See a Blank Red Dot on the Phone Icon? It’s Your iPhone Voicemail, Here’s the Fix

Aug 23, 2014 - 9 Comments

Blank red dot on the iPhone phone icon

If you’ve recently made a change to your iPhone service or SIM card, you may notice a mysterious red blank dot on the “Phone” app of the iPhone home screen. Typically that little blank red dot means you have voicemail, but the iPhone can’t retrieve it, and it usually occurs in one of the following scenarios: the iPhone has just been restored or reset, the iPhone has a new SIM card inserted into it with a different phone number or service plan, or the associated phone voicemail password has been changed.

Because this is almost always an indicator of a login error with your voicemail, the solution is usually* as simple as logging in with the proper voicemail password. Note the usually*, because sometimes it can be indicative of network issues as well, but more on that in a moment. First, let’s trigger the voicemail login dialog so that you can be sure that you’re using the proper password associated with the iPhones voicemail account:

  1. Head to the “Settings” app on your iPhone and go to the “Phone” section
  2. Scroll down and tap on “Change Voicemail Password” – this should trigger a voicemail login popup alert where you can enter the proper voicemail password, enter the correct password
  3. The blank red dot icon should now turn into a regular notification badge with a number in it, indicating how many new voicemails are available on the iPhone

voicemail blank red dot

Voicemail should work as normal and the blank icon will disappear… unless of course you have a network error.

* If you know for certain that the voicemail password is correct and the “Voicemail” tab in the Phone app shows a Visual Voicemail unavailable error, you can typically fix that by resetting Network Settings. You’ll likely want to confirm the voicemail password is correct as well, otherwise the visual voicemail error can continue to appear even after resetting your network settings.

Voicemail unavailable on the iPHone

Finally, you may also see that blank dot if you’re using call forwarding, or you’re in a very limited reception area, where there’s just enough reception to ping your phone that voicemail has arrived, but not enough reception to download the visual voicemail, or to even reliably make a call to your voicemail provider. That’s a bit less common these days unless you’re deep in the wilderness somewhere, but it can happen. For the most situations, that blank dot is just a simple connection issue, whether with the login or network.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Troubleshooting


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  1. Tim says:

    I’ve had the red dot when not having visual voicemail. You have to dial into your voicemail the old way. The iPhone can’t retrieve the audio file. If the cell network is experiencing issues , I’ve had the red dot because the iPhone can’t download the audio file / voicemail.

  2. Ed Gonzalez says:

    I turn my cellular data off whenever I’m near wifi. So I see this all the time.

  3. RustyRail says:

    Another good app from Cydia called:NoVoiceMail
    works great. 👍

  4. DC10Rocks says:

    iPhone 4, iOS 6.1

    I see blank red dot only when cellular data is OFF.

    I have tried leaving voice mail, turning data back on, retrieving voice mail, turning data off, red dot disappeared.

    Now it stays there even after doing that!

    Visual voice mail works fine. For regular voicemail I do not remember my password so I will have to call my provider and have them clear this up.

  5. Jim says:

    Best way to solve the problem is to replace the SIM card with a new one.

  6. Francis says:

    Above and a few others didn’t work for me. What did was Notifications/Phone and toggle “Allow Notifications” on and off. Hope it helps.

  7. Francis says:

    Disregard above..just noticed badge was toggled off. When toggled on…damn dot is still there. Ugh.

  8. rob h says:

    I set up my iphone 5c for voicemail – then had my old number ‘ported’ to it. I also rang virgin mobile (789) to arrange for the voicemail to be reset for the ported number. That worked but now the the voicemail icon/button didn’t function ( message: ‘calls to this number are barred’ )

    After several calls Virgin Mobile Help desk ( philipines ) couldn’t solve it and routed me to a UK ‘technical specialist’ who also tried a couple of codes but couldn’t solve it and gave up ( he recommended I ring Apple instead – but their service centre was shut as its ‘the holidays’ )

    So far nil points for Virgin and same for Apple – taking your money but poor service afterwards.

    However I found the following code on the web and this worked (why couldn’t VM Help Desk do this research ?)

    Enter the following from the phone keyboard pad as if making a phone call then press dial key – not much occurs but this should fix the VM button.


    NB the ‘222’ part is simply the Virgin Mobile access number used to set up voicemail – the code will likley work also for other carriers but will probably need a different VM access number so: **5005*86*XXX#

    [where XXX is the service providers setup number]

  9. shiva says:

    I tried above suggestion. Nothing works.. Any I didn’t format/reset recently.. I restarted my phone, the red dot went away :)

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