Frequently Asked Questions


I downloaded and opened GrowlVoice, but I can't find it. Where is it?

Once you open GrowlVoice, you'll find it located in your Mac's menu bar, along the top of your screen to the left of your system clock, wi-fi status, and other menu bar items. Look for the "phone-in-a-chat-bubble" icon, and click it to get started.

How do I reply to a new message notification?

Just click on the notification! It's that simple.

If you're using a Growl notification style that is unclickable (like "Music Video") you will be unable to reply to message notifications by clicking on them. You'll have to either switch styles, or double-click on the message in the GrowlVoice Inbox.

What does the anchor button do?

When you toggle the anchor button on, the GrowlVoice window will not be dismissed when you shift focus to another application (it is "anchored" to the screen, in a sense). With GrowlVoice in the anchored state, you can easily copy-paste text into the message window or interact with other applications without losing what you've typed so far.

When the anchor button is toggled off, it acts like any other menu bar item—its window is dismissed when you click outside of it, so that you don't have to dismiss it manually every time you're checking your inbox, for example.

How do I transition from the GrowlVoice trial to the full version?

Navigate to GrowlVoice in the Mac App Store, and click the price button right under the GrowlVoice icon. You may be prompted that "GrowlVoice is already installed and was not purchased from the Mac App Store" with the options "Buy" and "Cancel"—it's just making sure that you aren't overwriting a copy of an app that's been purchased outside of the app store. Since you only have the GrowlVoice trial installed, select "Buy"—the App store will overwrite the trial version, and your full version of GrowlVoice will be installed automatically.

What does the character count in the bottom left of the text window mean?

The character count corresponds to the number of texts that you're going to send. Each SMS is limited to 160 characters, so a count of 2.12 in GrowlVoice means that you're going to be sending two SMSes to the recipient—the first one of size 160, and the second one with 12 characters remaining of its 160 available characters.


Does GrowlVoice function as a VOIP phone on my computer? Can I make and receive calls with it?

No. GrowlVoice is an interface to Google Voice. It does not function as a phone. You can initiate calls to your Google Voice phones through GrowlVoice, but it does not make calls directly.

Wait, so why doesn't GrowlVoice make calls then? Isn't that what Google Voice is?

Nope, you're thinking of Google Talk, specifically its "Call Phones from Gmail" feature. From Google's official description of Google Voice:

Google Voice allows users to unify all of their telephones with a single number, gives them more control over all of their phone and voice-based communications, and makes it easy for them to access this information from anywhere on the web -- by phone or by email.

Google Voice is simply a telephone management system. It doesn't actually function as a phone, it just routes calls and texts from your Google Voice number to your Google Voice connected phones. Google Talk can just be used as one of those phones.

Ok, I get it. Then why isn't GrowlVoice a Google Talk client too?

GrowlVoice doesn't place calls through Google Talk because Google doesn't offer an easy way for developers to interface with their "Call Phones from Gmail" system. If Google decides to offer a simple API for the Google Talk calling system, rest assured that it'll be the first thing we implement in GrowlVoice!


GrowlVoice says that I have a "Lite" Google Voice account. I can't send texts. What do I do?

If GrowlVoice displays "Lite" under your username in the GrowlVoice accounts preferences pane, it means that you have a lite Google Voice account. A lite Google Voice account is primarily for Voicemail management, with no phone number directly associated with it. From Google Voice's FAQ page:

Google Voice Lite is for a person who wants to have the same voicemail for all of his/her phones, and who doesn’t want to choose a Google Voice number. Though, we highly recommend choosing a Google Voice number (a “full” versus a “lite” account). It’s free and gives you access to the full suite of Google Voice features.

For a full comparison of the different account types on Google Voice, see this comparison table. To send texts, you'll have to transfer your account to one of the other types, or register for a new full Google Voice number on another Google account.

When I try to log into my account, I get the error: "Sign in error: An unknown error has occurred; the request contained invalid input or was malformed."

This error is caused by GrowlVoice's authentication mechanism with Google, ClientLogin. If your account is hosted and uses either SAML or Open ID, it will be incompatible with GrowlVoice, and this error will occur. If you purchased GrowlVoice and are unable to use it with your primary account due to this error, please contact us and we'll try to get things sorted out.


What inbox keyboard shortcuts does GrowlVoice support?

GrowlVoice supports almost all of the Google Voice webapp's keyboard shortcuts. These keyboard shortcuts can be activated from any of GrowlVoice's inboxes. To enable the shortcuts that mirror those of Google Voice's webapp, check "Use Google Voice Shortcuts" in the "Advanced" pane of GrowlVoice's preferences.

Shortcut Action
c Place call
m Send text
esc Close window
return Open selected message
j Select next message
k Select previous message
shift-↓ shift-j Extend selection with next message
shift-↑ shift-k Extend selection with previous message
/ Search
e Archive selected messages
s Star selected messages
# Move selected messages to trash
! Mark selected messages as spam
shift-i Mark selected messages as read
shift-u Mark selected messages as unread
g then i cmd-1 Go to inbox
g then s cmd-2 Go to starred
cmd-3 Go to voicemail
cmd-4 Go to text
g then h cmd-5 Go to history
cmd-shift-a Anchor window
What search operators does GrowlVoice support?

GrowlVoice supports all of the search operators that the Google Voice webapp does.

Is GrowlVoice scriptable?

Yep! GrowlVoice supports multiple URL schemes, which can be scripted a variety of ways.

The schemes that GrowlVoice supports are tel:, sms:, and growlvoice:. These schemes can be used to open the "place call" or "send text" windows with numbers pre-populated in them.

For example, to send a text to 123-456-7890, you would open the URL growlvoice:1234567890?text or sms:1234567890. On the same note, to call 123-456-7890, you would open the URL growlvoice:1234567890?call or tel:1234567890

In a shell script or terminal:

open "growlvoice:1234567890?text"

In Applescript:

open location "growlvoice:1234567890?text"


GrowlVoice is crashing. What do I do?

GrowlVoice 2.0 has a new built-in crash reporter. Select "Send Feedback" in the GrowlVoice preference menu and include a description of what you're doing when the crash happens. The crash details will be included automatically as long as you select the "send details" checkbox.

The people I'm texting see weird or incorrect characters in my messages.

Update: Version 2.0.3 fixes this bug by automatically replacing these characters when a text is sent.

This can be caused by ellipses (…), open/closed quotes (“”) and other unicode characters being inserted into your text messages. In OSX Lion, when you type some common punctuation such as ellipses and quotes, they will be automatically replaced with their single-character unicode equivalents (... gets changed to … and "" gets changed to “”). If you look carefully at the characters, you'll see that the new quotes are curly instead of straight, and the new ellipses is just one character instead of three periods.

Because the SMS protocol only supports a small range of characters, some phones will be unable to render these characters that OSX Lion is inserting. As a result, the people that you're texting might be greeted with something that look like "□" (or some other character) in place of the intended punctuation.

To prevent this replacement when you type in OSX Lion, open your "System Preferences", navigate to the "Language & Text" pane, and select the "Text" tab. You can then uncheck the row that specifics replace "..." with "…", select the "Smart Quotes" that aren't curly, and change any other suspicious character replacements that might be affecting your text entry.

I'm not getting notifications of new texts, calls, or voicemails.

A lack of notifications could be caused by your system clock being slightly off. GrowlVoice compares the time that unread messages arrive on Google's servers to your system clock—if it's off, GrowlVoice is unable to tell if unread messages are actually new when it updates. Make sure that the "Set date and time automatically" checkbox is checked in the "Date & Time" pane of your system preferences. You can re-synchronize the system clock by unchecking and rechecking this preference.

Another cause of a lack of notifications could be Growl misbehaving—try switching to GrowlVoice's "basic" notification style from the "Notifications" preference pane—you can send yourself a text to test if notifications are working that way.

I'm getting notifications of everything except missed calls.

There's an checkbox in the "Calls" tab of your Google Voice settings titled "Place missed calls in the inbox". Enabling this will allow GrowlVoice to notify you of new missed calls. You can find the setting here.

I'm getting an "unable to send text / place call" error.

This error can be caused by a number of things. First, make sure that Google Voice is reachable by navigating to Second, make sure that you haven't sent ~500 texts today. Google Voice limits the total number of texts that you can send through a Google Voice account to curb spamming, and if you've sent more than 500 texts it can cause this error.

If none of the above are causing the error, please contact us via the built-in feedback form. To do so, select "Send Feedback" in the GrowlVoice preference menu - please specify that you're receiving the "unable to send text / place call error".

Only some of my contacts are showing up when I search.

If you're using Google Contacts, GrowlVoice only pulls the first 7500 contacts from Google. If you have more than that, please do yourself a favor and clean out some of them.


I can't find my question here.

We'll be happy to answer your question. Contact us here.