Zello iPhone User's Guide

Updated October 19, 2018


This user's guide is a great way to learn about many Zello's features. These instructions are valid for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices running iOS 8 and above.

If you only want to use Zello for one-to-one or small group conversations between friends, family, or people you know, you only need to read SECTION 1.

If you want to talk to extended groups of people you may not know, either privately or publicly, using our Channels feature, also read SECTION 2.   

Click on any task to jump to that section:





You will see these icons used throughout the app. This legend explains each icon's meaning:


Installing Zello

To install Zello, go to the iTunes App Store on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad and search for Zello. Tap GET to begin the installation. Tap OPEN to open the Zello app. After installing, the Zello "Z" icon badge appears on your home screen. You can tap the badge to launch Zello.

You're on your way enjoying live conversations!


You can use Zello to communicate with other users who also have Zello installed on their iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, or Windows PC.

Creating a new account

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


From the Welcome to Zello screen: 

  1. Tap Sign up
  2. Enter your desired username, password, email, and optional phone number. Usernames must be at least 5 characters long, use Latin characters, and unique. Please note that a username cannot be changed afterwards. Your email and phone number will be kept private, and we will not email or phone you. The email is used to retrieve usernames and reset passwords. Also, your Zello contacts can search for you by using your email or phone number.
  3. Tap Sign up.

Your account is created, and you're ready to start talking or continue adding information to your account profile. If you'd rather complete the account profile details at a later time, tap Skip this, I'll do it later.

Logging into an existing account

If you've created a Zello account on another device or platform, tap Log In on the Welcome to Zello screen and follow the prompts to log in.

NOTE: If you are using ZelloWork and not the free app, tap ZelloWork at the bottom.  See user guides at ZelloWork Support.

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

From the Welcome to Zello screen: 
  1. Tap blue Forgot? prompt 
  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. Also, check your junk or spam folders
  4. Click the link in the email to reset your password
  5. Enter the new password twice.

Now you’re set with your new password.

Accessing the Main Menu screen

The Main Menu screen is Zello Central. You can access and manage all the options in Zello from the Main Menu. The Menu icon is represented by 3 horizontal lines. Tap on the icon to go the Main Menu from any screen. You can also use your finger to swipe between screens in Zello. For example, swipe the screen to go to and from the Main Menu to another screen within Zello. Recent screens visited are displayed in the far right column. Tap on any to return to that screen. Tap on the Speaker option to adjust the volume and select the audio output device. 


Doing an Echo sound test

Tap Contacts from the Main Menu. From here you can add contacts or tap echo to do a sound test.

Do this sound test to confirm others can hear you. Tap the contact named echo and then press and hold the big orange talk button until the circle turns solid red, which indicates you are transmitting. Say anything, sing a song, or tell a story. 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.



Changing account profile settings

Want to make changes to your user account profile? On the Main Menu, tap your profile picture at the top left corner to open the account profile.


Tap anywhere within the picture frame to display the camera icon to add, change, or delete the profile picture.

You can create an alias name to display instead of your username by filling in the Name field. The alias can be changed at any time. Fill in the other fields as desired and/or record an audio introduction for yourself.  

Adding contacts

Now add contacts to fill up your Contacts page. Tap the Add icon (+) at the lower right corner of the screen to add a contact.


You have three ways to add a contact.

  1. Search for Zello contacts
  2. Address book
  3. Scan QR code. 


Searching for contacts

Search for current Zello users to add to your Contacts list. Enter their Zello username, email, or phone number in the search bar and tap the Search button. If the user is not found, you can send an invite by email or text message:


If the user has a Zello account, it will appear in the search results. Tap the username and the contact's account profile is displayed. Tap Add at the upper right of the contact's account profile. 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 Main Menu, select Contacts
  2.   Select "+" to add a contact
  3.   Tap Address Book to access your contacts
  4.   Select the contacts you want to invite or add to your Contacts list 
  5.   Tap Done at upper right corner. 
For contacts who don't have a recognized Zello account, an email message appears with all the information filled in for you. Edit the email if you'd like and then tap Send to send the email invitation.
For contacts who have Zello accounts, Zello sends a connection request. As soon as they go online, they will see a contact request at the top of their Contacts list marked by a gray circle with a question mark and "Requesting authorization" notice. When selected, the contact will be presented with options to Accept, decline Not now, or to permanently Block your connection request. If they accept your request, they will appear in your Contacts list with a status of Available or Busy.

Scanning a QR code to add contacts

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

  1. From the Main Menu, select Contacts
  2. Select "+" to add a contact
  3. Select Scan QR code
  4. Focus the scanner on the QR code of the contact you want to add until in focus and voila!, the contact will be added. 

Deleting a contact

To delete a contact:

  1. From Main Menu screen, select Contacts
  2. Tap Edit at the upper right-hand corner of the Contacts screen.
  3. Tap the red Delete icon to the left of the contact and then tap the red Delete tab. When finished, tap Done.

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 it turns from orange to solid red to talk. Release the button when you're done talking. The talk button circle turns solid green when the contact replies. If the person is Available, you should get a reply soon. 

When someone is Busy (solid orange circle), Zello sends a them a text and vibrate notification and saves your message in their Recents and 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 are automatically played.

If the contact is Offline, no messages can be sent or saved in the contact's History. 

Sending images, texts, call alerts, and location

You can send images, texts, call alerts (with persistent audio alerts) or share your present location with other contacts from the talk screen and/or History screen.


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, locations, or call alerts from History, tap on the History icon (white chat balloon) at the upper right corner of the talk screen. You will see icons for sending an image, location, or call alert located left of the text field at the bottom.

Changing your status

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

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 open Recents on the Main Menu to see red message counters next to channels or contacts with unheard messages. Tap on the channel or contact's History to play the messages.

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. Also, 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. 

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

To change your status, tap Status from the Main Menu and select your new status. You can also change your status directly on the talk screen by toggling between statuses at the bottom.

Listening to new messages

If you have missed messages, you will see the number of missed messages in red in Recents. 

Here are the steps to listen to messages:

  1. From the Main Menu, tap Recents 
  2. Tap the name of a channel or contact
  3. Tap the History icon (white chat balloon) at the upper right corner
  4. Tap the first message to play it and all following messages. 

The message plays and scrolls to the next message unless you tap the Pause icon. You can speed up the replay with 1.25x or 1.5x speed settings. 

Managing Options settings

Less frequently changed account settings are located in Options on the Main Menu. The options available are briefly described below:

  • Audio: Controls audio settings, Bluetooth, recording and playback amplifiers, microphone boost
  • Alert tones /vibrate: Controls audio, vibrate, and text alerts and notifications. You can customize audio alerts from here
  • History: Delete and manage history for audio messages, images, and texts for the current account or all history on the device. Note that user messages, images, and texts are not stored on Zello's servers and only on user devices. Once deleted, they cannot be recovered
  • Push To Talk button: Controls where the talk button is activated: on phone, headset, or remote Bluetooth device. Also allows to you switch between Toggle or Push-and-hold modes
  • Restrictions: Allows parental controls by creating a 4-digit passcode which is required to access certain functions. This prevents kids from inviting or accessing unauthorized contacts and channels or creating/changing accounts and channels
  • Themes: Select from 3 themes, Classic light, dark, or camo theme
  • Support:  Contains the current version, advanced network settings, and enables problem report submissions. 

Deleting your account

To delete your account and data from our servers:

  1. From the Main Menu, tap on your profile picture to open the account profile
  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap the red Delete account option
  3. You can also sign into zello.com and delete your account from there. 

Once deleted, the username becomes locked so no one else can use the name. All channel and contact information is also removed. 

Creating private Group Conversations

You can create group conversations on-the-fly for quick, 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 leave and delete the group at any time or rename the group. To create a group conversation:

  1. From Main Menu, tap Recents 
  2. Tap "+" icon at the lower right corner to begin adding members from your Contacts list
  3. Tap Start to create the Group and start talking
  4. To add participants, tap the drop-down menu on the talk screen. 

Groups are only accessed from Recents. To delete a Group, swipe the Group name to the left and tap Delete

Group conversations can also be created by going into Contacts, selecting a contact and then tapping the Pull-down menu on the talk screen and selecting Add participants.


You can use Zello to talk to your friends and family privately with group conversations as described previously, or 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. But if you can't find a channel you're interested in joining, just create your own!

Adding channels to the Channels list 

You can add channels in two ways: You can add existing channels by searching by name, keywords, or by scanning the channel's QR code as described below:  

Searching for channels to add

You can talk with people from around the world or locally, in groups of up to 3500, by joining an existing channel. Follow these steps to find and join a channel that interests you.

From the Main Menu, select Channels 


  1. Tap "+" at the bottom right corner 
  2. Tap Find a channel 
  3. Type in keywords or the name of a channel in the Search field and tap Search
  4. Select the channel(s) you are interested in adding
  5. On the channel's profile screen, tap Add at 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, which is located at the bottom right of the channel profile picture. Once displayed, Zello users next to you can add your channel by going to their Channels screen:

  1. From the Main Menu, select Channels 
  2. Tap "+" at the bottom right corner 
  3. Select Scan QR code
  4. Focus the green scanner square directly on the QR code to add the channel.

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


Deleting a channel from your Channels list

  1. On the Main menu, select Channels
  2. Tap Edit at upper right corner
  3. Tap the red circle with minus sign located next to the channel you want to delete. Tap the red Delete tab that displays on the right.
  4. Repeat step 3 if you have more channels to delete
  5. Tap Done when finished.

Talking in a channel

To talk in the channel, tap on the channel name from the Channels list. Make sure you are connected (power icon is blue) and then push and hold the talk button until solid red to talk. Release when done 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 become very confusing if messages from multiple channels are transmitted at the same time. To listen and talk in one channel without interruptions, do the following. 

  1. Tap the name of the channel in the Channel list. The talk screen will display
  2. At the bottom, toggle the Status until you see the blue Solo status
  3. You can also go to the Main Menu and change the Status to Solo from there. 

Muting a channel

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. 


The messages from muted channels will be stored in Recents and History.

Creating your own channel

You can create your own channel to discuss an interest, activities, or just about anything goes (as long as you follow Community guidelines). Follow these steps to create your channel. Once created, you 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 3500 can be connected at one time. 

  1.  From the Main Menu, select Channels 
  2.  Tap "+" sign at the lower right corner
  3.  Tap Create channel

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

  • Name: Enter a name for the channel (required)
  • Description: Enter a description of the channel. If you want to make it easier for people to find your channel and stay on topic, ensure the description explains the topic of the channel and includes related keywords
  • Premium Channel: Indicate if the channel will be a paid Premium channel
  • Voice intro: Add a voice intro for new subscribers to hear
  • Channel alerts: Turn on/off channel alerts for subscribers
  • 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
  • 18+: You can mark your channel as 18+ (content not suitable for kids). 
  • Allow voting: Allow subscribers to vote thumbs up or down for other user's messages
  • Require verified email: Turn this On for added security and subscriber verification
  • Require verified phone number: Turn this On for added security and subscriber verification
  • Require password: Turn this On for added privacy, so unauthorized users cannot join or listen

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

Happy with your channel settings? Tap Save at upper right corner and start inviting contacts to your new channel.



Inviting more contacts and sharing your channel

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

  1.  From the channel talk screen, select History (white chat balloon)
  2.  Select Users at bottom
  3.  Tap Invite or Share icon at the bottom. 
There is also a QR code located at the lower right corner of the channel profile picture which can be sent to other Zello users and scanned in to join the channel. 

Editing channel settings

Want to make changes to your channel? There are two ways to open the channel profile and edit it. You must be the owner to edit all channel settings. Admins have limited access to edit the channel picture, description, and assign or delete mods.
  • From the Main Menu, select Channels and then tap on the channel avatar (profile picture) to open and edit the channel profile 
  • From the channel talk screen, tap History (white chat balloon) and then select Profile at the bottom to open and edit the channel profile 

Adding channel Admins and Mods and managing subscribers 

A well-moderated channel attracts more subscribers. Owners can assign Admins and Mods to help moderate channel activity by removing disruptive users and pre-screening users in Zelect and Zelect+ type channels.
  1. From the Main Menu, select Channels and then tap on the channel name. 
  2. From the channel talk screen, tap on the History icon (white chat balloon) at upper right corner. Select Users at the bottom. Only users who are online and connected to the channel are displayed
  3. Tap on the profile picture (avatar) of the user that you want to manage. The user's account profile will be displayed
  4. You will see a list of options to select from. 
Mods can mute, prohibit talking, block, trust, and bounce disruptive users, while admins can also create/remove mods, and change the channel picture and description. Channel owners have the highest authority and can change any settings or add and remove mods and admins. 
Admins and Mods can also select subscribers directly from the History/Conversation screen to manage by tapping on their profile picture. This is handy if the person has recently left a message on the channel and you need take action quickly.

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

To see and manage users in these lists, go to the Channel Profile screen and scroll to the bottom. You can also delete the channel from here. You must be an owner, mod, or admin to see these options.


Sending texts, images, location, and channel alerts

NOTE: The owner must first turn these options On from the channel profile settings. They are Off by default. 

  1. On the channel talk screen, tap on History icon at the upper right corner
  2. At the bottom of the History screen, to the left of the text field, are icons to share images, share location, and send a channel alert. 

Viewing channel history, sharing and deleting messages

To view and listen to the channel history/conversations:

  1. On the channel talk screen, tap on the History icon at the upper right corner
  2. The list of all received messages, texts, and images sent are displayed, with the newest ones at the bottom. Selecting a message will automatically play all following messages unless you tap Pause. You can also speed up the playback with 1.25x or 1.5x speed settings
  3. To share or delete a message, tap the More Options icon (3 dots) to the right of the text field at the bottom. Read more about the message share feature here.


Tap either Share voice messages or Delete messages. You can share up to 20 messages at a time. Deleted messages are not recoverable once they are removed. 

Talking to all channel admins and mods 

If you are the owner, admin, or mod in a channel, you can talk to other admins and moderators without subscribers hearing. Tap the gray drop-down arrow from the channel talk screen. Then select Moderators.

Sending channel alerts

Channels alerts can be sent by the owner and admins to subscribers who have opted to receive them. Channel alerts can be used to inform subscribers of current or upcoming events on the channel:

  1. From the channel talk screen, tap on Channel Alert (bell icon) 
  2. Select who you want to send the alert to
  3. Type the alert message and tap Send

NOTE: Only subscribers who have opted to receive channel alerts will receive them. 

Opt-in to receive channel alerts

To maintain privacy, subscribers have to opt-in to receive channel alerts. To opt-in, users should:

  1. Go to the channel talk screen, select the History icon at the upper right corner
  2. Select Profile at the bottom
  3. Select Channel Alerts
  4. Select from 1 of 4 settings to specify when to receive channel alerts: None, when In channel, when In Zello, or Always  

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

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