Mystery: Call Forwarding rule I didn't create

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Active member
HoFo Member
Oct 28, 2008
Southwest Michigan, USA
T-Mobile Prepaid & Page Plus
LG Aristo 2 Plus (T-Mo); Moto G Power 2020 (PPC)
Using GV since before the introduction of the smartphone app and the demise of the "Legacy" website, I've never used or configured any capability of the product (or my linked phones) to gather voicemail on GV from calls made directly to my connected devices. Never set up conditional call forwarding on any of my three cell lines, never ticked any boxes on GV (either website or app) to handle unanswered incoming calls to those numbers.

Yesterday I decided to look around on the Google Voice website and look at some of the settings I never use, and my focus was on the Custom Call Forwarding feature. I've never opened it before, but it turns out there's a rule existing there, and it's a rule that lists one of my devices (one of the three, this one having no installed GV app but being set up with a linked number through GV) as a contact, and that incoming calls from it should be immediately sent to voicemail.

I didn't set that up (manually, at least), and the likelihood of my GV number ever being called by that phone was baffling. It should never happen. Unless...

In my overall configuration of GV, in the newer scheme of things (after the new product appeared and the phase-out of the Legacy stuff), I do have my GV Voicemail settings configured to allow me to "Call to listen" when I want to retrieve or check voicemail using one of my linked number phones, which this phone listed as a contact in the "Custom call forwarding/Manage rules" is one of. That could explain it, but, my other two phones that have the GV app installed also have their numbers set up as linked numbers, but they do not appear in the "Manage rules" config area. So that's a head-scratcher to me.

Does anyone else see anything like this with their GV configurations? This (Custom call forwarding) is only viewable on the GV website/web app.

Maybe this rule auto-generates as a result of the "Call to listen" setting.

Thanks for your responses.
That's definitely odd! I have nothing under Custom Call Forwarding.
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Do you have Call to listen set up? For those reading not familiar, that's for checking your voicemail by calling in via cellular from a linked phone to your GV number (used to be the only way to check VM).
If it helps - I have enabled call to listen but I don’t see any rules when I go to custom call forwarding section and click manage rules button.
I can't imagine what circumstance or incidents may have created this rule, but this rule pertains to a phone that is a linked number that is a rarely used T-Mobile line; my first cell service. Used very sparingly. But I do remember the last few times I used it, calling in to GV and going through the motions and menus to call out, it gave me some unexpected responses and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to complete the call (eventually worked though).

I'm going to make a note of the rule, then delete it. It's a fluke and I believe is serving to confound the process when I use it as intended. "Call to listen" is already directing any call-in from linked numbers to the entry prompts for voicemail and calling, so the rule is redundant and could be causing problems. I'll test it over time and see how it affects things.

Thanks for the responses.
I believe I've found the reason for the Mystery Rule, and what's it's there for in the first place.

I deleted the rule and wanted to see the results

In taking a little journey by car this week I tried listening to my GV voicemail while enroute to a relative's. With the rule no longer existing I called in to my GV number. This was done from my backup phone that's just a linked number, no GV app installed.

I was surprised when my other daily driver phone rang for approximately 25 seconds, then I heard (on the backup phone I was making the call on) my GV greeting, and I was then able to interrupt it, input my PIN, then either retrieve VM or make a call.

When I was in a place to get online and do some searching, I got the answer from Google's own GV support page for how to use. This is the way it works by design. If you want your call-in to retrieve VM to quickly go to that area without all the normal ringing you've got to have a rule like the one I deleted in place, telling it to forward the call to VM. Otherwise it rings all linked phones.

I've put the rule back in place and it now works as I desire.

But I still maintain I didn't create the original rule, at least no recollection of doing so. I don't know if this is possible, but I think that may have happened as a concession coming out of the old product into the new, with their system (maybe some early level of AI) seeing how I was using things and it doing what it could to recreate how I typically used it. As far as I know there didn't used to be a way to call your own GV account from a linked number and have it ring all the other linked numbers. Not with the Legacy product anyway. So to carry me over into the new with functionality intact this rule was put in.

Just a theory anyway. Mystery solved!
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Thanks for the info, whacker.
The mysteries and history of GV! There are still obscure features that I and others don't use or there is misunderstand about the current version, and some of that is a holdover from the Legacy days and the early smartphone app.
The mysteries and history of GV! There are still obscure features that I and others don't use or there is misunderstand about the current version, and some of that is a holdover from the Legacy days and the early smartphone app.

I know some of the dropped features of the "new" GV are still missed by some users. One of the most missed features is the ring schedule for forwarded #s.