Delete Voicemails from the iPhone One at a Time or Multiple at Once

Jan 6, 2014 - 8 Comments

Phone icon If your iPhone voicemail box gets hit up constantly and you actually listen to the messages, each voicemail message gets downloaded locally to the iPhone and takes up some storage space. For most users, this is usually an inconsequential amount of data ranging from 5MB-100MB, but for those who send a lot of calls directly to voicemail and have tons of locally stored messages, or whose message leavers dump a 15 minutes rant onto your voicemail, you may find the size to become a nuisance. Fortunately, it’s easy to clear out voicemail from the iPhone either with a single message or with multiple at a time, so whether you just want to declutter the iPhone a bit, lose that lengthy weirdo message someone left on your phone, or simply restore some additional storage capacity, you’ll find it just takes a moment or two to complete.

Quickly Delete a Voicemail Message on the iPhone

  1. Open the Phone app on the iPhone and tap on the “Voicemail” tab
  2. Swipe left across the voicemail message to summon the red “Delete” button when it appears, then tap on that to delete the message

Swipe to delete Voicemail messages on the iPhone

You can also choose the “Delete” option after you have listened to a message, though that isn’t as fast.

Optionally, you can use a little-known multitouch trick to quickly delete multiple voicemails at the same time. This is probably the quickest way to clear out the entire voicemail inbox there is, and it’s really easy to do.

Delete Multiple Voicemails at Once with Multitouch

  1. Open the Voicemail portion of Phone app, then tap on “Edit”
  2. Use multiple touch points to tap on multiple red minus (-) delete buttons simultaneously, then concurrently tap on the red “Delete” buttons

Delete multiple voicemail messages on the iPhone with multitouch

Deleting voicemail from the iPhone also removes it from the voicemail server, at least with most cellular providers, thus you should only clear voicemails after you have listened to them and deemed them not worthy of keeping. That may sound obvious, but because of this trick to recover accidentally deleted voicemail messages that are still stored on the device (i.e.; hasn’t been rebooted yet), some users have been baffled to find that not all voicemail is recoverable that way.

In some situations, deleting all voice messages can function as a secondary approach to resolving the Visual Voicemail Unavailable error message, though you should manually check voicemail by calling your own number before doing this, otherwise you may end up losing it without ever hearing the recording.

Checking VoiceMail Storage Capacity Usage

The latest versions of iOS let you check the total capacity consumed by voicemail messages easily:

  1. Head to “Settings” on the iPhone, then go to “General” followed by “Usage”
  2. Navigate through the app list to find “Voicemail” and the storage consumed alongside it

Checking Voicemail storage usage on the iPhone

The Voicemail storage usage list isn’t actionable, but it will tell you exactly how much space you’ll get by deleting the messages stored on the phone by using the above tricks.

Prior versions of iOS used to bundle Voicemail data as part of the “Other” space that seemed to universally confuse everyone, but now with it separated it’s very easy to determine if you’ll gain any meaningful storage by trashing the local messages or not. In the screen shot example, 4.7MB is obviously quite small, but I’ve seen the Voicemail portion take up 800MB on an iPhone before, so it ultimately depends on how much voicemail you get and how often you tidy up.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

8 Comments

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  1. James says:

    I have a weird issue where I can’t delete voicemail at all, and the screen becomes unresponsive when trying to scroll in the voicemail window of the iPhone. Ever see that? Any ideas? Happens even after quiting the app.

  2. Kr00 says:

    This is only relevant in the US and nowhere else. If you wish to provide tips in a global sense, please make a note that tips like these are US only. Unless you wish to confuse people who don’t know the difference? There is the rest of the world out here too.

  3. Serge says:

    So there is no way to simply delete all the voicemails at once? I have hundreds of voicemails.

  4. Joey says:

    What are “multiple touch points”?

    And, like other visitors have asked (but never had answered), is there a simple way to select ALL voicemails and delete ALL of them at the same time?

    • ort says:

      No, there is not a way to select all voicemail on the iPhone and delete all of the voice mails at the same time. That is a limitation in iOS on the iPhone, you must manually select each voicemail to remove them, or use the multi-touch feature to delete two or three at a time. “multiple touch points” means using multiple fingers, or, ‘touch points’ since some people use a stylus, etc.

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