How to set up voicemail on iPhone (plus how it works)

(Pocket-lint) – If you’re a new iPhone user, you may be wondering how voicemail works on your new phone. Apple calls its voicemail feature in the iPhone’s default Phone app “visual voicemail”.

Compatible with select carriers, visual voicemail shows an actual visual list of your messages. You can choose which to play and delete without having to listen to them all. You can also see transcriptions (in some English-speaking countries), which means your messages are transcribed into text. If you’re curious about visual voicemail, including how to set it up, here is everything you need to know.

How to set up voicemail on iPhone

First time setting up voicemail

The first time you tap Voicemail in the Phone app, you’ll be asked to create a voicemail password and record your voicemail greeting.

  1. Open the Phone app and tap the Voicemail tab.
  2. Tap Set Up Now.
  3. Create a voicemail password.
  4. Choose a greeting: Default or Custom
  5. If you choose Custom, you can record a new greeting.

How play and delete voicemails on iPhone


To play, share, or delete a voicemail message, you can simply ask Siri something like: “Play the voicemail from Maggie”.

Phone app

You can go to Voicemail in the Phone app on your iPhone to fully manage your messages.

  1. Open the Phone app.
  2. Tap the Voicemail tab, then tap a message.
  3. Do any of the following:
    • Play the message: Tap Play button.
    • Share the message: Tap Share button
    • Delete the message: Tap Trash button.

Note: Messages are saved until you or your carrier erases them. To recover a deleted message, tap Deleted Messages, tap the message, then tap Undelete.

How to see voicemail transcriptions on iPhone

Voicemail transcriptions are part of the visual voicemail feature – but limited to the iPhone 6s or later.

  1. Open the Phone app and navigate to the Voicemail tab.
  2. Tap on a voicemail to transcribe it.
  3. If the voicemail hasn’t been transcribed before, you may see “Transcribing Voicemail…”.
  4. The transcription should soon appear.
  5. When you revisit the voicemail, the transcription should appear when you tap it.
  6. You may see some blanks if Apple is unable to determine what the caller said.

How to tell if your iPhone supports visual voicemail

Visual voicemail is only available on the iPhone from select carriers in select countries or regions. You can see the full list of supported carriers in the US here and in Europe here.

How to hear your messages if visual voicemail isn’t working

If your connection isn’t reliable, visual voicemail might not be available. Whatever the reason may be, you can always check your messages from your iPhone or even from another phone.

  • On your iPhone: Tap the Voicemail tab in the Phone app, then follow Apple’s instructions to access your messages.
  • Or, from another phone: Dial your own mobile number, press * or # (depending on your carrier) to bypass your greeting, then enter your voicemail password.
    • Need to change your voicemail password? Go to Settings   > Phone > Change Voicemail Password, then enter the new password.

How to change your voicemail greeting on iPhone

To change your greeting at any time, open the Phone app, then tap the Voicemail tab, and go to Greeting. From there, adjust your voicemail greeting. Simples.

Want to know more?

Check out Apple’s support page for iPhone voicemails for more details.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.

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