YouMail visual voice mail iPhone app gets pushy

Push notification and a new activities ribbon are among the significant changes to YouMail's native iPhone app.

Navigation ribbon on YouMail for iPhone.
This activities ribbon is a welcome addition to YouMail on iPhone. (Credit: Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET)

We're big fans of visual voice mail, which lets you view, and then listen to, your voice mail messages in any order you'd like, not just chronologically. It's even better when that service is free (voice-to-text transcriptions, however, are typically extra). To that end, we were happy to see that YouMail's visual voice mail app for iPhone updated on Thursday, getting features such as push notification, and a new activities ribbon that lets you reply to and forward messages. You can also now organize messages by folders.

In addition, YouMail 1.5 includes a feature for toggling between speaker and handset mode, the ability to switch on automatic message playing (in the Settings), and long-awaited slide-to-delete functionality for messages. The revised app also adds the fun, but minor feature of shaking the iPhone to refresh the screen.

Sadly, YouMail 1.5 constantly crashed on us in the first 15 minutes of use, even after several reboots. It seems to have stabilized now, so it could have been a mild case of iPhone indigestion.

YouMail Visual Voicemail for iPhone competes with visual voice mail services like Google Voice, which is in beta, which does not have a dedicated iPhone app, and which offers an iPhone Web experience that my colleague Rafe Needleman gently referred to as "a load of crap."

What do you think of the new YouMail, of Google Voice, or of visual voice mail in general? Share your thoughts in the comments.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.