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Voicemail Unavailable on iPhone? (Here’s the FIX!)

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Writer, Apple

Over the last decade, Farhad has gained hands-on experience with smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, etc. If he's not writing, you can bet he's trying to keep up with the latest technology. He oversees coverage of iPhone, iOS, and Apple Watch for Gotechtor.

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It’s frustrating when voicemail is unavailable on your iPhone, as you cannot check your voicemails. There are a couple of reasons why this may happen—and most are easy to fix.

Fortunately, there are ways to solve this problem, and they’re typically not too hard to do if you know what to look for.

We’ll go through all the possible reasons why voicemail is unavailable on your iPhone and how to fix the problem. Let’s get to it.

Why Is Voicemail Unavailable on My iPhone?

Voicemail not working on your iPhone can happen due to several reasons. First, you should ensure that your voicemail is already set up.

If you’ve been receiving messages without any problems, but now you notice that voicemail is unavailable, it could be one of the following reasons.

  • You have enabled call forwarding.
  • A new iOS update has led to it.
  • Bug in the Phone app.
  • Incorrect voicemail password.
  • Poor internet connection.
  • Outdated carrier settings.

Whatever the reason, your iPhone will display the following error message: “Voicemail unavailable; please try again later.”

Knowing why voicemail is unavailable on your iPhone should make it easier for you to pinpoint the problem and find the appropriate fix. Let’s get to it.

How Can I Fix Voicemail Unavailable on iPhone?

Here are all the tips that will help you fix it when your iPhone shows the Voicemail unavailable; please try again later error message:

  1. Ensure Your Voicemail Is Set Up Properly
  2. Disable Call Forwarding
  3. Erase Old Voicemails
  4. Check Voicemail Directly
  5. Update Carrier Settings
  6. Turn Airplane Mode On and Off
  7. Turn Cellular Data On and Off
  8. Turning On Wi-Fi Calling
  9. Reset Time Zone
  10. Reset Network Settings

1. Ensure Your Voicemail Is Set Up Properly

Any recent change in your carrier or its plans can reset the voicemail settings. As a result, even if you’ve been using voicemail just before it stopped working, double-check to ensure everything is all set.

To do so:

  1. Open the Phone app, then tap the Voicemail option at the bottom-left corner.
Voicemail tab in Phone app
iPhone Voicemail. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. If you see the Set Up Now button, you must do the voicemail configuration process again. Feel free to scroll down to the next method if the Set Up now tab doesn’t appear. Otherwise, tap the Set Up Now option at the center of the screen.
  2. Set up a password in the blank section, then select Done. (Your password must contain at least four digits.)
  3. On the following screen, you can use a Default message for greeting or record a new one by choosing the Custom option. Select Record to begin, then save your greeting message by tapping Done or Save.

2. Disable Call Forwarding

Call forwarding directs your calls to another phone and your voicemails. It is one of the most common problems leading to unavailable voicemail errors on iPhones. So, the next step is to ensure it’s off. 

How to check Call Forwarding status:

  1. Locate and tap the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to find and select the Phone menu.
  3. Under the Calls section, choose Call Forwarding.
Call Forwarding
Disabling Call Forwarding. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

If the Call Forwarding option is on, turn it off and try voicemail again. Otherwise, move on to the next step. 

3. Erase Old Voicemails from the Box

In many cases, a full voicemail box is the main cause of unavailable voicemail on iPhone. Although new iPhones have more space than the old versions, you can still run out of storage space. As a result, you won’t receive new voicemails, and the service will stop working.

To empty your voicemail box:

  1. Select Phone app, then choose Voicemail in the bottom-left corner.
  2. Tap Edit on the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Select the messages you want to delete one by one, then choose Delete at the bottom of the screen.

It should fix your problem. If it didn’t, go through other steps.

4. Check Voicemail Directly

Sometimes your cellular carrier provider might be the issue. You can call voicemail directly to check whether the carrier is the problem. 

To test your voicemail, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Phone app.
  2. Choose the Keypad option at the bottom.
  3. Select and hold the “1” key until it dials voicemail.
Calling Voicemail through Phone app
Dialing Voicemail. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

After calling voicemail, you should be able to check your saved messages. In that case, your cellular carrier service provider is to blame. 

5. Update Carrier Settings

As with updating your iPhone, you can also update your carrier settings. Although it doesn’t need to be updated frequently, it can fix all carrier issues.

So, if voicemail is unavailable on your iPhone, check to see whether your carrier requires an update. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings app, then tap General.
  2. After that, select About at the top of the screen.
About menu in General
About menu in General. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Look for a carrier update at the bottom of the screen.

If there’s a new update available, you’ll see a Download and Install carrier update at the bottom of the screen.

Otherwise, you will only see information about your device and carrier. Be careful not to take screenshots from this page and share it with others. The information indicated on the About screen must remain private.

If you encounter any issues, share the information in this section only with your carrier provider or Apple.

6. Turn Airplane Mode On and Off

In most cases, you can solve voicemail problems on your iPhone by turning your cellular service on and off.

If you have other problems, such as receiving voicemails hours after sending them or having trouble downloading them, this method can be helpful.

You can also turn your phone on and off to reset your cellular service. But putting it in and out of Airplane mode will also do the trick. To do so:

  1. Pull the Control Center from the bottom of the screen on iPhone 8/7 or the top right on iPhone X or newer.
  2. Select the Airplane mode option to turn it on.
Enable Airplane Mode
Enabling Airplane mode. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Wait a couple of minutes, then tap the button again to turn it off.

Test whether your voicemail works by calling your phone from another device. If that doesn’t fix your voicemail problem, move on to the next troubleshooting method.

7. Turn Cellular Data On and Off

You may need Wi-Fi or mobile data to check your voicemails using the visual voicemail app. Because voicemail is a carrier feature, turning cellular data on and off might help receive new messages.

From Control Center or Settings, you can turn off and then turn on Cellular Service by following these steps:

  1. Swipe down from the top right corner of the screen.
  2. Press and hold down the Wi-Fi icon.
  3. Tap the Cellular Data icon to turn it off.
  4. After 30 seconds, tap it again to turn it on.

Open the Settings app > Cellular > Toggle off Cellular Data > After 30 seconds, toggle it back on.

8. Turning On Wi-Fi Calling on Your iPhone 

If your voicemails take a lot of time to download, it may be due to a poor network connection. In addition, a poor network can lead to unavailable voicemail problems on your iPhone.

So, if your region of location doesn’t support fast Internet services, you can enable Wi-Fi calling option to fix your problem.

Here’s how to enable Wi-Fi calling on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app, then select Cellular.
  2. After that, tap on Wi-Fi Calling.
  3. Turn on Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone by tapping on it.

The Wi-Fi Calling option won’t charge you anything but lets you receive voicemails whenever your phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

It also enhances audio quality and download speed. So, if your voicemail is not working, this method is worth a try.

9. Reset Time Zone

Many features on iPhone, including voicemail, work based on time zone. So, you need to ensure the date and time are accurate, especially if you travel a lot.

Resetting the time zone can be a recurring problem for you. So, it’s best to let your device automatically set the date and time to avoid such issues. 

Here’s how to set date and time automatically on iPhone:

  1. Head to Settings, then select General.
  2. Tap Date & Time.
  3. Choose the Set Automatically option.
Date Time Set Automatically
Set date and time to automatically. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

Setting the date and time automatically will most probably fix your voicemail problem. If it didn’t, head over to the last solution.

10. Reset Network Settings on iPhone

If none of these methods worked for you, it’s time to reset your settings. Be aware that this solution will delete all network settings such as Personal hotspots, Wi-Fi networks, Wi-Fi passwords, etc. On the other hand, it’s your last chance of getting voicemail work again.

If you still want to do that, follow these steps:

  1. Head to the Settings app, then select General.
  2. Tap Transfer or Reset iPhone at the bottom of the screen.
  3. At the bottom of the screen, click Reset, then select Reset Network Settings.
Reset Network Settings in iphone
Resetting Network Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

After confirming, your device will reset only the network settings. Resetting settings is the only way to set up voicemail on iPhone again when it says unavailable. 

Unless you have carrier restrictions or other limitations regarding your region of location, one of these methods will solve the voicemail problem on your iPhone.

Final Thoughts on Voicemail Unavailable on iPhone

If your phone is busy most of the time, not getting voicemails can be a serious problem, as you can miss important messages from your friends, colleagues, or family.

If none of the above solutions worked, you could check your voicemail by dialing your mobile number on another phone, then entering your voicemail password. This way, you can hear your latest messages.

If this method was helpful, you should call your carrier provider and ask for assistance to fix the voicemail unavailable issue on your iPhone.

If you have any feedback or questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below.

Writer, Apple

Over the last decade, Farhad has gained hands-on experience with smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, etc. If he's not writing, you can bet he's trying to keep up with the latest technology. He oversees coverage of iPhone, iOS, and Apple Watch for Gotechtor.

Farhad Pashaei

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