[For the impatient, scroll down to see the solution]

I have used Skype for years. I work from home, and have a subscription and a Skype Online Number, to which my office phone number redirects, so that colleagues can still dial my extension and talk to me. As such, I rely on it.

I’m also a Mac user, and have witnessed so many changes to the Skype interface that I dread each time that an update alert appears. There is only so long one can ignore them. Somewhere in the current 5.x release cycle, it appears that my voicemail settings disappeared. A colleague alerted me to this today, that my number rang and rang (whilst I was making tea in the kitchen). I thought it would just be a case of re-ticking the “unanswered calls” button that I seem to remember being fairly obvious in the preferences panel of previous versions. But in their wisdom, the “Calls” panel of the current build of the Mac Skype client (5.1.0.935) now looks like this:

Skype "Calls" options

"Calls" options in Skype 5.1.0.935

Now, forgive me for being picky, but where is the option to say “after 15 seconds go to voicemail”? Here, it seems as if I am offered four direct options. Do nothing and allow me to answer, the rather scary “answer automatically”, forward calls to another number, or just send them all to voicemail. It doesn’t seem that flexible, and I’m never going to remember to go into Skype and switch on voicemail manually.

In the “Set up Voicemail” panel, all you can do is record or play back your message; no further options are available. In “Set up Forwarding” you can set a time limit in seconds and enter numbers to which to redirect the call. No “send to voicemail” option.

The Solution

The rather unintuitive solution seems to be this. Open Skype Preferences (Skype > Preferences) then select the “Calls” tab. Next, select “Forward calls”. Then click “Set up Forwarding”. Enter the time in seconds after which you would like calls to be sent to voicemail. Don’t enter any phone numbers. Click “Done”. Back on the Calls panel switch to the fourth option, “Send to voicemail”. Your calls will now go to voicemail after the specified amount of time.

Come on Skype, that’s not obvious! Please make this process a lot more obvious in future builds, and bring back the “unanswered calls” settings.