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How to use voicemail transcripts on iPhone

Believe it or not, I still get voice messages on my iPhone, even though text messaging is a perfectly useful way of communicating. Sometimes, I'm not in a particularly convenient place to listen to the voice message playback.

Apple has a voicemail transcription called Visual Voicemail. The feature is still in early beta stages, meaning that not everything will transcribe as clearly as you may want. But, it works good enough to get the gist of a message without having to hear the audio of it first.

How voicemail transcripts work on iPhone and iPad

All of the major US carriers are already set up with what is called "Visual Voicemail." It is less common around the world but is slowly becoming a basic feature in major carriers in every country. Check with your carrier to see if Visual Voicemail is available to you.

Visual Voicemail transcribes the words that are spoken on voicemail messages and displays the text right in the voicemail section of the built-in Phone app on your iPhone. It is still early in the beta stages and doesn't always get every word right. It does, however, transcribe most of the message with enough information for you to understand what is being said.

How to view transcript of voicemails on iPhone and iPad

Voicemail transcripts are still rolling out and may not be available to you. Check your carrier to see if Visual Voicemail is available on your iPhone first. If so, it should automatically be present in the built-in Phone app.

  1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Voicemail in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap a voicemail message.

When you select a voicemail message the first time, the audio will playback automatically when you tap it to see the transcript. If you've already listened to a message, it will not playback the next time you read it.

How to share transcripts of voicemails on iPhone

If someone leaves a voicemail with information that is useful to others, you can copy the transcript and share it using the Share extension.

  1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Voicemail in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap a voicemail message.

  1. Press and hold the transcript until the options menu appears.
  2. Drag the selection bars to select the portion of the transcript that you want to copy.
  3. Tap Share.
  4. Select the app with which you want to share the transcript.

How to create a Calendar event from a transcript of a voicemail on iPhone

If a voicemail includes information about a specific time and date, you can create an event in the built-in Calendar app right from your voicemail message.

  1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Voicemail in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap a voicemail message.

  1. Tap the date or time in a transcript (words that can be used to create an event are underlined).
  2. Tap Create Event when the window pops up.
  3. Enter the relevant information for the event and tap Add to save it in the Calendar app.

How to report feedback of voicemail transcripts on iPhone

Sometimes the voicemail is properly transcribed, and sometimes it is not. You can report feedback to Apple about the transcript, which will help make the service work better in the future.

You can also submit audio recorded voicemails to Apple to help improve transcription accuracy. Keep in mind that this means your voicemail will likely be heard by other people. It won't be sold to any advertising companies, but it will be used by technicians to work on advancing speech recognition technology.

Important: Apple notes, "Do not submit recordings if you believe the speaker will be uncomfortable with you submitting the content to Apple."

  1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Voicemail in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap a voicemail message.
  4. Tap Useful or Not Useful.

The feedback (that is; whether the transcript was useful or not) will be submitted. You will then be asked if you want to submit your voicemail to Apple to improve transcript accuracy. Tap Submit to send the voicemail to Apple or Cancel to keep the voicemail private.

What to do if transcripts aren't working on iPhone

Sometimes, things go wonky and just don't work. If you can't access voicemail transcripts, if you get duplicate voicemail messages, if you can't listen to a voicemail, if the caller can't leave a voicemail, or if you can't delete a voicemail, you can troubleshoot the problem.

  • Try restarting your iPhone
  • Check for an update from your carrier by going to Settings > General > About. A carrier update will pop up automatically.
  • Update to the latest iOS.
  • Make sure voicemail is set up by calling yourself.
  • Make a call to ensure your cellular network is working.
  • Reset your network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
  • Check with your carrier to make sure you have the Visual Voicemail feature.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about voicemail transcripts, how they work, or how to view them? Let me know in the comments and I'll help you out.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

34 Comments
  • I think the big question is whether this feature will come to devices other than the 6s/6s+/SE/7s/7s+? So far no, but the developer release notes indicate that this is still in beta. Have you guys heard if it's coming to older devices? Thanks! Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm just gonna say that since the article says iOS 10, that would possibly mean any device thats running iOS 10.
  • It works with any iPhone running iOS 10 (your carrier has to support Visual Voicemail, too).
  • While I don't think you are correct, Lori (and I think you've said as much below), its easy to understand why: Apple normally calls out features that are only available on certain phone models in footnotes to their iOS feature pages. They did not do this here. In fact, the only place where the limitation is noted is on the Release Notes for the various betas, where it says that (1) this feature is itself in beta and (2) it is limited to the 6s/6s+/SE (to be joined, I'm sure by the 7/7+). The reason I posted my initial comment is that I was hoping that iMore, with its connections to Apple and the carriers, might be able to determine if those beta limitations are permanent or just during the rollout of this feature. This is a real head scratcher, as the transcription piece doesn't seem that hard to accomplish, particularly for phones that already have the ability to transcribe the human voice via Siri and keyboard voice-to-text feature. Hopefully you guys can help shed some light on this for us. Thanks!
  • There's no reason why it shouldn't, it's just displaying text that's converted from audio
  • Too many S phones! Of course, I meant 7/7+ Sent from the iMore App
  • Still waiting for some input from the iMore staff on my question here. Lory Gil asked for comments and then has not replied to the ones left. You guys really need to pick up your game. I like your coverage, but you are letting a lot of balls drop lately.
  • Sorry for the delay. We've been crazy busy with iOS 10, watchOS 3, iPhone 7, and Apple Watch Series 2. Transcripts works with any iPhone running iOS 10, but your carrier has to support Visual Voicemail. All major US carriers offer it in the basic package, but many non-US carriers charge extra for it right now. Hopefully, that will change soon.
  • I'm running iOS 10 on my 6 on AT&T and I'm not able to see transcripts either. No carrier updates available.
  • Unless you are paying someone for their work you have no right to expect anything from them. Be appreciative of the great work that the imore team do. The world owes you nothing, especially when your manners and reading of social cues are so awful.
  • According to the gold master release notes (page 5) voicemail transcripts are only available where your Siri Language is set to either English (United States) or English (Canada). Might be changed soon, however I'm in Australia so had to change this setting in Settings/Siri for voicemail transcripts to work. Sent from the iMore App
  • How about how to change the inside color of the app folders...it's gray now...I know there was a way but I don't see it in settings? Or did they do away with that option? Thanks Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm not sure what you are asking about. Voicemail transcripts don't have app folders. Can you describe your issue a bit more.
  • One of the greatest new features!! Sent from the iMore App
  • Thank God this got posted again. I could barely remember what the article contained when it was originally posted two days ago. Amateurs... Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Wow you really are just a troll
  • I have a 6 Plus and doesn't work for me at all Sent from the iMore App
  • Are you in the US? If not, it is possible that the feature is not available from your carrier.
  • I am in the US, my wife and I both have same carrier, she can see it on her 6S Plus, I can't on my 6 Plus, I read that the phone has to be a 6S or newer. Sent from the iMore App
  • Are any of the US Carriers offering Visual Voicemail for free? Verizon charges $2.99 a month for VV.
  • AT&T doesn't charge Sent from the iMore App
  • I am on Verizon and do not pay extra for VV.
  • Visual voicemail is free on Verizon if you have an iPhone. Sent from the iMore App
  • It would be so helpful if the authors of these types of articles would mention somewhere that this feature doesn't work on older phones (not that my 2-year-old iPhone 6 is that old). This happens too often where I'm trying to follow their instructions only to give up in frustration because it doesn't seem to work.
  • Agreed! I have the 6 Plus and doesn't work. For days I've been trying to figure out why. Until someone mentioned it up above. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'll look into this more. It is my understanding that Transcripts work on any device running iOS 10, but there may be a reason iPhone 6 is not compatible.
  • Keep me posted lol Sent from the iMore App
  • Jason, I have a 6/s+ and it's not working. Sent from the iMore App
  • So from Verizon this afternoon. "There isn't anything you need to turn on with the Verizon account, it is supposed to simply work with the new update. Right now Verizon and Apple are communicating about it. It is most likely one of the fixes that will come out in 10.0.2. Some users have reported an issue with the VM transcription feature not working. We are working to determine the root cause and will update the Alert when we have more information. You can always contact Apple but I am sure they would direct you to us (but we are working on it with each other)."
  • At first I couldn't get this to work but I think I figured out what to do. First, I rebooted my phone. Next, I realized that visual voicemails already in the phone won't work. So I called myself and left a message to test it. Sure enough, it worked like a charm. Pretty useful feature actually.
  • I've tried turning on both US Language and US Siri but to no avail. Oh well, I'm sure it will come available soon enough. Such a great but simple concept.
  • This is actually a feature I do not care for. How do I disable it on my 6s?
  • I agree. I get a lot of phone calls and need to be able to just return the priority calls. As soon as the voicemail notification comes I go back, but I can't directly go to the voicemail because the system is trying to transcribe, which takes about a minute or so. Not long, but going through this 20-25x a day WASTE my time. I want the option of saying yes use translation or in my case a **** to the naw.
  • Are visual voicemail messages updated and available when you are out of service range, for example in Airplane Mode? In the past I've used Google Voice to transcribe my messages and send me an email. Useful when flying, on the phone, or out of cell range.