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Why Don’t Answering Machines Work With My Smartphone?

Sunday, January 25th, 2015 by | Filed Under: Smartphones

Tomm from Pennsylvania writes:

I dumped my landline and hooked up a cell phone just for the house. I hooked phone to a Panasonic LINK TO CELL system with 4 phones and 1 base with answering machine at $169.00 ,however this machine does not answer cell calls only landline calls ,after doing some research I find NO answering machine on the market will answer cell calls.So I must physically pick up cell phone and use its answering features.Got any ideas More and more folks are dumping land lines So WHY hasn’t anyone come up with a machine that will work with cell calls.

Angry business woman shouting in mobile phone

Tomm, mainly because every cellphone already has a device that records your calls, the cell phone itself and its voicemail options.

Answering machine sales have been dropping for years. First, when most phone companies began to offer voice mail as an option and again when cell phones began to replace land lines. 

Since cell phones offer the convenience of voicemail right there on the phone, a device like an answering machine would be redundant.  Also remember that a cell phone is a very different device that a home phone.

In fact, a smartphone isn’t really a phone at all. It’s just a small tablet computer with an app that makes phone calls and a SIM card that allows a phone number to be assigned to the device.

Answering machines worked pretty simply. You plugged the phone line into the answering machine and the answering machine into your phone. 

Angry business woman shouting in mobile phone

The process for recording from a cell phone would be much more complicated. The call would somehow need to get from the phone app on your smartphone (which is a small tablet computer) to a recording device. Your cell number is tied to the SIM card in your phone, so your calls must come through the smartphone.  To work with a smartphone, an answering machine would have to somehow answer the incoming call on the phone app, communicate a message, record any message to you and hang up, all while bypassing the voice mail system for your phone.

More and more homes are giving up the idea of a centralized phone for the household and switching to each family member having their own device with its own voicemail system.  That makes a device like an answering machine more difficult to sell.

~ Cynthia

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12 Responses to “Why Don’t Answering Machines Work With My Smartphone?”

  1. Tomm says:

    Tomm again The idea behind this move was to eliminate the land line and this system did come with an answering machine.We each have our own cell phone but this 3rd phone is the home number and wanted to be hands free of the cell phone it self .I do understand the cell phone concept now thanks.The system trained us how to pick up the cell phone after a blinking light on all or any hand set.
    Darn I would rather use the answering machine that now sits on my desk as a phone charger.
    Thanks again

    • Jadesqr says:

      Hey Tomm, not sure if this helps but, a ‘land land’ is usually a euphemism for ‘VOIP’ from your ‘ISP’, pardon the acronyms, and is usually ‘bundled’ with your Internet access. We also use a ‘land line’ answering machine for all the junk calls and give out this number for business or emergency uses only. My answering machine has a list of ‘Remote Commands’ that we use our cell phones to access and manipulate to pick up the messages and leave up to date ‘announcements’. Good luck.

  2. Al Fonda says:

    “Answering machine sales have been dropping for years. First, when most phone companies began to offer voice mail as an option and again when cell phones began to replace land lines.”

    Explain, please. I suppose I’ve declined that option. I know nothing about it.

  3. Russell says:

    I just got off the phone with panasonic and Vtech, they both sell devices that connect your cell phone to a land line with an answering machine, however neither of them will use the answering machine without a land line.


  4. Kat Bafner says:

    There is a device called Gigaset One which will send your cellphone calls to a desktop answering machine. Bluetooth links the cellphone to Gigaset one. It can take calls from up to three cellphones.

    • Mike says:

      And I thought I was the only one that had this figured out lol.Xlink will do the same thing,just have to make sure and git the one with line out.I also have it connected to our Directv receivers for caller id.

  5. Arthor Wright says:

    I have also been unable to find an answering system that will take messages for a cell phone connected to the system. I would like to be able to screen calls live while at home, rather than just get caller ID then have to call my cell phone voice mail. Such a feature is not an outdated concept; it is something that I think most people would use. In fact, I wonder why cell phones have not included a live call screening ability.

  6. Keith Monson says:

    I sure can understand why Tomm would want an answering machine over using voicemail. Voicemail is a pain. You have to call yourself and go through all the prompts and enter a password and by the time you get to the call you don’t care anymore. I have two things I love. My talking caller ID and my answering machine. One button gets the message and one button deletes it. I’d advice Tomm to get his landline back! (use call forwarding to send you house calls to your cell when needed).

  7. Keith Monson says:

    I looked up on Amazon what Kat was talking about. Kat’s right but they discontinued that device and the comments suggest this
    Read the first comment and you will see it does what you want.

  8. Robert Murphy says:

    We still use a land line with an answering machine because we are in a “dead zone.” Believe it or not, they do still exist. Neither Verizon nor AT&T provide reliable cell phone service where we live.

  9. good2go says:

    A problem is that some carriers are very stingy with voice mail on their lower-cost plans…3 to 5 1-minute messages is all you get. That means you have to be really diligent checking your VM, which is a pain. I prefer VM, but in these cases, the answering machine is preferable.

  10. PJ Sanders says:

    Amazon has Panasonic answering machine KX-TGF375S+1. I left the same question that site and got several answers on how to bypass having a land line and just use the machine for cell phones.

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