I’ve been an iPhone user since the first iPhone came out and for the most part, I’ve been pretty happy with my experience. But there’s always room for improvement and I recently discovered 2 apps, the YouMail app for your voicemail and the TouchBase app for your calendar, that do just that and greatly enhance the iPhone’s native voicemail system and calendaring system. If you’re a busy iPhone-toting lawyer, then you’ll appreciate these apps since they make it all the more easy to organize and stay on top of your voice messages and hectic schedule.
First, there’s the free YouMail app, which I first learned about courtesy of Ross Kodner, legal technology consultant extraordinaire, at his blog Ross Ipsa Loquitur. I’d been searching for an app to supplement the iPhone’s native voicemail app for sometime, ever since the unfortunate demise last October of the Yap voicemail app, which I’d loved.
The YouMail app supplements the native voicemail in a number of useful ways. First, YouMail provides visual caller ID, so you’re able to see the name and location of the person calling you.
Another nice feature is that you can create and assign different greetings to different contacts, so if you’re a lawyer and have a client who calls you repeatedly if you don’t reply right away, you could create a greeting just for that client that sets limits in the message as to how quickly you’ll be able to reply.
For those annoying salespeople who just won’t leave you alone and are always trying to sell you new legal products, there’s the “ditch” function. You mark their number as ditched and then can assign a specific prerecorded greeting to all ditched numbers, such as an “out of service” greeting. You can also prevent ditched numbers from leaving voicemails.
YouMail also makes it easy to organize your voicemails. You can create sub-folders (ie. “follow up,” “clients,” “law firm,” “personal,” or “family”) and then file voicemails into specific folders after you’ve listened to them.
You can also forward voicemails to your phone, a feature that I find to be extremely useful, since my email tends to operate as my “to-do” list and voicemails which sit on my phone sometimes tend to fall by the wayside. But if I email them to my main email account, then it serves as a reminder that I need to follow up on the message. You can always email a voicemail to someone else as well, if need be.
Additionally, if you upgrade to one of the YouMail Pro editions, you can receive transcriptions of your voicemail messages. The Pro plans start at $4.99 per month for the first 20 seconds of thee first 20 messages received.
Finally, if you’re an Android user, you’re in luck. YouMail is also available for Android devices.
Another app that I recently discovered that has greatly improved my workflow is the TouchBase Calendar app, which costs $2.99. This is a great app that interfaces seamlessly with the native iPhone calendaring app. It also has built-in synching that works with Google Calendar, Exchange, or any other calendar that works with the iPhone.
You can schedule an appointment through either the TouchBase interface or the iPhone’s calendar. The when you open up the specific appointment in TouchBase, the app automatically detects and links to relevant people listed in your iPhone’s “contacts.” It also detects the location of the meeting, if you provided that information when you entered the appointment.
This means that assuming the app has detected the correct location, you can simply map out the location with a touch of a button, from right within the app.
You can also send, directly from the app, pre-written texts or emails to meeting attendees advising them that you’re running late, etc. And, you can revise the default message templates to include different pre-written messages.
Finally, you can initiate a phone call to attendees from within the app as well.
And, good news for you Android loving lawyers, an Android app is being developed as we speak!