When you use the visual voicemail feature on your iPhone, you can view all your voicemails without having to call a number. Visual voicemails of your voicemails allow you to select which ones to listen to now, which ones to share, and which ones to delete. Your iPhone’s voicemail-to-text feature may also allow you to read transcripts of your voicemail messages, depending on your model and location. Voicemails can be organized, deleted, and played from this handy menu, but first, you need to set it up to work correctly.
Most modern iPhones should work with this process, including the new iPhone 13 models, but you’ll need to make sure iOS is updated first – go to Settings > General > Software Update. You should be all set once you’re running the latest version of iOS 15. Make sure everything is ready for visual voicemail by following our additional tips. If you haven’t set up basic voicemail through your carrier yet, skip down to the next section.
Messages can even be saved as notes or voice memos, and can then be shared with Apple’s native apps — Messages, Mail, or Airdrop.
1. Configuring your voicemail through your phone app
In North America, virtually all phone companies offer visual voicemail. If you use one of the major carriers, you are covered as Apple has a complete list of carriers and plans they support. Here’s how to go about it.
Open Phone App on Your iPhone
- There are some phones that offer the option to activate voicemail through the Phone App. Depending on your phone and your service, you may have access to specific voicemail settings. As it is the case for most US carriers, you can set up your voicemail directly from the phone dialer app if your carrier supports native visual voicemail. It is the application that makes calls. You should open the Phone app on your iPhone if this is the case for you. On the iPhone’s Home screen, you’ll usually see a white phone icon with a green background.
- On the voicemail screen, there should be an empty space in the middle with a Set up now button. Simply tap it. As an iPhone user, you can choose whether to access your voicemails automatically if you have previously used the service and have signed in before. Visual voicemail requires you to create and enter a password if you have never used it before. Click Done when you are finished.
- You will now see the Greeting screen on your iPhone. You can skip this step if you aren’t concerned with the greeting. Simply select Default and Done. You can customize your greeting by selecting Custom, Record, then Play when you want it repeated. Once you are satisfied with it, select Done.
- You are now officially set up with an iPhone voicemail. With Airdrop, voicemails can be shared with others, mailed, saved as audio memos to save space, and more. Tap the share button after selecting the voicemail message you wish to save.
Install the Phone App and set up your voicemail
Select the Voicemail option from the menu in the bottom right corner of the screen. You’ll need to follow the prompts to continue setting up your voicemail if choosing this option initiates, a call.
You should see the option to “Set Up Now” if tapping on Voicemail doesn’t initiate a call. A screen should appear in the middle of the page with this option. The password must then be entered. The password should be between four and six digits long.
The voicemail is already set up if you do not have the option to put in a password. The Greeting tab is at the top left corner of your screen; you can record a greeting there instead. Transferring data from an old phone to a new one usually results in this problem.
Choose Done from the top right corner of the screen once you have entered your password. Verify your voicemail password by typing it in again. Once you have completed the set-up of your voicemail password, tap ‘Done’ one more time. On the Voicemail greetings page, you will be taken.
To use your service provider’s default voicemail greeting, select ‘Default’ inside the greetings page. Alternatively, you can choose ‘Custom’ if you want to record a custom greeting. The two options can be found at the top of the page. Your voicemail message can be recorded if you have selected ‘Custom’.
Record your voicemail message by tapping the ‘Record’ button on the bottom right. If you wish to record this message, speak clearly and tap ‘Stop’, followed by ‘Save’. You can preview the message by tapping the play button in the bottom left corner. You can also select ‘Cancel’ to end your recording and change it.
After you have finished writing your voicemail message, simply press ‘Save’ on your iPhone and return to whichever page or app you prefer. Using the voicemail, you can customize your greeting and protect it with a password.
Create a visual transcript of your voicemail
Starting with iOS 10, and operative on all iPhones as far back as the iPhone 6S, you can view your visual voicemail as well as its text transcript. Apple’s servers use machine learning to make voicemail transcriptions by taking the audio file and running it through Apple’s servers. This allows you to listen or read your voicemail messages. For both to appear, you must have Siri enabled via Settings > Siri & Search > and Language English (US) or English (Canada). When it is set up, you can tap any previous or existing message, and it will start a text transcription of that message.
2. Calling your service provider to set up your voicemail
Some iPhone models allow you to set up voicemail through the Phone app, but depending on where you live, this option might not be available. If you have an older iPhone or a different service provider, setting up your voicemail may not be possible through the phone app. It is also possible for your service provider to have a section in its settings that explains how to manage voicemail. Searching the Internet for ‘how to set up voicemail for your specific provider’ will usually provide you with information about how to activate your voicemail service.
As in Australia and New Zealand, you may need to call your service provider’s mailbox number in order to set up your voicemail. The following carriers provide voicemail numbers in Australia:
- Vodafone – 121
- Optus – 321
- Telstra – 101
We also have the voicemail numbers of popular providers in New Zealand:
- 2Degrees – 202
- Vodafone – 707
For your standard greeting, you may be required to record your name depending on the carrier you are with. After setting up a security code, you will be able to customize your greeting, change your notification method, and change your notification method.
It is likely that you will need to contact the support team at your mobile carrier if you are still experiencing difficulties configuring your voicemail. Contact your service provider’s your service provider by calling its helpline. A listing of your service provider’s helpline can be found on its website. If you are unsure of who your service provider is, check the billing information on your phone. Schedule some time in your schedule to call your service provider. There may be a high volume of calls depending on the time of day, and you may be on hold for a long time while you wait for someone to answer.
3. Is it time to consider alternative voicemail systems?
The visual voicemail interface from Apple may not meet your standards, so there are alternatives. Look for an iOS visual voicemail app that meets your needs. Apps like HulloMail Voicemail and YouMail are suggested. There are many free applications that offer a unique user interface and additional features, such as the ability to link multiple phone numbers.
It may seem relatively simple to set up voicemail, but some phone providers and carriers charge extra for the service, and some voicemail services result in people trying to get hold of you playing cat-and-mouse. Additionally, traditional voicemail services can consume a lot of time, which is due to the fact that each message has to be listened to in chronological order, as well as the fact that listening to caller details and contents of each voicemail message can take minutes to hours.
The traditional voicemail service has become problematic for many people, leading them to switch to visual voicemail. You can read and prioritize your voicemail messages with visual voicemail apps rather than listening to them all individually, as they are transcribed and displayed similarly to emails. No matter where you are, you can see who left a message, how long it lasted, and what was in it even without dialing a number. It is also possible to read visual voicemail at your convenience rather than listen to it chronologically, as is the case with regular voicemail.
The best visual voicemail apps provide a range of features that save users time and make their lives easier, including voicemail transcription, smart voicemail greetings, voicemail-to-email, and voicemail dictation within the app. Android and iOS versions of the apps are available at the moment.
How to set up basic voicemail
If you are going to use visual voicemail on your device, it’s best to set up and learn how to use the basic voicemail service first. You may have to set up a voicemail directly with the carrier if you’re new or have recently switched providers. If you are learning how to use your phone or don’t receive a lot of calls, the basic voice mail service will work fine for you.
Depending on your carrier, the setup procedure will differ. Generally, all voicemail setups will require you to dial the correct number and set up the voicemail over the phone.
AT&T: Tap ‘1’ or the Voicemail button to go directly to your voicemail. The first time you open the program, you will be asked to choose or record a greeting. An AT&T password will need to be created. It is possible to upgrade your voicemail for more storage if you get many calls. However, visual voicemail does not require this.
Verizon: Verizon’s website has a page with FAQs to help set up voicemail for Android phones. In order to set up visual voicemail on an iPhone, you will need to consult Apple’s instruction page.
T-Mobile: The company will direct users directly to Apple’s visual voicemail instruction page.
Sprint: Press ‘1’ to open voicemail on your Sprint phone.
Changing a voicemail that already exists
Follow these steps if you’ve bought a new iPhone and want to transfer an existing voicemail:
- You can manage your iCloud storage and backup in Settings > iCloud.
- You can back up your data to iCloud.
- Click OK and wait for the backup to complete.
- You can restore your new iPhone from an iCloud backup.
- Listed below are all your backups. Choose the most recent.
- Now your data, including your voicemails, will all be available on this device.