxy Nexus (not using VoIP). That's the number that everyone has for me. Ever since ICS, the app seems to randomly quit working at the worst times (without warning) and I end up making a call using my carrier's number instead of my Google Voice number. Obviously, that ends up confusing the people I call. I've had to revert to using a 3rd-party app (Google Voice Interceptor) to automatically call my Google Voice number and relay the call that way, because I could never tell when the Google Voice app was going to fail and make a call using the wrong caller ID. Using Google Voice Interceptor isn't as seamless as using the Google Voice app, but at least it works every time. SMS messages sometimes get delayed by several minutes to several hours. This doesn't happen often (that goodness), but it does happen. Granted, this may be as much a carrier issue as the app, but I don't seem to have the problem when I test with a 3rd-party app or the native messenger app. I can live with these annoyances, since I've found some workarounds, but if the app isn't going to be properly supported, Google needs to let people know so we can make other arrangements. Google needs to open up the APIs so that others can come up with a better app.
  • As far as I am concerned, it's mostly broken on 4.0.4 too. Hasn't worked correctly since first ICS update on the GS3.
  • Confirmed. FC when creating a new text in GV on 4.2. Both on GNex and Nexus7. Existing conversations work perfectly fine so if someone texts you or you already have texts open you are fine. New ones don't work.
  • Does this include new ones generated from inside the Contacts app?
  • This blog post assumes that GV works to begin with... it's barely functioning status on a daily basis, so I wouldn't consider this much worse. Unfortunately I bought into the GV hype when it launched, and used in on my BlackBerry. I've switched everyone over to my GV number, and the app doesn't work well enough to be reliable... so I'm slowly switching back to my cell phone number. Is it too much to ask for some integration into the phone with this? I mean.. why can't I set a contact to *always* or *just this once* in using GV to call like I can with so many other apps? Why isn't the SMS's all in one place, so that I can launch a GV SMS through the Messages app instead of through GV, and the respond later through the Messages app? The concept is great... the execution has failed. Maybe this time they will work on it and fix it whole.
  • I use GV heavily on my N7 ... it has worked fine for me... of course I am not using it for wifi calling ....
  • I use it as my only form of texting and switch ROMs almost daily. i reload GV with Titanium Backup and have literally never had any real issues with it. Yeah, the threading is busted to the point that its laughable. but having ZERO cell service and still being able to use my phone for wifi calling and messaging is almost as good as if I did have reception. I think using it in conjunction with other apps is where you're getting burned here.
  • It would get very annoying if it kept prompting me for every contact. It can do it as an app if you don't always want to use Google Voice. I use Voice Choice ( to exclude certain phone numbers from using Google Voice. And there are others that do the same. I too would prefer to use Handcent rather than GV for messaging. But I'd rather use GV texting than not have GV. I have had zero trouble with GV on ICS or JB.
  • I don't like being prompted every time I use the phone either.. but I don't see a way around it. Some people have my GV number, some have my cell phone number. I'd like the dialer to remember I call Person A with GV and Person B without GV... but that's not an option from what I can see... it's call everyone with GV or call no one with GV, or prompt you each and every time. The messaging is a pain. I can't seem to understand why the dialer prompts me to use GV, but the Messaging app doesn't. So, when I want to SMS someone via GV, then I go through that system to kick it off, but then I can respond through the Messaging app just fine. I don't like having two different messaging apps, but I can't kick of a GV SMS from Messaging. Transcripts have failed to work 90% of the time I've been on Android (Galaxy Nexus). I always got a transcription when I was on a BlackBerry, but 90% of the time I get "No transcript available". So much for the visual aspect, I have to stop and listen to the message to find out what's going on. Oh.. and if that message comes in on my GV number, it doesn't resolve the caller's name, so I'm left with the random GV number in the call log... doesn't help me know who called that way, especially without the Transcription part. On top of all that... I used to always call the same GV number on outgoing calls, which was great... I had that set up as a free number on Verizon. For some time now it calls random GV numbers, so the calling aspect was no longer free. That's what lead me to head back to my cell number... because I already had to up my minutes again to avoid overages I was trying to avoid with the fixed GV outgoing number. All in all I've only seen this app get worse since it's release and my use of it on Android has been far worse than it was on my BlackBerry.
  • Mine is working fine on Galaxy Nexus as well.
  • Works fine on my Kindle Fire running Cyanogenmod 10.
  • Thanks for the heads up
  • LOL!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess isheep think it worse than the whole maps thing
  • Ok, new update in Play Store fixes the problem.
  • @rlhammon have you tried Voice Choice? I use it for my conference line and a few other numbers to have my phone call out as its true cell number instead of the GV number. Works really well for me.
  • I have not, but downloaded it tonight. Description looks like this might work out. Thanks... I got tired of looking for something to fix the issues long ago.