My iPhone Won’t Play Voicemails! Here’s The Real Fix For Verizon, AT&T, & T-Mobile.

Voicemail is not working on your iPhone and you don’t know what to do. It’s incredibly frustrating when voicemail won’t work, especially if you were expecting an important phone call from a friend or family member. In this article, I’ll show you what to do when your iPhone won’t play voicemails so you can fix the problem for good.

What’s Wrong With My iPhone? Should I Call My Carrier?

At this point, we can’t be exactly sure why your iPhone won’t play voicemails. The voicemail you play in the Phone app on your iPhone is called Visual Voicemail, which downloads your voicemails from your carrier in the form of little audio files, similar to the music files you listen to inside the Music app.

When voicemail is not working on your iPhone, a lot of people assume that there’s a problem with their wireless carrier, so they immediately call Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or another carrier’s customer support hotline. However, a lot of the time the problem is really caused by a software issue on the iPhone itself.

Voicemail Not Working On iPhone? Here’s Why!

There are two main reasons why your iPhone is not playing voicemails:

  1. Your iPhone isn’t downloading voicemails from your wireless carrier; or
  2. The Phone app on your iPhone isn’t working correctly

Our troubleshooting guide will help you diagnose and fix the reason why voicemail is not working on your iPhone!

Before We Begin…

Before we dive into the troubleshooting steps, make sure that you have Visual Voicemail set up on your iPhone. Open the Phone app on your iPhone and tap Voicemail in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. If you see “To retrieve a voicemail first set a password and greeting” on the screen as well as a button that says Set Up Now, then Visual Voicemail has not been set up on your iPhone.

To set up Visual Voicemail, tap Set Up Now. You’ll be prompted to enter and confirm a voicemail password. Next, you’ll have the option to choose the default voicemail greeting or record your own. If you want to record your own custom greeting, tap Custom. Once you’ve entered created your password and chosen your greeting, you’ll be able to receive voicemails and view them in the Phone app.

Pro tip: You can double-check to see if voicemail is set up on your iPhone by dialing and calling your own phone number in the Keypad of the Phone app, or by calling your iPhone using another phone.

Why Your iPhone Won’t Play Voicemails — The Fix!

  1. Close And Reopen The Phone App

    As I mentioned earlier, one of the common reasons why an iPhone won’t play voicemails is because the Phone app isn’t working properly. Closing and reopening the Phone app allows it to “shut down” and start again, which can sometimes fix a software glitch.

    To close the Phone app, double-press the Home button. If your iPhone doesn’t have a Home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to the center of the screen.

    This opens App Switcher, which displays all the apps currently running on your iPhone. Use your finger to swipe up on the Phone app. You’ll know the Phone app is closed when it no longer appears in the App Switcher.

    Close the Voicemail App

  2. Turn Your iPhone Off And Back On

    Sometimes, giving your iPhone a fresh start by turning it off and back on again can resolve a minor software issue. For instance, if the software of your iPhone crashed in the background, it may have caused the Phone app to malfunction.

    To turn off iPhones with a Home button, press and hold the power button until you see the red power icon and slide to power off appear on the display of your iPhone. If your iPhone doesn’t have Home button, simultaneously press and hold the side button and either volume button until slide to power off appears.

    Using your finger, slide the red power icon from left to right. Wait about 30–60 seconds before turning your iPhone back on, just to make sure it completely shuts down.

    Restart your iPhone

  3. Log In To Your Wireless Carrier Account And Change Your Voicemail Password

    Some carriers require you to reset the voicemail password as a security precaution when you get a new iPhone. Sometimes, updating it manually online or by calling customer support can reset your iPhone’s connection to the voicemail server and fix the problem.

    But I Thought iPhone Voicemail Didn’t Have A Password!

    Your iPhone does have a voicemail password, but you only have to enter it once and many new iPhones set it up automatically. However, there still needs to be some form of authentication between your carrier and your iPhone to download your voicemails. Even though you don’t see it, your voicemail password still exists.

    How To Change Your Voicemail Password If Verizon Is Your Carrier

    You can change your voicemail password from your iPhone by calling (800)-922-0204. You’ll reach an automated customer service menu which will allow you to change your voicemail password. To learn more, check out Verizon’s support article on the topic.

    How To Change Your Voicemail Password If AT&T Is Your Carrier

    You can change your voicemail password by calling (800)-331-0500 from your iPhone. You’ll reach AT&T’s automated customer service menu which will ask for your phone number and billing zip code. A few seconds later, the message “Password Incorrect – Enter Voicemail Password” will appear on the display of your iPhone. Enter the last seven digits of your cellphone number to change your voicemail password. I strongly recommend that you read AT&T’s support article on changing your voicemail password before attempting to do so.

    How To Change Your Voicemail Password If T-Mobile Is You Carrier

    Dial 123 or call 1-805-637-7249 and enter your phone number. Then, press 5 to go to the Password Security menu. Finally, press 1 to change your voicemail password. Check out T-Mobile’s voicemail support article to learn more!

  4. Reset Network Settings

    When you reset network settings, all of your iPhone’s Wi-Fi and cellular network settings will be erased. This includes your Virtual Private Network (VPN) settings, APN settings, and your Wi-Fi networks — so make sure you write down your passwords first! We do this step because it can be very difficult to track down the exact source of a software problem, so we reset all network settings.

    Open Settings and tap General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings. Then, enter your passcode and tap Reset Network Settings again. Your iPhone will reset its network settings and restart itself.

Voicemail Problem: Fixed!

You’ve fixed the problem with your iPhone and now you’re able to listen to your voicemails again! Make sure your friends and family know what to do when their iPhones won’t play voicemails by sharing this article on social media. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment down below if you have any other questions about your iPhone.

About Author

David Lynch is an expert on cell phones, cell phone plans, and other tech. After using a flip phone into his early 20s, he learned the ropes about iPhones and Androids from a former Apple employee. Today, his articles and videos are read and viewed by millions, and he has been cited by major publications including Reader's Digest, Wired, CMSWire, Consumers Advocate, and more.

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25 days ago

Thanks for the How-To. Followed the directions under #4 Reset Network Settings and Viola! Fixed. I was nervous though hitting the Rest Button . Thanks Agaon. Peter

Lacie Collins
1 year ago

My phone is completely up to date. I was beginning to read this article in hopes of fixing my problem because it describes exactly what is happening on my voicemail, but the issue is when it prompts me to enter and renter a password, it says every time “an error occurred, try again later.” I don’t even make it to the part where I am supposed to set up a greeting and I do not know what to do

Nancy willard
2 years ago

Can’t access voicemail since update 15.2

2 years ago

FIXED: Apple came out with iOS 15.2 and Siri functions are returned.
HOW: Even if automatic updating in selected it is not automatically updating. So go to Settings -> General -> Software Update. Request to update to IOS 15.2. Be sure your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and plugged in. It can take up to 30-60 minutes.

Note: Update was available starting early December 2021

2 years ago

Tried all these things on my Verizon iPhone 12. I was on tech support for 1.5 hours and got nowhere. Any other suggestions? I’ve had the phone for a year and this issue just started a week ago.

2 years ago

I have tried all of these – and various times. I have Spectrum mobile, who I called and they told me to do all of these things but none have worked. Could it be my SIM card? It only stopped working after I switched from my iPhone 8 to an iPhone 11. I have the same carrier and phone number. However, I got a new SIM card because my iPhone 8 was on my ex’s Spectrum Mobile account and I just put this one on my own personal Spectrum Mobile account.

2 years ago

Thanks so much for your help. Closing it down did the trick on my Iphone. This has happened before and I don’t know what I did to correct it, but this was sooooo…. easy.

3 years ago

Can’t thank you enough!!!! I’ve been living without my voicemail for about a month, putting off fixing it or finding someone who can. Decided to Google it, found your fix it page and in under 5 minutes it’s fixed!!!

3 years ago

I cannot get the visual voicemail to play so I can hear it. It is very, very low where you cannot make it out. I have my volume up all the way. I have the iPhone X cream.

5 years ago

This did not fix my problem, and this happens whenever I am at work and get a voicemail. IT won’t download to my phone at work, but I can’t get it to download later either. Never mind, I will just call them back.

5 years ago

Have had Iphone 6S for two years. Still haven’t figured it out. And they want to sell me Iphone 10! Take a hike.

5 years ago

Fixed! Thank you!

6 years ago

This is one of the reason’s I am considering changing my iphone to Samsung Android OS! Another voice mail bug is when I play new voice mail it plays old voice mail! This 2018 and you shouldn’t have to call for retrieval of voice mails! I switched Siri language to UK english to turn off the buggy transcription app! Or you can turn Siri off to turn it off!

6 years ago

Thank you so much! I have Metro PCS and an Iphone 5S. I called my carrier and reset my VPN and now I can retrieve my voicemail. Yippie!!!!!

6 years ago

This is an Apple bug that has been there for YEARS, and they STILL refuse to address it!!!

6 years ago

None of these worked — iphone 8 appears to be a piece of junk.

6 years ago

As always, fixed it right, the first time. Thank you again, David.