Necessity is the mother of invention. In other words, need drives ingenuity. We were cold, so we discovered fire. We were slow, so we invented the wheel. We couldn’t see, so we invented the light bulb. After each initial breakthrough, we didn’t stop there. That’s why we have incredibly feature-rich smart thermostats, fantastically fun-to-drive electric cars, and RGB smart bulbs to light our homes in special colors for any occasion. If necessity is the mother of invention, innovation is necessity’s prodigy grandchild.

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That brings us to voicemail. We were missing calls, so we invented the first answering machines in the early 1930s. By 1949, they became a commercial success. But if we stopped there, we’d still be fast-forwarding cassettes to get to the next message. There might not even be mobile smartphones if we stopped innovating after the old crank phone — and no phone shoulder rests, no popsockets … let’s not even get started down this rabbit hole.

In any case, analog answering machines gave way to digital answering machines in the mid 1980s, which eventually gave way to voicemail really catching on by the 1990s. In 2007, visual voicemail hit the consumer scene like the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in ’64. Most memorably, Apple rolled out its very first iPhone that summer with visual voicemail as one of its most prominent features. Meanwhile, yours truly (us: YouMail) dropped the first third-party, multi-platform visual voicemail service for mobile phones. That’s right, we’ve been voicemail innovators for as long as Apple. It should come as no surprise to hear that as much as you trust Apple Visual Voicemail as a bedrock feature of your phone, you can trust YouMail as the gold standard in third-party voicemail innovation.

But why consider an alternative when the built-in offering seems adequate? Well, those old crank phones were adequate too, but we’d take a waterproof, 5G, OLED display, flagship phone with a world-class camera over that old cranker any day of the week. When it comes to visual voicemail, here are seven ways YouMail levels up your experience for free:

1. Access from any device

Expecting an important call, but you left your Apple or Android device back home on your nightstand? Lucky for you, if you have YouMail, you can access your voicemails from any device: your tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Maybe your phone is just in the other room, but your tablet is right next to you on the couch. Hey, we get it, we’d rather review that voicemail without getting up too. Permission: granted

2. Automatically recognize and remove spam

Your built-in smartphone services offer an outstanding experience out of the box, but you have access to so much more. App stores allow Apple and Google to effectively outsource enhanced features and functions to third parties. This is what Apple means when it says, “There’s an app for that.” Sure, Apple and Google could attempt to build their own robust robocall blocking universe, but why take away time and resources from building super-cool phones, especially when YouMail already exists. They allow YouMail to be set as your default visual voicemail service for precisely this reason. YouMail’s Visual Voicemail automatically recognizes and filters out spam to protect your privacy, as well as many other great features, for free.

3. Future robocall prevention

Other services might just label suspicious calls and voicemails as potential spam, but YouMail takes it a step further. When we’re sure the call you’re receiving is from a bad number, we play a “number out of service” greeting instead of your normal greeting. Even when you don’t answer those suspicious calls and your regular greeting picks it up, robocalls can serve their purpose by verifying your number is active and potentially vulnerable to future attempts. The number-out-of-service greeting gets your number purged from their lists and future attempts. Brilliant!

4. Improved caller ID

The power behind YouMail’s advanced features is our Robocall Index. Our extensive database of millions of flagged numbers is unmatched. We know exactly when the bad guys are calling, and thanks to our patented technology and proprietary data, we can take the best action to ensure your privacy and security.

5. Email and text forwarding

For the ultimate in accessibility anywhere, you can have your voicemail transcriptions automatically forwarded to your email or your text messaging app. When your voicemails are transcribed, you can quickly scan the important information rather than having to listen to entire rambling voice messages. And in this hyper-remote world of disparate communications out the wazoo — such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Discord, social DMs, and on — we give you a bit of your sanity back by streamlining your voicemails to your email or text inboxes. YouMail’s machine transcriptions also are high-quality, with a premium human-edited transcription service available too.

6. Custom greetings

Whether you want to offer a highly personalized experience for your customers or just have a little fun with your friends, YouMail’s custom voicemail greetings have something to offer for everyone. Record your own greetings or choose one from our vast library of offerings. Set custom greetings for all callers or choose specific greetings for individual callers. The world is your oyster.

7. Searchable voicemail

When the spoken word is converted to text, a world of possibility opens up. Not only do voicemail messages become easier to skim, they become easier to organize. Perhaps you’re looking for that voice message you received about a month ago about a killer deal on popsockets. But which voicemail was it? You could painstakingly listen to every voicemail you received around that time, you could even scan the transcription of each manually. Or, with YouMail (or via your email or text inbox) you can search for the word “popsocket” and quickly see all relevant voicemails instantly. As you can imagine, this is incredibly useful for business applications when searching for that critical message you need right away.

Signing up for a free YouMail account is easy as pie and making it your default visual voicemail is a piece of cake. Invention is good, but isn’t innovation awesome?

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