Frequently Asked Questions

How do I setup Zello on my iPhone?
Last Updated about a month ago

Updated June 27, 2016


We try to make Zello as intuitive as possible so no instructions are needed to use it, but for those of you who like reading “how-to” manuals, this quick start guide is a great way to learn about Zello’s features.

This user guide is separated into 2 sections: SECTION 1: User account tasks and SECTION 2: Channel tasks. If you only want to use Zello for one-to-one conversations, you only need to read SECTION 1. If you want to talk to groups privately or publicly, also read SECTION 2.


Installing Zello

To install Zello, go to the iTunes App Store on your iPhone or iPod and search for Zello. Select the “Download” icon. Tap “OPEN” to open the Zello app. After installing, the Zello “Z” icon badge appears on your home screen. You can also tap the badge to launch Zello.

You’re on your way enjoying live conversations!


Creating A New Account

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

From the “Welcome to Zello” screen:

  1. Tap “‘Sign up“
  2. Enter your desired username, password, and email, and optional phone number. Please note that a username cannot be changed afterwards. We will not mail or phone you. The email is used to recover usernames and reset passwords that are forgotten. Also, your 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”


Signing Into An Existing Account

If you’ve created a Zello account on another device or platform, tap “Log In” and follow the prompts to sign in.

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


  1. Tap “Forgot 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. Also, check your junk or spam folders.
  4. Click link from email to reset your password.
  5. Enter the new password twice.
And 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 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 Menu to another screen within Zello. Recent screens visited are displayed in the far right column. Tap on any to return to that screen.


Doing An Echo Sound Test

Tap “Contacts” from the Menu to open the Contacts page. Here you can add contacts or tap “echo” to do a sound test.

Do this sound test to confirm others can hear you. Tap “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.


Changing Account Profile Settings

Tap the profile picture and then camera icon to add, change, or delete the profile picture. You can also 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 or record an audio introduction for yourself.

Adding Contacts

Now add contacts to fill up that Contacts page. Tap the “+” at the lower right corner of the screen to add a contact.


You have three ways to add a contact.

  1. Search. Search for current users by Zello username, email address, or phone number.
  2. Address book.
  3. Scan QR code.

Searching For Contacts

Enter a 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 an 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.


Using The Address Book To Add Contacts

You can also use your Address Book to add contacts:

  1. From 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 ? and a blue Informaton icon. When selected, the contact will be presented options to “Accept“, decline “Decline“, or to permanently “Block” your connection request. After they agree to connect, they will appear in your Contacts list with a status of Available or Busy. All connections require approval to limit spam.

Scanning Your QR Code To Add Contacts

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

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


Contacting Users

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 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 send offline messages to the user. As soon as the user is back in Available status, any missed messages are automatically played.

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. Send images by tapping on the “Camera” icon on the talk screen.

To send texts, call alerts, or share location, tap on the “History” icon at the upper right of the talk screen. The icons for sending a call alert or send location is located next to the texting field.


Changing Your Status

When your status is Available, all incoming messages play in real time unless you’ve changed your status. When you change your status to Busy, Zello saves your messages in “Recents” on the main Menu. They are also saved in the Contact’s History, where you can access them at a more convenient time.

When you’re offline, Zello does not save new messages. It retains the messages you already have 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. While Offline, you won’t be able to receive offline messages.

To change status, tap “Status” from the main Menu and select your new status.


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. Tap “Recents” in the app menu
  2. Tap the name of a channel or contact
  3. Tap Eye icon
  4. Tap the message to play it.

The message plays and scrolls to the next message unless you tap the Pause icon.

Managing Account Settings

From Menu, select “Options“. 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: Deletes history for audio, images, and texts for the current account or all history on 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 talk button is activated, headset, remote bluetooth device, and Toggle vs Push and hold action

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 current version, advanced network settings, and enables problem report submissions.



Viewing And Adding Trending Channels

You can use Zello to talk to your friends privately or join one of many public Zello channels. You might start with trending channels, which are currently the most active channels. To view and add channels on Trending:

On the Menu screen, select “Channels“.

Tap “+Add channel“.


Tap “Trending channels” to see list of the most currently active public channels. The “Filtered” list displays pre-approved channels for general audiences, while the “All” list includes both Filtered and 18+ channels.


Searching For Channels To Add

You can talk with people from around the world or locally, in groups up to 1200, by joining an existing channel. Zello has tens of thousands of channels to choose from. Follow these steps to find and join a channel that interests you.


  1. From Menu, select “Channels“
  2. Tap “Find a channel”
  3. Enter a channel name or keyword into the search box.
  4. Tap “Search” on the bottom of the keyboard to display list of possible channels to add.
  5. See one that interests you? Tap the channel name for more information.
  6. Sound interesting? Tap “Add” to put it in your list of channels.

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).


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 or with one contact without interruptions, do the following.

  1. Tap the name of the channel or contact in the list. The talk screen will display
  2. Using your finger, swipe the talk screen to the right to see the Menu screen
  3. Set Status to “Solo” mode (solid blue circle)
  4. Using your finger, swipe to the left to return to the talk screen. You will see the blue “Solo” indicator at the bottom


Now you will hear messages only from the selected channel or contact. The messages from other channels or contacts will be stored in Recents and History.

Creating Channels

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 “subscribers”.

  1. From Menu, select “Channels“
  2. Tap “Create channel“
  3. Enter a name for the channel
  4. 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
  5. Tap “Type” to change the channel type. This setting is important, as it determines how public or private your channel will be. Your choices are: “Anyone can talk,” “Listen only”, “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. For more information about channel types, see Channel Types FAQ.
  6. You can also mark your channel as “18+” (content not suitable for kids), “Show in trending” or both. (Read more about Trending channels)
  7. Do you want to add a password for accessing the channel? (This is optional.) If yes, move the slider to “ON” and enter a password. If no, ensure the slider is “OFF.” Adding a password ensures your channel is kept private and nonauthorized users cannot enter or join it.
  8. Happy with your channel settings? Tap “Save” to start inviting contacts to your new channel.




If you have contacts, tap the contacts you want to invite to your channel. Before tapping “Invite,” you can switch to “Address Book” tab to invite more friends. When you’re done, tap “Invite” and everyone with a check mark will receive an invitation.


Inviting More Contacts And Sharing Your Channel

If you want to invite more contacts later or share it via Twitter, SMS, Facebook, or email, follow these steps
  1. From channel talk screen, select Eye icon
  2. Select Users icon at bottom
  3. Tap “Invite” or “Share” button at the bottom.


There is also a QR code located at the lower right corner of the channel profile picture which can be scanned 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.
  1. From Menu, select “Channels” and then tap on the channel avatar (picture).
  2. From the channel talk screen, tap on the Eye icon at upper right corner to flip to the channel details screen. Select “Profile” button at bottom to open channel profile if not already open.
In the channel profile, you can change the channel profile picture, description, record an audio intro, and edit all channel details (channel’s type, location, website, categories and language, etc).


Adding Channel Admins And Mods And Managing Subscribers

  1. Go to channel details screen using Eye icon
  2. Tap on Users icon at bottom
  3. Tap on the avatar (picture) 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. You can mute, prohibit talking, block, bounce (temporary block), trust, or make the user a Mod or Admin.


Select the options you’d like for this user.


Viewing And Editing Lists Of Blocked, Muted, Trusted Users, Admins And Moderators

To see and manage users in these lists, go to the channel profile and scroll to the bottom. You can also delete the channel from here.


Viewing Channel History, Sharing And Deleting Messages

To view and listen to the channel history:

  1. On channel talk screen, tap on Eye icon
  2. From channel details screen, tap “History” button at bottom right
  3. The list of all messages and images sent are displayed, with newest ones at the bottom. Selecting a message will automatically play all following messages, unless you tap Pause.

To share a message, tap Share icon (in the lower left corner), select messages or use “Toggle” to select all messages, then tap “Share” button. Enter a title, description and select Facebook, Twitter, Email or Text/SMS. Read more about the message share feature.

To delete history, tap the Trash Can icon, select messages or use “Toggle” to select all and tap “Delete” button. Note that once deleted, messages cannot be recovered.


Talking To All Channel Moderators And Muting All Untrusted Users

You can talk to all your moderators and also all users or just trusted users. Tap the Down Arrow icon from the channel talk screen. Then select “Talk to all moderators” or “Mute all untrusted users”


Sending Channel Alerts

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

  1. On the channel talk screen, select the Channel Alert icon (rectangle with lightning bolt)
  2. Select who should receive the message.
  3. Type in the message you’d like to send out and tap “Send”.


Receiving 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 Eye icon to go to channel details screen
  2. Select “Profile“
  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“

Now It’s Time To Have Some Fun!

This quick start guide should kick-start your Zello experience. When you’re ready to dig deeper and discover more features, check out the our Knowledge Base and forums. Thanks for using Zello!

Zello Support

July 18, 2018 10:07

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