Fixing the “Visual Voicemail Unavailable” Error on the iPhone
If you’ve ever encountered the “Visual Voicemail is currently unavailable” error on when going to check new voicemail on the iPhone, there are two quick tricks that almost always fix the problem. So before calling the actual voicemail number like you’re some kind of cave dweller in the stone age of cell phones, try these speedy fixes first.
1: Toggle AirPlane Mode ON & OFF
This often works for the same reason that it resolves troubles with the iPhone getting stuck on “No Service” or the EDGE or GPRS networks, it turns the cellular modem off and on again, forcing it to regain a signal to a cell tower:
- Open “Settings” and flip the switch next to “Airplane Mode” from OFF to ON, wait about 20 seconds then flip the switch OFF again
Airplane mode is obviously enabled because the normal wireless signal turns into a plane icon, then when turned off again it regains a signal. Again, the idea here is to reconnect to a cell tower, hopefully with a better signal which will then allow visual voicemail to function again. Head back to Voicemail and things should be working as normal again, without the error message:
The Airplane trick will usually resolve the unavailable voicemail issues, but if it doesn’t it may be something messed up with the actual iPhone network settings, and thus we move to the next fix.
2: Reset Network Settings
This will reset all network specific settings and in that process Be sure to make a note of Wi-Fi router passwords, as resetting network settings will ditch those in the process.
- Go to Settings and then to “General”
- Look for “Reset” and choose “Reset Network Settings”, confirm the reset
- Optional but recommended: Reboot the iPhone by holding down the power button to turn it off, then turn it back on again
Give the iPhone a minute or two to rejoin the cellular data network, then go back to the Phone app and Voicemail, where everything should be back in order.
You should then no longer see the visual voicemail unavailable error message:
This trick is fairly old and tends to resolve many issues with cellular data connections, wifi troubles, and other networking issues ranging from OTA update issues, iMessage activation errors, to the suddenly disappearing Personal Hotspot on iOS devices. You’ll find it recommended often because it almost always works, suggesting many of the network troubles of iOS are just a matter of network preferences getting corrupted or improperly configured somewhere along the lines, and just like on the desktop side of things, sometimes starting from scratch with a new preference set is all it takes.
Still Not Working? Call Voicemail Instead
Another possibility to consider is that you’re simply out of a reasonable signal range that is able to transfer data at all, thus rendering the visual voicemail feature completely inaccessible. If you’re in a rural location and can’t reconnect to a 3G, 4G, or LTE signal, this is certainly a possibility, and no amount of network tweaking is going to help. In that case just tapping the “Call Voicemail” button will allow you to check voicemail the old fashioned way through a phone call, though you will need to enter the account pin when doing so.