In the 3D Universe, the phone was essentially cosmetic, and could not be used by the player to make calls at will, but its use has been expanded in Grand Theft Auto IV. The mobile phone makes a return in Grand Theft Auto V and GTA Online, with more functions than previous phones.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Tommy Vercetti retrieves a phone from Leo Teal during "Back Alley Brawl", allowing him to receive calls from in-game characters about missions or other topics. The phone's design is based on Motorola DynaTAC, a hugely successful cellphone during the 1980s.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Carl Johnson has a phone which he uses to make and receive calls. Again, these may be about missions, relating to the general story, tips from other characters, or may serve no particular purpose — for example, the prank calls CJ receives from Catalina. If the player has not visited a girlfriend for a long time, they can sometimes receive calls from any of the six of the girlfriends telling the player to come and date them.
The phone's design is that of an early flip-phone, with a small display for numbers. It is based from the Motorola MicroTAC cellphone of the late 1980s/early 1990s, specifically the Digital Personal Communicator model.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
In Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Toni Cipriani retrieves a phone from a deceased Sindacco member in "Snuff". This phone is presumably the phone he uses from then on, as Toni originally called using a pay phone in "Home Sweet Home". The phone's function is similar to those in GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas. It is based from the Motorola StarTAC clamshell cellphone.
Grand Theft Auto IV
The use of the phone is greatly expanded in Grand Theft Auto IV and its episodes. The player can use the phone (given to Niko Bellic by his cousin Roman during the second mission), and a camera phone from Playboy X, during the mission Photo Shoot to make calls, a new feature to the series.
To bring the mobile phone up, press (Xbox) and (PS3). Niko can now call his friends and girlfriends to hang out or go on dates respectively, and can now receive text and picture messages from people. Niko can also use his phone to access cheats, go to multiplayer, and call emergency vehicles (like Police Cars, Ambulances, and Fire Trucks) for assistance. The second model of phone is equipped with a camera, available for use anytime, and used in certain missions. Use of the phone can also trigger some missions, like the The Holland Play, and preemptively calling some characters may trigger story-related dialogue more quickly. The camera, however, serves no purpose as a means of saving the image taken outside of the missions.
The theme and ringtone of the phone can be changed in the options menu which shows all themes and ringtones currently on the phone and new themes and ringtones can be purchased via a website on the in-game internet after the second model of the phone is acquired. The two phones used by Niko during the game are Badger and Whiz brand phones.
The player can change the text size in the phone with the 'Text Size' in the options menu, however this is only available if the resolution is set to 1080i.
When calling characters in free roam, it will change into their voicemail. (In most of the times) Most of them will say "This is XXX. Please leave (me) a message."
|Character||Appear from||Disappear at|
|Billy||N/A||This Shit's Cursed|
|Elizabeta||Buyer's Market||Shifting Weight|
|Jim||N/A||Was It Worth It?|
|Malc||Hit the Pipe||N/A|
|Ray||Diamonds in the Rough||Was It Worth It?|
|Character||Appear from||Disappear at|
|Bulgarin||...Blog This!||Departure Time|
|Mori||Practice Swing||TBOGT Ending|
|Rocco||Ladies' Night||Departure Time|
In the PS3 version, an additional option is available in the phone. It is a SIXAXIS tutorial that teaches the player on how to use the SIXAXIS controller in the game. In the PC version, the Video Editor is an option in the phone. In both versions, the game will exit out of gameplay and all unsaved progress will be lost.
Phone exploits in Grand Theft Auto IV
If the player has damaged a vehicle to the point where the engine won't start, the phone can be used to 'jumpstart' it by calling any number or contact — the engine will spontaneously function again, although no damage will be repaired. For convenience's sake, one can cancel the phone call as soon as "Calling..." is seen on the phone's display — the engine comes back to life as soon as the call is initiated.
In the console versions of the game, the phone can also be used as a kind of 'super handbrake', to instantly stop any vehicle, no matter the speed. Initiating the camera while driving will instantly stop the car — the player can leave the phone open to the 'Camera' menu option, and then press (on PS3) or (on Xbox 360) when they want to stop. This is presumably a bug, and was fixed in the PC version — activating the phone camera while driving on PC will merely change the game camera to the 'hood cam' perspective, and activate the phone camera as normal. As this exploit requires a camera function, it can only be performed once the player has acquired the second model of phone.
If the player pulls out the phone while passing through a tollbooth, the toll can be payed without stopping the car completely, as long the player slows down the speed of the vehicle.
Grand Theft Auto V
In the GTA V Game Informer cover story, Rockstar Games has said that GTA V will "preserve the mobile phone concept", but Rockstar has made changes to it, such as the player not receiving phone calls from friends all the time (as seen in GTA IV). Rockstar made these changes because of the criticism fans made about there not being enough to do when you're not doing a story mission and since a lot of it was hidden on the phone, they've taken that and moved it onto the map. Rockstar also said that even though it may lose some "functionality", it will gain new features as well. Rockstar described it as being a contemporary phone, with Dan Houser saying that the player will use it for things like "accessing the internet", (much like a smartphone).
Michael has an iFruit 9iX smartphone and when he takes a picture of a Republican Space Ranger he/she reacts to it and poses. All pictures can be shared to the Rockstar Games Social Club via Snapmatic. Trevor carries a Facade smartphone, and Franklin has a Bittersweet phone.
Contacts can never be removed from phones - this means that the numbers for deceased characters remain in the player's contact lists long after their deaths.
- Phones in the HD Universe resemble the following real-life phones:
- Niko's phone sort of resembles a Sony Ericsson W302 without directional buttons.
- Johnny's phone is nearly identical to Niko's phone, but given it comes covered in a phonecase, it looks more rounded than Niko Bellic's rectangular phone and the numbers on the keypad are more separated due to each number being on a separate button, whereas the numbers on Niko's phone use a "key strip" layout used on phones like the Motorola Razr.
- Luis' phone resembles an HTC Desire (although the HTC debuted in early 2010 and the TBoGT timeline is set in 2008)
- Franklin's phone resembles a Samsung Galaxy S III, only with more rounded edges.
- Michael's phone clearly resembles an iPhone 4/4S. In the next-gen version it resembles iPhone 5C.
- Trevor's phone resembles a Windows Phone. Possibly a Nokia Lumia 820. But in the next-gen version it resembles a Sony Xperia E.
- The Online Protagonist's phone is the same as Michael's phone, only with different apps and the colour of the + button.
- In GTA IV and GTA V (also GTA Online), NPCs can also sometimes call people, when in sight it is possible to hear their phone ringing and them answering it and talking to the caller.
GTA San Andreas
- In older editions of the game, if the player has dual pistols wielded and gets a phone call, CJ will pull out two phones.
- If CJ has his phone out and runs into water being sprayed from a Firetruck, chances are that if he is just finishing a conversation and is about to put his phone away, he instead will keep it in his hand. This is because the water makes CJ fall when instead the animation for putting the phone away is supposed to play, so it is skipped altogether.
- When CJ is answering a phone call in front of an oncoming train, CJ will get stuck on the train while he is talking to the phone. Mostly, CJ will remain in the train resulting a glitch, and his health bar will be depleted slowly, causing him to be wasted.
- If the player switches or fires weapons after a phone call, the phone will not disappear on CJ's hand. Switching to other weapons, or entering a car would then remove this trick.
- The phone was meant to appear in Vice City Stories but was instead replaced by the pager. Some characters can still be seen using mobile phones, which assume the same design as in Vice City.
GTA IV and EFLC
- In GTA IV, the second model of the phone can be customized with themes and ringtones from websites. On the streets of the Liberty City random pedestrians will sometimes take out their phones to receive a call. If the player looks closely at the civilians phone, he will notice that the theme on their phone's screen will be the same as your current phone theme. The player then can hit them to take their phone.
- In GTA IV, Dimitri's voicemail remains Russian cause the subtitles and the words don't match each other but it is translated into English when received it.
- In GTA IV, if the player calls Mikhail after "The Master and The Molotov", its voicemail will change to Ilyena's.
- If the player haves an activity with one of their friends, and after the player recieve that friend's voicemail, Niko will say something like "Forget it" . (Not always happen) This doesn't affect the gameplay.
- In GTA IV, there's a built-in ringtone called Pager. That song is a simplified version of the GTA I theme's background music. It was also the pager's ringtone in GTA III, and was in the Vice City intro under the retro Rockstar logo.
- In The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, the protagonists of each (Johnny Klebitz and Luis Fernando Lopez) also have phones. Each character has a different type of phone than the others, and Johnny and Luis each have a unique theme for their phones. Johnny's phone assumes a more hardy appearance with a black plastic/leather phonecase, and has a unique "Lost MC" theme featuring The Lost Motorcycle Club's patch. Luis Fernando Lopez's phone appears to be more high-end than Niko and Johnny's phones and is round, similar to Johnny's, and has a glowing blue keypad and a unique "Club" theme.
- Whenever a phone is seen on advertisements, it always has a battery life with one segment missing (the battery level appears to be at 69%, another reference to the 69 sex position). However, character's phones seem to have unlimited battery life.
- Niko can still access a phone before Roman gives him his old one. The only options on this phone are Multiplayer and Video Editor (only on PC).
- If something affects Niko's stance while he is speaking with someone on the phone (getting hit by a car, getting shot, etc.), he will put the phone away and instantly hang up, ending the call early.
- If the protagonist receives a phone call whilst in a vehicle, a radio interference will be heard, much like in real-life.
- In The Lost and Damned, Brian Jeremy's phone number is never removed from Johnny's phone even after Johnny kills him.
- While the player can use the Camera feature outside of missions, it cannot be saved in any way. It was likely to be in an intended feature for players to save pictures in the gallery, but it was scrapped for unexplained reasons.
GTA V and Online
- The protagonists' smartphones resembles three of world's most popular smartphone platforms: Android (Franklin's, similar to a Samsung Galaxy S III), Windows Phone (Trevor's, possibly similar to Nokia Lumia 820), and iOS (Michael's, which obviously resembles the iPhone 4/4S). Their phones are also suited to their real-life counterpart typical users (Samsung phones are favored by youngsters, while iPhone is favored by wealthy people and Nokia is favored by people who go through harsh conditions everyday, and is known to be one the most endurant phones out there).
- Always when receiving or making calls, logos for each phones can be seen on the phone screen implying that Michael of course has an iFruit, Franklin's phone is a Badger phone and Trevor's phone is a Facade.
- One of the ringtone sounds in GTA V has a beat of Fatamarse's Bump To The Music from GTA III.
- Of the three protagonists, Trevor is the only one who can not change the background wallpaper on his phone, as his Facade has the permanent "brick wall" theme, symbolizing the typical windows phone.
- While hiding from the police whilst having a wanted level, if the player brings up their mobile phone, the police might rediscover the player's current location and the map once again flashes red and blue.
- If the player uses the dial pad to call a cheat number or special number from GTA IV, weird sounds are heard at the end of the call, a man will say to check their website for special information, a foreign man might say "Stop prank calling me!" similar to other phone numbers, and by calling Gracie Ancelotti's phone number, it is possible to hear something that sounds like someone hanging up a phone. These are all different than the usual "BUSY" message that comes as soon as you call any number. Some numbers, such as Roman Bellic's Cab Depot and Beatrix Fontaine's number, will automatically go to busy, however. Try the numbers on the Phone Numbers page under the GTA IV section or look up a cheat to get one of these responses.
- If the player calls one of his contacts while standing in shallow water, the phone may ring indefinitely never being answered nor go to the messaging machine. This will last until the player hangs up.
- In the enhanced version, Trevor's phone has a crack on the screen, probably hinting his reckless and violent way of life.
- The GTA Online Protagonist will never pull out his/her mobile phone. This was done because other players can try to kill the player, and so that he/she can use weapons in self defence as you can not use weapons while on the mobile phone.