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Voicemail not working on your iPhone? Here's how to fix it

"Don't leave a message because my voicemail will eat it."
By
June 17, 2022

Voicemail, just like faxes, may be becoming a bit archaic due to the prevalence of other forms of messaging, such as email and SMS. But it is obviously still around and many people still use it. I personally use it to avoid talking to people I don’t like (“sorry, the voicemail ate your message.”) But if your voicemail suddenly dies on you, do you have options? Of course you do. Before resigning yourself to having to talk to your mother, here are some things you can try if voicemail is not working on your iPhone.

Read more: Apple iPhone 13 buyer’s guide — everything you need to know

QUICK ANSWER

If voicemail is not working on your iPhone, try things like enabling and reenabling the voicemail feature. Check for updates and/or restart your phone. If minor fixes like these don't work, it may be a deeper technical issue, requiring investigation from your phone carrier or Apple.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Check to see if voicemail has been activated

ios change voicemail password not working

Let’s start with the plainly obvious. Is your voicemail even switched on? There’s an easy way to check. Go to Settings–>Phone and scroll down. If you see the option Change Voicemail Password, then voicemail is on.

If you don’t see it, then voicemail is off and you need to enable it. You do this by going to the Phone app and tapping Voicemail at the bottom.

Force-close the Phone app and re-launch it

ios phone app voicemail not working

If voicemail is on, the next possibility to consider is that the Phone app may be malfunctioning. In that case, time to force-close it and reopen it. Yes, I know it sounds like a cliche, but restarting things really does work in the vast majority of cases.

To force-close the Phone app, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you will see floating windows of each open app. Swipe left or right until you find the Phone app, then swipe it up to close it. Now exit to the main screen and tap on the Phone icon again to re-launch it.

Toggle mobile data off and on again

Is your iPhone voicemail still not working? Then the next step is to see if there is an error with your mobile data plan. You can do this by toggling the mobile internet data off and back on again. This can be done by going to Settings–>Mobile Data and toggling off and on the Mobile Data option on the next screen.

ios iphone 13 mobile data options voicemail not working

If the mobile data comes back on without a hitch, then that isn’t the issue. If it doesn’t come back on, maybe pay your phone bill?

Check for iOS software updates

ios software update voicemail not working

Next up, does your iPhone need an operating system update? Sometimes, some device features are temporarily disabled until an iOS update is applied, especially if it’s beta features involved. Go to Settings–>General–>Software Update to see if anything is waiting.

Restart your iPhone

restart iphone

Now try restarting your iPhone. Yes that old restarting cliche again, but better to try it and rule it out. Your voicemail may just be needing a small kick in the right direction, and quite often a device restart is all it takes to flush the gremlins out.

Check that call forwarding is off

If voicemail is still rolling over and playing dead, the last “easy” thing you can try is seeing if call forwarding is off. If it’s on, then obviously calls are being redirected to another number and not getting a chance of making it to voicemail. It would also explain why your phone is not even ringing in the first place.

Call forwarding can be checked at Settings–>Phone. Scroll down to the Calls section and tap Call Forwarding.

ios call forwarding voicemail not working

On the next screen, if the toggle is set to green, then call forwarding is on. Toggle it off so the green turns grey.

Contact your phone carrier

ATT logo on an angle
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

If you’ve reached this far, then the problem is obviously a bit more complicated and technical than a few minor fixes. It’s now time to call your phone carrier to find out if the voicemail service is down, and if so, when you can expect it to be back up.

Obviously, we can’t go any further into this specific topic as there are countless phone carriers worldwide, and we can’t possibly cover every single one. But just go to your carrier’s website and find the customer support section. They usually have an online chat option, so you may not even have to actually talk on the phone to someone.

Saying that, we have covered how to set up and use voicemail for three of the big US carriers. Maybe these pages can help?

Voicemail still not working? Contact Apple Support

apple support

If all else fails, and even your phone carrier doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, the last thing to do is contact Apple Support. Maybe there is an issue with the voicemail software on your phone? Maybe the latest iOS update has done a number on your voicemail (see what I did there?)

It can’t hurt to fire off a quick message to them and make sure the problem isn’t at the Apple end. You can even contact them through the Apple Support iOS app on your phone.


Read more: Apple iPhone 14 — everything we know so far