Zello Android App Quick Start Guide

August 22, 2018

Updated June 9, 2016

Welcome To Zello!

We try to make Zello intuitive so there is no need for instructions, but for those of you who like to read “how-to” manuals, this quick-start guide is a short summary of the most frequent tasks. There are 2 main sections to this guide.  If you want to use Zello purely for one-to-one communications, you can just read Section 1: User Account Tasks. But if you want to talk to groups of people privately or publicly, then Section 2: Channel Tasks are for you. Tasks are presented as follows:

User Account Tasks:

  • Installing Zello
  • Creating a new account
  • Signing into an existing account
  • Doing an Echo sound test
  • Adding contacts
  • Talking to contacts
  • Deleting contacts
  • Sending call alerts to contacts
  • Changing your status
  • Mapping a phone hardware button for PTT
  • Managing notifications and alerts
  • Signing out and Exiting Zello
  • Deleting your account

Channel Tasks:

  • Displaying Trending channels to add
  • Searching for channels to add
  • Creating your own channel
  • Inviting contacts to your channel
  • Editing settings for your channel
  • Assigning mods and admins for your channel
  • Managing subscribers with block, bounce, prohibit talking, and mute
  • Sending and receiving channel alerts
  • Deleting a channel from your Channels list
  • Deleting a channel you own
  • Deleting history from one or all channels

Section 1: User Account Tasks

Installing Zello

Search for the Zello app in the Google Play app store and download it to install directly onto your Android device.

After installing, the “Z” logo badge appears on your screen. Tap the badge to launch Zello. You’re on your way enjoying live conversations!


Creating An Account

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


  1. Tap “I don’t have a Zello account”
  2. Enter your desired username. Please note that a username cannot be changed.
  3. Enter password twice to make sure it’s exactly the way you want it.
  4. Enter your email. (We promise not to email you anything. This comes in handy if you ever need to change or reset your password.)
  5. Tap “Create” and you’re in!



If you want to make changes to your account information, tap the app Menu button > Options > Profile > Edit.

Update the following fields to your preference.

  • Camera icon lets you add a profile picture.
  • Speaker icon lets you record an audio intro.
  • Name field to create an alias to display instead of your username.
  • About me field lets you add information about yourself
  • Location.
  • Website.
  • Languages.

When you’re done updating your profile, tap “APPLY CHANGES”.



Signing Into An Existing Account

If you’ve created a Zello account on another platform, tap “I already have a Zello account” and follow the prompts to sign in.



NOTE: If you are using ZelloWork and not the free consumer app, be sure to check the “ZelloWork account” box. User guides for Zello for Work are at  ZelloWork Support. 

If you need help with the password or username, do the following.

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

Now you’re all set with your new password.

Doing An Echo Sound Test

Do this sound test to confirm others can hear you.

1. On main screen, tap Contacts icon (single head).


2. Tap “echo

3. Tap and hold the big orange button until it turns solid red. Red indicates you are transmitting audio.

4. While holding the button down, say anything, sing a song, or tell a story.

5. Release the button to hear Zello play back what you just said. The circle is green when playing back audio.


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

Adding Contacts

Now let’s fill up your Contacts list. Tap the Add a Contact icon (single head+).


You have three ways to add a contact:

  1. Search. Search for current Zello users by their Zello username, email address or phone number.
  2. Address book. Press the “Address Book” button.
  3. QR Code Scanner. Press to scan the users QR code.

Searching For Contacts To Add

Enter a Zello username, email, or phone number into the search field 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, tap the username and Zello sends a connection request.

Until contacts approve your request, they will show as “Requesting authorization” in your Contacts list. As soon as your friends go online, they will see a notification with an option to either AcceptDecline, or permanently Block your request. After they agree to accept your invite, their status will change to Available or Busy.


Using The Address Book To Add Contacts

Tap “Address Book” to see two tabs:

  • All contacts: Opens your Android address book.
  • Contacts on Zello: Lists contacts from your address book with Zello accounts.

Tap the names of the people you want to add or invite to Zello, then tap “Import”.


For contacts with Zello accounts, Zello sends them a connection request. After they agree to connect, they will appear in your Contacts list.

For contacts who don’t have a Zello account, a dialog box displays options for sending an invitation. Select your preferred option. Zello creates a message with all the information filled in for you, but you can edit the message to your heart’s content. Happy? Tap “Send” to email the invite.

A pending invite from another user is indicated by a red triangle marker and “Requesting authorization” notice in your Contacts list.


Press and hold on the user’s invite to see a pop-up, where you can “Accept“, “Decline” or permanently “Block” this user’s invitation.


Talking To Contacts

When your contacts appear online and available, you can contact and talk to them. Select the username, press and hold the push-to-talk button until solid red while talking. Release the button when you finish talking.


If the person is Available (solid green circle), you should get a reply soon. When someone is Busy (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 at the moment or connection has been lost, but you still can send offline messages to the contact. When the connection is restored, any missed messages wlll play automatically.

Deleting A Contact

To delete a contact, press and hold the name of the contact in your list and tap ”Delete contact”


Sending Call Alerts To Contacts

You can send alert tones and text messages to a contact. The receiver will hear an audio tone or feel a vibration that repeats every minute until the person accepts or dismisses the alert. You can add a text message or links.

To send a call alert, tap the Call Alert icon from a contact’s talk screen and enter optional text. When done, select “Send“.



Changing Your Status

To change your status, tap the Menu button and then “Status

When your status is Available, all incoming messages play in real time. Messages are also saved in History or you can press the Replay icon to play back instantly.

When you change your status to Busy, incoming messages are not played real time, but are instead saved to History. You will receive a vibrate alert and missed message marker in the Notifications bar when a message is received. You can listen to the message at a more convenient time.

Solo status is used when you want to talk to only one contact, muting other contacts or channels that may be transmitting at the same time.  You can then go into the History to hear any missed messages.

When you set Status to Offline, Zello does not save any new messages. It retains the messages you already have prior to going Offline. After going Offline, contacts will initially see you in Standby mode (empty green circle) 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, and you will not receive offline messages.

You can customize a message for others to see when you’re Busy. To do this, tap Set status message and enter the message. When you switch to Busy, the text message appears.




Mapping A Phone Hardware Button For Push To Talk (PTT)

Tap the Menu button, select  Options > Push-to-talk button > Select push-to-talk button, and press the preferred key.  Select “Push-to-talk button action” to specify “press and hold” or “toggle” mode (push once to start and once to stop)


Managing Notifications And Alerts

Zello can notify you with an audio alert or vibrate. To change these options, tap the Menu button > Options  > Alerts.


Signing Out And Exiting Zello

Unless you sign off from Zello, the app runs in the background regardless of your status. You’ll continue receiving messages and notifications. To shut down Zello, tap Menu button and “Sign out“.

If you want Zello to send notifications and automatically start when an incoming message is received, tap Menu button and “Exit“.  This may help conserve battery while allowing you to still receive messages.

Deleting An Account

Tap the Menu button and > Options > Accounts. Press and hold the account you would like to delete and tap “Remove”. Note that If the account owns any channels, you will not be able to manage the channel once the account is deleted. It is recommended that you transfer the channel to a mod or admin in the channel prior to deleting the owner account.

Section 2: Channel Tasks

Channels are unique to Zello….Channels are real-time talk groups which can run 24/7, similar to radio stations. Channels can be private or public, for people you know, or people you want to know, from all corners of the world. Tens of thousands of channels already exist on Zello. Join in the conversations or make your own channel in minutes.

Viewing Trending Channels To Add To Your Channels List

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 the most active public channels at any given time. To display the Trending Channels lists:

1. Tap on Channels icon.

2.  Tap on Add a Channel icon (Channel icon with + sign)
3.  Select “Trending channels” to display lists for “Filtered” preapproved channels for general audiences or “All” channels which includes Filtered and 18+ channels.
4. Tap on the channel name to see the channel profile and tap on “+Add to Contacts” if you want to save it to your Channels list. and start listening.  Tap the power icon until gray to disconnect from the channel and stop listening.

Searching For Channels To Add To Your Channels List

You can search for channels with topics that interest you or a specific channel name.


To find and join a channel, follow these steps.

  1. Tap Channels icon
  2. Tap Add a Channel icon in the right upper corner of the screen.
  3. Enter a channel name or keyword into the search box.
  4. Tap Search icon.
  5. See one that interests you? Tap the channel name for more information.
  6. Sound like an interesting channel? Tap “+Add to contacts” to put it in your list of channels.

Talking In A Channel

To talk in the channel, make sure you are connected (power icon is blue) and then push and hold the big button until solid red to talk. As long as no one else is trying to talk, you can talk as long as you want. If other users are trying to talk, the talk time before interruption is set by the owner in the channel profile (1 second to 10 minutes).

When you’re connected to multiple channels, you’ll hear every conversation for all active channels, which can become rather confusing. To mute a channel and save audio to history, select the down arrow located above the power icon. You can also set Status to Solo (solid blue circle) to talk to a single contact, while silencing other channels.



Creating Your Own Channel

You can create your own channel to talk about an interest, activities or just about anything goes (with respect to Community Guidelines). Once created, you become the “owner” of the channel. Contacts who join your channel are “subscribers”. The number of subscribers allowed per channel is unlimited, but there is a maximum of 1200 who can be online and active at any given time. Channels are permanent until deleted by the owner.  For more information about Channels, see Channel Quick Start Guide.

Follow these steps to create a channel.

  1. On main screen, tap Channels icon (3 heads) .
  2. Tap Add a channel icon (3 heads +) in the right upper corner of the screen.
  3. Tap “Create a new channel
  4. Enter a name for the channel. Try to make the name easy to remember and search for.
  5. 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.
  6. Select the channel type you want. This setting is important because it determines how private and secure your channel is. For information on the 4 channel types, see FAQ for Channel Types.
  7. You can also mark your channel as “18+” content not suitable for kids, “Promote” (OK to show publicly in Trending Channels lists) or both.
  8. Decide whether to add a password to access the channel. This will prevent unauthorized users from hearing or talking in the channel. To set a password, tap “Require password” and enter a password in the box that appears.
  9. Fill in any other optional fields as desired.




Happy with your channel settings? Tap “Create” to start inviting contacts to your channel.

Inviting Contacts To Your Channel

On the channel talk screen, tap Users icon (2 heads) to see the list of online subscribers.


On the next screen, tap the Invite User icon, select the users you want to invite and then tap “Invite”. Everyone with a checkmark receives an invitation.


Another way to invite someone to a channel is to press and hold on a channel from the Channel list and tap “Invite friends” from the pop up menu.



Editing Settings For Your Channel

Want to make changes to your channel? From the list of channels, press and hold your channel’s name > Channel details. On the channel profile screen, tap “Edit” to view and edit channel details, add a channel picture, or create an audio intro.


Managing Channels: How To Block, Bounce, Prohibit Talking, Mute Users, And Assign Admins And Mods

  1. On the channel talk screen, tap the Users icon to display a list of online subscribers.
  2. Tap the user’s avatar to open account profile.
  3. From the account profile, select to “Block”, “Prohibit talking“, “Bounce“, “Make moderator”, or “Make administrator” or “Mute

Block is a permanent block from the channel. Bounce is a temporary removal, the user can rejoin immediately. Moderators can manage disruptive users by blocking, bouncing and prohibiting them from talking.  Administrators can monitor users and also change the channel description and assign and remove mods. The channel owner has the highest level of authority and can change any channel settings and assign or remove mods and admins.


Managing Blocked Or Trusted Users, Admins And Mods

You can easily manage moderators, adminstrators and blocked users by tapping on the channel avatar to open the channel profile. There, you will see lists for blocked users, users prohibited from talking, trusted users, moderators, and administrators. Select a list and tap on the avatar or long press on the names of the moderators, admins, or users you want to change or remove from the list.

Sending Channel Alerts

As an owner or admin in a channel, you can send out channel alerts with optional text to inform subscribers about current topics being discussed or upcoming events on the channel. To send a channel alert:

1. On channel talk screen, select down arrow above power icon. Tap “Send alert…


2. Indicate who should receive the alert and type your message.


3. Tap “Send” at upper right corner.

Receiving Channel Alerts

Channel alerts will not be sent to subscribers unless they opt-in first. To opt-in, subscribers should use these steps:

1. Select Settings icon (2 gears) at lower right corner of channel talk screen.



 Deleting A Channel From Channels List

To delete a channel you are currently subscribed to, press and hold the channel name until the pop-up appears and then tap “Delete channel


Deleting Your Own Channel

To delete a channel you own, select red “Delete” button at bottom of channel profile.

You can also delete channels you own from zello.com:

1. Sign into your owner account at zello.com

2. Select “My channels

3. Click red “Delete channel” for channel you wish to delete

Deleting History For One Channel

On the channel History screen, press and hold a message, image, or call alert and then tap “Delete message” or “Delete all messages”.



Deleting History For All Channels And Contacts

Messages, images, and text alerts are stored on the device itself and not on Zello servers. As space runs out, older messages will be deleted to be replaced by new ones. If you want to clear history manually, follow these steps:

1. Go to Menu button > Options > History

2. Select to “Clear all” or “Clear” just voice messages, images, or alert texts.

NOTE: Once deleted, messages, images, and alert texts cannot be recovered.


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 our Knowledge Base and Forums.

Thanks for using Zello!

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