- If your iPhone’s voicemail isn’t working, there are several troubleshooting steps you can try.
- First, making sure the voicemail and greeting are set up properly in your Phone app.
- You can also call into your voicemail box to make sure the service is working properly.
These days, most people take the iPhone’s visual voicemail for granted, but for years it was one of the strongest selling points for choosing iOS over Android. At one time, only the iPhone let you see a list of incoming messages without listening to them all.
If your iPhone’s voicemail isn’t working — either some part of it is glitching or voicemail doesn’t work at all — here’s your one-stop shop for troubleshooting the problem and getting voicemail back up and running.
What to do if your iPhone’s voicemail is not working
Try the following steps in order to get your iPhone voicemail back up and running.
Make sure voicemail is set up on your iPhone
This sounds obvious — and it is — but you should make sure that your voicemail is set up properly on your iPhone. If you recently changed carriers (or even plans at the same carrier), you might need to do an initial voicemail configuration.
1. Start the Phone app.
2. Tap the Voicemail tab at the bottom of the screen.
3. If your voicemail hasn’t yet been set up or needs to be set up again, tap Set Up. Follow the instructions to create a voicemail password and choose or record a greeting.
Check that you’re using the custom greeting
If you notice that your outgoing voicemail greeting is a default message — usually an automated voice saying that the person is not available, and to leave a message — rather than a custom greeting, it’s possible it was accidentally checked from custom to default. This is easy to correct.
1. Start the Phone app and tap the Voicemail tab at the bottom of the screen.
2. Tap Greeting at the top left of the screen.
3. On the Greeting screen, you should see a checkmark for Default or Custom. If it’s currently set to Default, check Custom.
4. To preview the greeting, tap Play. To record a new greeting, tap Record, speak, and tap Stop when you’re done.
5. Tap Save.
Make sure you don’t have call forwarding turned on
One of the most common reasons that voicemail seems to have stopped working is that you set up call forwarding at some time in the past and forgot to turn it off. Your calls are being directed to another phone number, so no calls ring through to the iPhone and record a voicemail message.
Here’s how to check your call forwarding status:
1. Start the Settings app.
2. Tap Phone.
3. Tap Call Forwarding.
4. On the Call Forwarding page, check your forwarding status. If call forwarding is enabled, turn it off by toggling the button to the off position —it will then appear greyed out.
Test your voicemail by dialing it directly
There might be a problem with your voicemail service at the cellular carrier. Here’s an easy way to check:
1. Start the Phone app.
2. Tap the Keypad tab at the bottom of the screen.
3. Tap and hold the 1 key until the phone dials your voicemail. You should hear your saved messages.
Alternatively, you can go to the Keypad tab in the Phone app and dial your phone number manually, by entering all 10 digits. If you do that, you’ll probably need to enter your voicemail four-digit pin or passcode.
If you don’t remember your passcode and want to reset it or if your iPhone can’t connect to your voicemail manually, contact your cellular provider’s customer support to resolve the problem.
Turn your cellular service off and on again
To be perfectly transparent, this is unlikely to fix the problem — but it’s very easy to do, so you should definitely try it before moving on to more time-consuming troubleshooting steps. You might be able to revive your voicemail by toggling the cellular radio off and back on again.
1. Pull the Control Center down from the top right of the screen.
2. Tap the Airplane mode button at the top left of the screen.
3. Wait about two minutes and then turn off Airplane mode by tapping the button a second time.
4. Wait for the cellular radio to reconnect and try your voicemail again.
Enable Wi-Fi Calling
If you’re in an area with poor a connection, turning on Wi-Fi calling on your iPhone can help speed things up. Here’s how to enable it:
1. Go into your Settings app.
2. Tap Cellular.
3. Select Wi-Fi Calling.
4. Toggle on Wi-Fi Calling.
Empty your mailbox
Deleting your voicemails can also help, especially if your mailbox if full. Keep in mind that you’ll have to select every single message in order to bulk delete them. Otherwise, go through each message and tap the delete button, if you prefer to listen to them beforehand.
Turn cellular data on
Another possible solution — if you find that you’re having trouble getting a connection and that’s impacting your ability to access your voicemails — is to turn cellular data on.
To do that, go into your Settings app, select Cellular, and then choose Cellular Data Options. From there, toggle on Data Roaming.
Close and re-open the Phone app
Often, a software glitch is easily solved just by restarting the device or the program that’s misbehaving.
If you’ve gotten this far and your voicemail still doesn’t work, either turn your iPhone off, wait a minute and then turn it back on again, or close the Phone app and then start the Phone app a second time. If the app was suffering a minor software problem, it might now work.
Check for a carrier settings update
Cellular carriers sometimes update their settings. Usually, these updates are installed automatically and you don’t need to think about it.
If an update didn’t get installed, though, it’s possible — not likely, but possible — that it could be interfering with your voicemail. You can manually update the carrier settings through the Settings app.
Reset your network settings
If your voicemail service appears to be normal but it’s still not working on your iPhone, you can reset your phone’s network settings. This is a last resort because it will reset all your network settings, including your Wi-Fi networks and their passwords.
If you want to try it, though, do this:
1. Go into the Settings app.
2. Tap General.
3. Scroll to the bottom and tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.
4. At the bottom of the screen, tap Reset.
5. Tap Reset Network Settings and confirm you want to do that.
Contact your carrier
There are many reasons why your Voicemail may not be working on your iPhone. And, if after troubleshooting things for yourself, you find that it’s still not working, it’s time to contact your phone carrier. They should be able to walk you through your options, and, hopefully, fix the issue.