Visual Voicemail: How to Set Up & Use Voicemail Transcription on Your iPhone

How to Use Voicemail Transcription in iOS 10

We've already gone over how to set up voicemail on your iPhone, so now it's time to learn how to use Visual Voicemail. A lot of people are asking, "How do you use Voicemail Transcription on the iPhone?" The voicemail-to-text feature on Apple's iPhone takes voicemail and transcribes it, so you can easily read phone messages. Some love the feature, others hate it, and the debate rages on. One thing is for certain: you can't turn Visual Voicemail off at this time. If you're wanting to use Voicemail Transcription on iPhone 6 or earlier, I'm afraid it isn't going to work. The feature itself is pretty easy to use, but it can be a little glitchy. If Voicemail Transcription is not working on your iPhone, check to make sure your phone is running the latest iOS update. We'll also go over what to do if Voicemail Transcription is not working on your iPhone. Here's how to use the voicemail-to-text feature known as Visual Voicemail on your iPhone. 

Related: iOS 13 Draining Your iPhone Battery Life? Here Are 12 Ways to Fix It

What is Visual Voicemail (Voicemail-to-Text) on the iPhone?

*It’s important to note that your carrier must support Visual Voicemail in order for this feature to work, regardless of the iPhone you have. If you’re not sure whether or not your carrier supports Visual Voicemail, check here.

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Visual Voicemail allows you to simply read a transcription of the voicemail sent to you. Once read, you can listen to the voicemail if you feel like the transcription missed a piece of information. You can also let Apple know whether or not the Voicemail Transcription was useful. Many people want to know how to turn Voicemail Transcription on or off, but you can't do either at this time. Voicemail-to-text on iPhone is a default feature that works on devices running at least iOS 10. However, if you own an iPhone 6 or earlier, Voicemail Transcription will not work on your device. It does, however, work on iPhone 6s, iPhone SE, and all newer models including the iPhone 11. 

How to Use Visual Voicemail on Your iPhone

  1. Open the Phone app.
  2. Tap Voicemail at the bottom of the screen.

    iphone phone appiphone voicemail
  3. Tap the voicemail you want to read just like you would to listen to it.
  4. You’ll see a paragraph of text above the voicemail play button. That’s the voicemail transcription.
  5. To listen to the voicemail after reading the transcription, tap the Play button. Or Raise to Listen if you have that setting turned on.

    tap voicemail on iphonevisual voicemail

The voicemail transcription may not be perfect, but it gives you an overall idea of what the person was talking about and whether or not they’re a telemarketer. Once you’ve read the voicemail transcription, you can choose to listen to the voicemail or simply delete it.

How to Let Apple Know the Voicemail Transcription Was Bad

  1. Tap on a voicemail to read the transcription.
  2. Beneath the transcription, you should see Was this transcription useful or not useful?
  3. Tap useful or not useful, depending on how the voicemail transcription was.
  4. A pop-up will let you know what will be sent to Apple for improving the service.
  5. Tap Submit to accept or Cancel to change your mind.

    send message to applesend voicemail error message to apple

Why Is Voicemail Transcription Not Working?

For whatever reason, Voicemail Transcription only works on iPhone 6s or later, including iPhone SE and the newer models such as iPhone 8 and iPhone X. If you have an iPhone that Voicemail Transcription works on, make sure you've updated to the latest iOS. Alternatively, iOS 11 has been buggy for many users, which could also be a source of any voicemail-to-text problems. Future updates to the latest iOS always improve those bugs. If you want to try and get Voicemail Transcription working on your iPhone now, we recommend resetting your Network Settings:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Reset, then Choose Reset Network Settings.

    iphone settings app generalreset network settings iphone
  4. Enter your passcode and confirm.

    iphone passcode
  5. You’ll need to re-enter your Wi-Fi passwords after your network settings have reset.

If you’ve tried something that fixed Voicemail Transcription for you, let us know in the comments so other people can try it too. We expect Apple will address the problems with Voicemail Transcription in future updates.

How to Turn Off Visual Voicemail

While some love the Voicemail Transcription feature, I’ve heard from quite a few people who just want to turn the dang thing off. Unfortunately, Apple didn’t include a way to disable Voicemail Transcription on iPhone.  I suspect Apple will give the option to disable Voicemail Transcription in future updates. When it does, we’ll make sure to update this post with how to turn off Voicemail Transcription.

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Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.