Screen Your Calls: How to Use Live Voicemail on iPhone

June 30, 2024
Justin Lumiere

With the advent of iOS 17, iPhone users now have a variety of advanced voicemail options that enhance call management and convenience. In addition to the traditional plain voicemail, Apple has introduced Visual Voicemail and Live Voicemail, each offering unique features to suit different needs.

Types of Voicemail Options

There are three main types of voicemail available for iPhone users:

  • Plain Voicemail: This is the traditional voicemail system where you listen to audio messages left by callers.
  • Visual Voicemail: This feature provides text transcriptions of voicemail messages, allowing users to read their messages instead of listening to them.
  • Live Voicemail (iOS 17): This new feature offers live transcription of voicemails as they are being recorded, giving users the ability to decide whether to answer a call in real-time.
Smartphone Playing Music

Setting Up Voicemail

Setting up voicemail on an iPhone is straightforward. Users can follow these steps:

  • Go to the Phone app and select the Voicemail tab.
  • Tap "Set Up" and create a voicemail password.
  • Follow prompts to record a custom greeting or use the default greeting provided by Apple.
iPhone voicemail
"iPhone voicemail" by aloharakesh is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/.

Checking Voicemail

To check voicemail, users can listen to, delete, or share messages directly from the Voicemail tab in the Phone app. Additional options include sharing contact information, adding to emergency contacts, or blocking callers.

Changing Voicemail Settings

Users can easily change their voicemail password or greeting by accessing the Voicemail tab in the Phone app and selecting the appropriate options.

Visual Voicemail Feature

Visual Voicemail, available since iOS 10, displays a transcript of voicemails within the app. This feature allows users to read their voicemails instead of listening to them. Users can check the accuracy of these transcriptions and send feedback to Apple for improvements.

Live Voicemail Feature

Live Voicemail is a standout feature in iOS 17, currently available in the US and Canada. It offers real-time transcription of voicemails, allowing users to screen calls as the messages are being left. Here's how to get started:

  • Go to Settings > Phone > Live Voicemail.
  • Toggle Live Voicemail to "On".

During an incoming call, the voicemail transcription will appear on the screen, providing the option to answer or decline the call based on the message content. If the iPhone is turned off or out of carrier range, the call will be sent to standard carrier voicemail.

Voicemail TypeFeaturesSetup Instructions
Plain VoicemailTraditional voicemail system where you listen to audio messages left by callers.
  1. Go to the Phone app and select the Voicemail tab.
  2. Tap "Set Up" and create a voicemail password.
  3. Follow prompts to record a custom greeting or use the default greeting provided by Apple.
Visual VoicemailProvides text transcriptions of voicemail messages, allowing users to read their messages instead of listening to them.
  1. Go to the Phone app and select the Voicemail tab.
  2. Tap "Set Up" and create a voicemail password.
  3. Follow prompts to record a custom greeting or use the default greeting provided by Apple.
Live Voicemail (iOS 17)Real-time transcription of voicemails as they are being recorded, giving users the ability to decide whether to answer a call in real-time.
  1. Go to Settings > Phone > Live Voicemail.
  2. Toggle Live Voicemail to "On".
iPhone Visual Voicemail Screen
"iPhone Visual Voicemail Screen" by smilemark is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/.

User Experience and Practical Tips

Voicemail transcriptions can be accessed from the Voicemail tab in the Phone app. Users can interact with these messages by accepting calls, saving transcriptions, or deleting them for convenience.

For those encountering issues sending calls directly to voicemail when the phone is unlocked, trying alternative methods like using the dynamic island feature or referring to Apple's official user guides can be helpful.

Overall, Live Voicemail in iOS 17 marks a significant improvement in call management, offering users a more efficient and user-friendly way to handle voicemails, screen calls, and manage their communication more effectively.

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