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What Is an Answering Machine with Caller ID?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 17, 2024
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An answering machine with caller ID is a device that displays who is calling as well as includes the capability for callers to record messages. Though many answering machines will announce the date and time that a message was left, caller ID allows this data to be displayed whether or not a message is left. Some more advanced answering machines have different mailboxes for different people in the home, so that a caller may leave a message for a specific person. Others possess the technology to announce who is calling, which can be helpful for individuals with disabilities, or those who choose to screen their calls.

A basic answering machine with caller ID typically comes with a corded or cordless phone. The owner of the phone can record an outgoing message that callers will hear before they have the option to leave a message. Then, when someone calls the phone will record it on the caller ID, whether or not the person leaves a message. Most answering machines also have the capability to allow the owner to call the machine from outside the home and enter a password to see if any messages have been left, in order to avoid missing important information.

In households where more than one person uses the main phone line, an answering machine with caller ID and multiple mailboxes can be a good choice. Callers will be instructed to press a number in order to leave a message for a certain person; for instance, "press one for John, or press two for Jane," and so on. This way, each person in the house has a private mailbox -- sometimes requiring a code to access it -- so callers can leave messages especially for them. Small offices will frequently use this type of answering system as well, if it is not necessary to set up an entire voicemail system.

Another type of answering machine with caller ID may be able to announce who is calling as well as play the message aloud. For people with disabilities, such as those who are visually impaired or have difficulty reading the caller ID screen, this can be very useful. Individuals who have trouble getting to the phone quickly may also find it helpful to know in advance who is calling. Phones with these various features may be found in stores or online, and often they are not too much more expensive than standard phones for the home.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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