iPhone Voicemail Won’t Play? Here’s How to Fix That

Aug 3, 2017 - 2 Comments

Fix iPhone voicemail not playing

The iPhone Visual Voicemail feature gathers voicemails as audio files on the iphone, found within the Voicemail tab of the Phone app. When you want to play a voicemail, you simply tap on one of the voicemail messages in Phone app and it should play the voicemail audio as expected. Should is the operative word here… because sometimes the iPhone won’t play voicemail. If you find yourself in a situation where voicemail won’t play on an iPhone or voicemail is not working as expected, try these troubleshooting tips to remedy the problem.

Wait, Does your iPhone Mobile Carrier Support Visual Voicemail?

Most iPhone carriers support visual voicemail but not all do. This may seem obvious, but are you certain your iPhone cellular provider supports the visual voicemail feature? Not all cellular carriers support the feature, and if you aren’t certain then you should contact your mobile phone company to check with them.

One fairly common scenario where an iPhone seemingly won’t play voicemail all of a sudden is when an iPhone user switches cellular providers from one mobile company to another, and the new company doesn’t support visual voicemail. I’ve seen this happen when a user has switched from AT&T to Straight Talk in the USA, for example, but it could happen when switching away from Verizon or T-Mobile, or any global cellular provider as well. You will need to check with your mobile service company if you are not certain.

Fixing iPhone Voicemail Not Working or Voicemail Playing Issues

Here are a handful of tips to troubleshoot voicemail issues with iPhone.

1: Confirm Adequate Cellular Service

Does your iPhone have cellular service? Is the cellular reception sufficient to be able to make and receive calls and transmit data? If an iPhone has very low coverage or spotty coverage or is out of a coverage area entirely with a “no service” indicator, you will typically not receive voicemails.

Or, if you get a notification for a voicemail it may not play because visual voicemail can not access the voicemail through the limited service. Similarly, limited service will prevent iPhone voicemail transcripts from appearing too.

In this situation, you’ll just need to wait until you get to a better cellular coverage area or a better signal.

2: Reboot the iPhone

Often just rebooting the iPhone is enough to fix an issue where voicemail won’t play. This is simple and only take a minute or so:

That performs a forced reboot, but you can also turn the device off and on too.

The iPhone will reboot, when finished try accessing voicemail again. This often works, restarting an iPhone can fix all sorts of peculiar issues particularly if they crop up seemingly out of nowhere.

3: Confirm VoiceMail Password is Correct

Another possibility is that the voicemail password was changed, or you need to re-enter it again.

You can confirm and change your iPhone Voicemail password through the Settings apps Phone section.

4: Check & Update Carrier Settings

Sometimes the cellular carrier pushes an update specific to their cellular service, and this may impact or remedy an issue with voicemail on the iPhone.

You can update carrier settings on the iPhone through the Settings app > General > About > and one will appear if an update is available to install.

5: Reset Network Settings

Resetting Network Settings can often remedy peculiar network issues including some issues with visual voicemail. This has the downside of dropping remembered wi-fi routers and other custom network settings like DHCP and DNS, so you’ll need to enter wireless passwords again and make other network customizations if applicable to your iPhone.

  1. Go to the Settings app and then go to “General” and then to “Reset”
  2. Choose “Reset Network Settings” and confirm that you wish to reset the network settings

After the iPhone reboots, head back to the Phone Voicemail section and see if it works again.

Resetting network settings often resolves a problem where you see an alert saying “visual voicemail not available” despite having cellular coverage.

6: Try the Save & Listen Trick

Sometimes an iPhone voicemail won’t play directly from the Phone app for some mysterious reason, but if you can save the voicemail to the Voice Memos app or Notes app then it will play within there.

7: Call Voicemail Directly

Nothing working to get voicemail working? Try calling voicemail directly from your iPhone.

Usually you can call voicemail by dialing your own phone number from your iPhone. Then you typically have to enter your pin/password to get access to the voicemail inbox.

This is often necessary for carriers that do not support visual voicemail anyway, and many of those cellular providers don’t alert you to a new voicemail either so making a habit of calling voicemail to check can be necessary.

If you can’t access your voicemail after calling your own voicemail inbox, it’s probably time to contact your mobile provider and have them fix an issue, or to find out if the voicemail box was disabled or there is some other problem with the cellular service or account.

Did this help you to get voicemail playing on the iPhone again? Do you know of any other tips or tricks to get voicemail working on the iPhone again? Let us know in the comments!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

2 Comments

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  1. Old Coot says:

    Telus in Canada doesn’t support it for individuals but does provide to businesses.

  2. Art Hansen says:

    This is great. I have been struggling to find this answer on my own for the last 6 weeks. Thank you so much. The network settings reboot did the trick for me.

    Art

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