Dealing With a Voicemail Unavailable iPhone? 10 Fixes That Will Help

If your visual voicemail is unavailable, it could be due to several reasons including an outdated OS or other software problems. As a long-time iPhone user, I’ve dealt with this issue more than once. Below, I’ve provided several solutions to fix the issue.

Solution 1: Update iOS

If you’re using an older version of iOS, updating it might solve the problem. Some people don’t install new firmware as they’re not a fan of the way the new updates look, though.

  • Go to Settings > General > Software Update
  • Tap update
software update on ios

Instead of manually installing new firmware, the installations can be set automatically.

  • Settings > General > Software update
  • Turn on Automatic updates

Just know that if you enable Automatic Updates, your iPhone would lose power faster than it should. The device would constantly be looking for new firmware after all.

Solution 2: Carrier Settings Update

You might not have updated your carrier settings in a while. This could be why voicemails aren’t coming through.

  • Settings > tap General > About
  • Follow the on-screen instructions for any installations available
iphone About settings

Solution 3: Turn Airplane Mode On & Off

When Airplane Mode is enabled, your iPhone would stop connecting to cellular networks (cellular data, phone calls, and text messaging won’t work). Enable and then disconnect the Airplane mode. Your voicemail problem should be fixed, as the connection to your carrier network would be refreshed.

  • Swipe up from the bottom of your screen
  • Look for the aero plane icon
  • Toggle airplane mode

Alternatively, you could:

  • Open settings app > Tap on Airplane mode

In some instances, you might have to reboot your device with the feature on, and then switch it off.

switching airplane mode on iphone

Solution 4: Check Your Carrier Connection

For voicemail to work, your iPhone needs a cellular network connection. Look at the top left corner of your handset’s screen; there may be a No Service error. This means that you’re currently not connected to your carrier. This could be due to a sim-card problem.

  • Remove your SIM card
  • Blow its tray and slot. (Dust may have gotten inside of them, not letting your SIM get read properly)
  • Reinsert the SIM

Solution 5: Reset Your Phone App

You may be dealing with the issue as your Phone app is glitching. Restart the application.

For iPhone X or later models:

  • Swipe up from the Home screen (You would open the app switcher)
  • Swipe left or right until you see the Phone app
  • Swipe up
  • Reopen the Phone app

For models released before the iPhone X:

  • Double press the home button to open the app switcher
  • Swipe left or right until you see the Phone app
  • Swipe up
  • Reopen the Phone app

 To make sure the glitch was sorted, give yourself a test call.

Black iPhone 5 On Brown Wooden Table

Solution 6: Reset Network Settings

You may have accidentally meddled with your phone’s network settings. Voicemail messages may not have been coming through because of this.

  • Go to Settings > then General > Reset
  • Tap Reset Network Settings

If you go through with the resetting, know that your device would lose the saved passwords to WiFi networks. You would have to manually reenter them again.

reset iphone network settings

Solution 7: Reset Voicemail Password

Something as simple as changing your Voicemail password should fix the problem.

  • Go to Settings > Phone
  • Tap Change Voicemail Password
  • Enter the new password
  • Tap done (you would have to renter the password you’ve chosen)
Smiling Lady On A Call

Solution 8: Change Your Time zone

You might not have noticed that the date and time zone on your mobile are incorrect. Many users have reported that a simple reset to their device’s time zone and date does the trick.

Here’s how you can do this:

  • Go to Settings > General
  • Go to Date & Time
  • Choose Turn on Automatically
set date and time automatically

Solution 9: Factory Reset

The last resort would be to factory reset your iPhone. This would not only change network settings back to their default values but all configured settings would be reset to their default values. Just know that the data on your iPhone would be erased.

A factory reset is a more extreme solution to meddled settings. It’s the way to go if you were thinking of getting rid of clutter.

  • Go to Settings > then General > Reset
  • Click on Erase all Content & Settings
  • You would be prompted to enter your device’s passcode
  • Tap on confirm
erase all content and settings on iphone

Solution 10: Speak to Your Carrier

At least one of the above points should help. If they don’t, get in touch with your carrier’s support team. The representative you speak to would help pinpoint why voice messages aren’t coming through. If you still can’t sort out the problem, you could hand your phone to the support team for them to fix it.

There could also be a manufacturing defect on your iPhone. It may be preventing the iOS device from properly connecting to networks.

Space Gray iPhone X Mobile


I’ve answered some pressing questions you may have below.

Why is visual voicemail unavailable on my iPhone?

Throughout my article, I’ve discussed how you can fix visual voicemail that doesn’t work as it should. However, I didn’t dive into why you’re unable to receive voice messages. This could be because you’re not connected to your carrier’s network. As mentioned, this could be due to your SIM card not being read properly, running an older IOS version, customized network settings, or a glitch in your firmware.

How to Set Up Visual Voicemail on iOS Devices?

You first need a wireless plan. There are probably hundreds of providers near you. Make sure that the one you choose offers the visual voicemail feature.

  • Go to the Phone app
  • Find the Voicemail tab and click on it
  • Click set up
  • Create a password
  • Confirm

Once you click done, you will be asked whether you want to use a default or custom greeting. If you’re going the default route, there are many options to choose from.

The setup process is not hard. However, if you’re facing difficulties, you can contact the provider of your wireless plan. Their customer support team would guide you through the setup process.

Check out more smartphones

Final Thoughts

There is a chance that visual voicemail is currently unavailable as your carrier is facing outages. Restart your iPhone after a couple of hours. The outage would hopefully have passed by then.

If the issue is not due to an outage, there are several ways you can troubleshoot your iPhone’s voicemail. Try changing your voicemail password, updating IOS, resetting your network settings, turning airplane mode on and off, or restarting the Phone app.

There are several solutions to this issue. However, you can contact the provider of your wireless plan for help too.

These troubleshooting methods I discussed can be used for all models, from the iPhone 12 to the iPhone XR, all the way to the iPhone 5s.

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