[Android] Use Your Native Dialer With TextNow

One of our most requested features, TextNow is happy to announce that you can now opt-into using your native dialer with TextNow! You'll now be able to use your device's built-in dialer (i.e. the green phone icon), or the TextNow dialer, whichever you choose.

Here's a quick run-down of how to turn it on (and off), along with what changes you'll see between using the native and TextNow dialers. Note that this applies to devices with Android Marshmallow (6.0) and above. 

As we rollout this new feature over the course of the next week or so, you should see this interstitial pop up on your TextNow device. Tap Let's get to it! to continue. (If you close the interstitial, you will opt out of the native dialer program.)




After clicking Allow, you'll see this next screen asking you to tap OK to allow TextNow to use the native dialer. Tap OK on this page.




You can check to make sure TextNow has access to the native dialer by going to the TextNow main menu > Settings > Calling > Default Calling App. If it's greyed out or off, the native dialer won't be used. You can turn the native dialer off or on by tapping on the toggle switch.




Once you’re in the Native Dialer experiment, you’ll see the phrase Cellular connection at the top of your call, showing that your call is using the cellular (i.e. PSTN) network, as shown:



You should be aware of some key differences between using the native dialer and the TextNow dialer during PSTN calls. (PSTN refers to the publicly switched telephone network - a fancy way to refer to the cell phone voice network. Calls over data (i.e. wifi or 3G/4G) are VoIP calls (voice over IP), while calls over the cellular network are PSTN.) 

Some important differences to remember between PSTN and VoIP:

  • Calls cannot be placed on hold on PSTN. (For example, you cannot complete a conference call on PSTN, as it would involve placing your call on hold in order to conference in a third party.)
  • You can, however, receive another call while on the line with your current call (i.e. call waiting).


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