Android User Guide

Welcome to Zello Friends & Family!

This article only applies to Zello Friends & Family. For help getting started on Zello Work with an Android device, please reference this support article.

This user guide will provide information regarding how to use Zello Friends & Family on Android devices. These instructions are valid for Android devices running Android 7.0 and above. 

For information about using Zello for one-on-one or group conversations with people you already know, refer to SECTION 1.

If you want to talk to extended groups including people you may not know using channels, refer to SECTION 2.   

Click on any task to jump to that section:

SECTION 1: ACCOUNT TASKS

SECTION 2: CHANNEL TASKS

Zello Icons

You will see these icons used throughout the app:

Screenshot 2023-07-26 at 11.40.34 AM.png

Section 1: Account Tasks

Installing Zello

To install Zello, go to the Play Store on your device and search for Zello. Tap Install to begin installation to your device. After installing, the Zello logo will appear on your home screen. You can tap the badge to launch Zello.

You can use Zello to communicate with other users who also have Zello installed on their iOS or Android device.

Creating a new account

If this is your first time using Zello, follow these steps to create a new Zello account.

From the Zello Sign Up screen:

  1. Tap Sign Up
  2. Enter your desired username, password, email, and optional phone number. Usernames must be unique and at least 5 characters long. Please note that a username cannot be changed afterwards. Your email address will be kept private and will be used in the event that you forget your username and/or password. Also, your Zello contacts can search for you by using your email or phone number.
  3. Tap Create Account

Your account is created and you're ready to start talking!

Logging into an existing account

If you’ve already created a Zello account, tap I already have an account on the Zello Sign Up screen and follow the prompts to log in.

If you are using Zello Work and not the free app, tap the Zello Work icon. See user guides at Zello Work Support.

If you forgot your password or username, do the following:

  1. Tap Forgot username or password
  2. Enter the email associated with your Zello account. You’ll receive an email with instructions and your Zello username(s)
  3. Go to your email app to look for the email from Zello
  4. Tap the link in the email to reset your password
  5. Enter your new password twice

Now you’re set with your new password.

Using the menu screen

The Menu has three tabs at the bottom of the screen: Recents, Contacts, and Channels.

The Recents tab shows recent communications sorted by last activity.

The Contacts tab shows everyone you have added as a contact on Zello. Available contacts will show up at the top of the screen. You can use the search bar at the top of the screen to search for a contact.

The Channels tab shows a list of all channels you have joined on Zello.

Doing an Echo sound test

Tap Contacts from the menu tab. From here you can add contacts or tap echo to do a sound test to confirm others can hear you.

  1. Tap the contact named echo, then press and hold the big orange talk button until the circle turns solid red, which indicates you are transmitting
  2. Say anything to test
  3. Let go of the talk button to play back what you just recorded. The circle will be solid green when playing back. If you can't hear anything, verify your microphone is on and turned up to a comfortable volume. Also, make sure you've granted Zello access to the microphone in your phone's settings.

If you can’t hear anything, verify your microphone is on, speaker is on (sound icon in lower left corner), and volume slider (toggle icon in lower right corner) is turned up to a comfortable volume. Run the test again until you hear yourself speaking.

Changing account profile settings

If you want to make changes to your account profile, tap on your profile picture at the top left corner to open the menu. Tap the pencil icon in the top right corner to edit your profile settings.

Update the following fields as desired:

  • The Camera icon in the lower left corner of your profile picture allows you to take or select a new photo
  • The Username field allows you to create an alias to display instead of your username
  • The About Me field lets you add information about yourself for other users to see
  • The Location field provides the option to share where you are located
  • The Website field allows you to share a personal website
  • The Languages option allows you to select up to three languages you’re interested in using on Zello

When you’re finished updating your profile, tap Save in the upper right corner.

Adding contacts

To add new contacts, start by tapping the Contacts button at the bottom of the screen. Tap the blue circle icon in the lower right corner to add a contact.

There are three ways to add new contacts:

  1. Searching by username or phone number
  2. Address Book
  3. QR Code Scanner

Searching for contacts

Search for current Zello users to add to your Contacts list. Enter their Zello username or phone number in the search bar and tap the Search button.

If the username or phone number you’re searching matches with an active Zello account, it will appear in the search results. Tap the username to display the user’s profile, then tap the Add button in the top right corner. Zello will then send a connection request to the user.

Using the Address Book to add contacts

You can also use your Address Book to add contacts: 

  1. From the Add a contact screen, tap Address Book
  2. Select the contacts you want to invite or add to your Contacts list

For contacts who have Zello accounts, tap Add to send them a contact request on Zello. When the user goes online, they will see a contact request at the top of their Contacts list marked by a red dot. When selected, the contact will be presented with options to Accept, decline (Not now), or permanently Block your connection request. If they accept your request, they will appear in your Contacts list.

For contacts who don’t have a Zello account, tap Invite to send a text or email with an invitation to join Zello.

Scanning QR code to add contacts

Scanning another user's QR code is the fastest way to add contacts:

  1. From the Add a contact screen, tap QR Code Scanner
  2. Focus the scanner on the QR code of the user you want to add until it is in focus and the contact will be added

To access your QR code, tap on your profile picture in the top left corner. Below the bottom left corner of your profile picture, tap the QR code icon.

Deleting, favoriting, and assigning default contacts

To delete a contact:

  1. Tap the Contacts button on the bottom of the screen
  2. Press and hold on the contact you want to delete
  3. Tap Delete contact

To assign a default contact:

  1. Tap the Contacts button on the bottom of the screen
  2. Press and hold on the contact you want to delete
  3. Tap Set as default

To favorite a contact:

  1. Tap the Contacts button on the bottom of the screen
  2. Press and hold on the contact you want to delete
  3. Tap Add to favorites

Talking to contacts

When your contacts appear as Available online (solid green circle), you can contact them. Tap the username, then press and hold the talk button until the circle turns from orange to solid red. Release the button when you’re finished talking. The talk button circle turns solid green when the contact replies.

When someone is Busy (solid orange circle), Zello sends them a text and vibrate notification and saves your message in their History for later listening. If a contact shows Standby (empty green circle), it means the user doesn't have the app running or the connection has been lost, but you still can send offline messages to the user. As soon as the user is back in Available status, any missed messages will play automatically.

If the contact is Offline (solid black circle), no messages can be sent or saved in the contact's History.

Sending images, texts, call alerts, and location

You can share images, texts, call alerts (with persistent audio alerts), and your location with your contacts from the talk or History screens.

From the talk screen, send images by tapping on the camera icon or send call alerts by tapping on the bell icon. 

To send texts, images, or location from the History screen, tap on the white chat bubble in the upper right corner of the talk screen. To send a photo, tap the camera icon in the lower right corner. To send your location, tap the pull-down arrow on the right side of the screen. From that menu, tap Send location.

Changing status

To change your status, tap the three dots icon in the upper right corner and select Status.

When your status is Available, all incoming messages play in real-time unless you change your status.

Solo status allows you to listen/talk with one contact or channel while muting conversations from others. You can go into History and replay any missed conversations at a later time. 

If you do not want to be disturbed, set your status to Busy to mute audio and save your messages to Recents. You will still receive text and vibrate alerts for incoming messages while in Busy status. Tap the Recents icon in the bottom left corner of the screen to see channels or contacts with unheard messages. Tap on the channel or contact's History screen to play the messages. If you would like to set a custom message for others to see when you’re Busy, tap Set status message.

When you’re in Offline status, Zello does not receive or save new messages. It retains the messages you already had prior to going Offline. You may still receive push notifications to your device if you have them enabled. When you initially go Offline, other users see you in Standby mode, and they can still send you offline messages for up to a week. If you don’t use Zello for one week or longer, it will automatically change your status to Offline.

Listening to new messages

If you have missed messages, you will see the messages appear in the Recents tab with a red dot on the right side of the screen.

To listen to messages:

  1. From the Recents tab, tap the name of a channel or contact
  2. Tap the History icon (white chat balloon) in the upper right corner
  3. Tap the first message to play it and any subsequent messages 

The message will play and scroll to the next message unless you tap the Pause icon toward the top right of the screen. You can speed up the replay with 1.25x or 1.5x speed settings on the banner under your contact’s username.

Mapping push-to-talk (PTT) buttons

On Android devices, you can map any hardware key as a PTT key. Please note that the talk screen must be in the foreground for the button to work. 

To map a hardware button:

  1. Tap the three dots icon in the upper right corner
  2. Select Options
  3. Tap Push-to-talk buttons
  4. Tap the + icon in the lower right corner
  5. Press any button (e.g. volume button, side button) on your device to set as a PTT button

In addition to buttons on your device, you can also set a Bluetooth button as the PTT key to use while Zello is running in the foreground.

Managing options

You can access your account options by selecting the three dots icon in the top right corner and tapping Options. The options available are briefly described below:

  1. Profile: Update profile information for your account
  2. Accounts: Add a new account or switch between accounts
  3. Appearance: Adjust theme, language, font size, and lock screen orientation
  4. Audio: Adjust audio settings including incoming message volume, playback/recording amplifier, noise suppression, and legacy Bluetooth mode
  5. Push-to-talk buttons: Map a hardware button or define behavior for the touchscreen PTT button
  6. Behavior: Adjust automatic status updates, push notifications, and when Zello starts and displays
  7. Notifications: Adjust PTT, chat, visual, and other alerts
  8. History: Delete content in History and specify maximum storage allowed for audio messages and images
  9. What is Zello Work?: Provides information about Zello Work, our paid subscription service
  10. Support: View support FAQs, send in problem reports, adjust permissions and advanced settings

Signing out

Unless you sign out from Zello, the app runs in the background regardless of your status. You’ll continue to receive messages and notifications. To sign out of Zello, tap the three dots icon in the top right corner and select Sign out.


If you select Exit from the same menu, you will continue to receive notifications and the app will automatically start when a message is received. This may help conserve your device’s battery while allowing you to still receive messages.

Deleting account

To delete your account and data from our servers:

  1. Tap your profile picture icon in the upper left corner to open the profile screen
  2. Select the red Delete account option at the bottom of the profile screen

If you own channels, you will no longer be able to manage them once your account is deleted. We recommend transferring owned channels to a channel moderator or administrator prior to deleting your account.

Creating private group conversations

You can create group conversations on-the-fly for private conversations between selected Zello contacts. Only members of the group can invite other participants. There is no profile or password required in group conversations. Members can rename, leave, or delete the group at any time. To create a group conversation:

  1. Tap the Recents icon on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen
  2. Tap the blue chat bubble + icon in the lower right corner
  3. Select group members from your contacts list
  4. Tap Start in the upper right corner to start talking
  5. To add participants, tap the pull-down arrow and select Add participants

Group conversations can be accessed from the Recents tab. To leave a group conversation, press and hold on the conversation banner and select Leave conversation.

Section 2: Channel Tasks

You can use Zello to talk to your friends and family privately with group conversations as described previously, or you can join one of many public or private Zello channels. Channels are live talk forums created and moderated by other Zello users. There are tens of thousands of Zello channels to choose from. If you can't find a channel you're interested in joining, just create your own!

Adding channels

You can talk with people from around the world or locally in groups by joining an existing channel. You can add existing channels in two ways: searching by channel name or by scanning the channel's QR code.

Searching for channels to add

To search for existing channels to join, start from the Channels tab on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen.

  1. Tap the blue circle + icon in the bottom right corner
  2. Select Add by channel name
  3. Type the name of the channel in the search field (Channels can only be searched by their exact names, not by keywords)
  4. Select the channel(s) you are interested in adding
  5. On the channel's profile screen, tap Add in the upper right corner to add the channel to your Channel list
  6. The channel talk screen will display where you can connect to the channel and begin talking

Adding a channel by scanning its QR code

The fastest way to add a channel is by scanning the channel's QR code. Once displayed, Zello users next to you can add your channel by going to their Channels screen. To find a channel’s QR code:

  1. Start from the Channels tab in the lower right corner
  2. Tap the name of the channel
  3. Tap the channel’s profile picture in the upper left corner
  4. Select the QR code icon below the bottom left corner of the channel picture

You can also send the QR code by taking a screenshot of it or printing it out so remote Zello users can scan it.

To add a channel using a QR code:

  1. Start from the Channels tab in the lower right corner
  2. Tap the blue circle + icon in the bottom right corner
  3. Select Scan QR code
  4. Focus the green scanner box on the QR code until the channel adds automatically

Talking in a channel

To talk in a channel, tap on the channel name from the Channels tab on the bottom right corner of the screen. Make sure you are connected (power icon is green), then push and hold the talk button until solid red to talk. Release the button when you're finished talking.

As long as no one else is trying to talk, you can talk away without interruption. If others are trying to talk, the talk time before interruption is set by the owner in the channel profile (from 1 second to 10 minutes). Do not press the talk button rapidly without speaking, or you will receive an error message indicating too many empty messages have been sent.

Using Solo mode

When you’re connected to multiple channels, you'll hear every conversation for all active channels. This can be confusing if messages from multiple channels are transmitted at the same time. To listen and talk in one channel without interruptions:

  1. Start from the Channels tab on the menu bar on the bottom of the screen
  2. Tap the name of the channel
  3. Tap the three dots icon in the top right corner of the talk screen
  4. Select Status
  5. Select Solo status

Muting channels

You can also selectively mute channels from the talk screen by tapping the gray pull-down arrow to the right of the channel profile picture.

Messages from muted channels will be stored in Recents and History.

Sending texts, images, location, and channel alerts

The channel owner can adjust these options from the channel profile settings.

  1. From the channel talk screen, tap the History icon in the upper right corner
  2. To send a text message, tap the Type a message field at the bottom of the screen
  3. To send an image, tap the camera icon to the right of the text field
  4. To send your location, tap the pull-down arrow on the talk screen and select Send location
  5. To send a channel alert, tap the pull-down arrow on the talk screen and select Send alert

Creating channels

You can create your own channel to discuss an interest, activities, or just about anything (as long as you follow Zello’s Community Guidelines). Follow these steps to create your channel. Once created, you will become the “owner” of the channel. Users who join the channel are your “subscribers.” There is no limit to the number of subscribers per channel, but only 6,000 can be connected at one time.

To create a channel:

  1. Tap the Channels tab on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen
  2. Tap the blue circle icon in the lower right corner
  3. Select Create a new channel

Fill out fields and select settings for your channel profile. All settings can be changed at any time by the owner. Some of these settings can also be changed by admins. Key settings are described below:

  1. Name: Enter a name for the channel (required)
  2. Type: This is your channel type. This setting is important, as it determines how public or private your channel will be. These are the channel types: Anyone can talk (public, open), Listen only (broadcast type), Zelect, and Zelect+. Only "trusted" users can talk in Zelect type channels, but new users can listen. Only trusted users can hear AND talk in Zelect+ type channels. Users are made "trusted" by the admins and mods on the channel. For more information about channel types, see Channel Types FAQ
  3. Require password: Turn this on so unauthorized users cannot join or listen for added privacy
  4. Channel description: Enter a description of the channel
  5. Allow voting: Allow subscribers to vote thumbs up or down for other user's messages
  6. Require verified email: Turn this on for added security and subscriber verification

Fill out other settings as needed. Not all fields are required and they can be edited at a later time.

Happy with your channel settings? Tap Create and start inviting contacts to your new channel.

Inviting contacts and sharing channel

To invite existing Zello contacts or share a channel with non-Zello users:

  1. From the channel talk screen, tap the pull-down arrow
  2. Tap Invite friends
  3. Select contacts from your address book to add or invite to the channel

You can also share channels by pressing and holding on a channel name from the list and selecting Invite friends.

Additionally, there is a QR code located below the lower left corner of the channel profile picture which other Zello users can scan to join the channel. You can also tap the three dots icon below the right corner of the profile picture to share a link to the channel on other messaging and social media apps.

Regular channels can support up to 6,000 users. Listen only channels can support up to 8,000 users.

Editing channel settings

Only channel owners can edit all channel settings, but admins can edit the channel picture, description, and assign or delete mods. If you want to make changes to your channel, there are three ways to open the channel profile:

  1. Select the Channels tab on the lower right corner of the screen

To make changes from your channels list:

  1. Tap the profile picture of the channel you want to edit
  2. Tap the pencil icon at the top of the screen
  3. Tap More to view all channel settings

To make changes from the talk screen:

  1. Tap on the channel profile picture at the top of the screen
  2. Tap the pencil icon at the top of the screen
  3. Tap More to view all channel settings

To make changes from the channel’s History:

  1. Tap on the channel profile picture at the top of the screen
  2. Tap the pencil icon at the top of the screen
  3. Tap More to view all channel settings

Adding channel admins/moderators and managing subscribers

Owners can assign admins and moderators to help moderate channel activity by removing disruptive users and pre-screening users in Zelect and Zelect+ type channels. A well-moderated channel will attract more subscribers. 

You can add admins and moderators through the History screen or from the Users list.

From the History screen:

  1. From the channel talk screen, tap the white chat bubble icon in the top right corner to open History
  2. If a user has recently sent a message in the channel, you can tap their profile picture to open a menu
  3. From this menu, you can make the user an administrator or moderator for the channel
  4. From the same menu, you can also block, prohibit talking, bounce, and mute users (details about each option are provided in the next section)

From the Users list:

  1. From the channel talk screen, tap the people icon at the top of the screen to open the Users list
  2. This will display a list of users who are currently online and connected to the channel

3. Tap the profile photo of the user to access a menu of options

4. Select from the list of options to manage the user’s role in the channel

  • If you Block a user, they will not be able to access the channel either permanently or for a specified period of time
  • If you Prohibit talking, the user will experience a timed block
  • If you Bounce a user, they will be temporarily removed and able to rejoin the channel immediately
  • If you have a Zelect or Zelect+ channel, you’ll see an option to Trust a user or Revoke trusted status – revoking their trusted status will remove them from these types of channels
  • Make moderator gives users the ability to manage other subscribers. Channel moderators can mute, prohibit talking, block, trust, and bounce disruptive users. 
  • Make administrator gives users the ability to manage subscribers and make certain changes to channel settings
  • If you Mute a user, their audio will be turned off

Managing lists of blocked, muted, trusted users, admins and mods

To see and manage users in these lists, open the channel profile screen by tapping on the channel’s profile picture. You will see lists for Trusted users, Moderators, and Administrators. Select a list and tap a user’s profile picture or press and hold on their username to manage their status.

Sending channel alerts

Channel owners and admins can send channel alerts to subscribers who have opted to receive them. Channel alerts can be used to inform subscribers of current or upcoming events on the channel. To send a channel alert:

  1. From the channel talk screen, tap the pull-down arrow below the right corner of the screen
  2. Tap Send alert…
  3. Select to send to all subscribed user or only users connected to the channel
  4. Type your desired text for the alert
  5. Tap Send in the upper right corner
  6. Users who have opted to receive channel alerts will receive an audio alert along with the text message

Adjust channel alert settings

Channel alerts will not be sent to subscribers unless they opt-in. To opt-in, subscribers should follow these steps starting from the channel talk screen:

  1. Tap the three lines icon in the bottom right corner of the screen
  2. Adjust the Receive alerts from channel option as desired – you can opt to receive alerts when connected to the channel, when connected to Zello, always, or never

Deleting channels

  1. Select the Channels tab in the bottom right corner of the screen
  2. Press and hold the name of the channel you’d like to delete
  3. Tap the Delete channel option

Deleting your own channel

To delete a channel you own, go to the channel profile screen, scroll to the bottom, and select the red Delete button.

Deleting History for channels and contacts

To delete History or manage storage:

  1. Tap the three dots icon in the top right corner
  2. Select Options
  3. Select History

From the History options page, you can select whether you want your messages to be automatically deleted after a certain period of time. You can also specify your desired storage limits for voice messages and images.

 

 

Questions? Submit a new ticket for support-related inquiries.

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