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Your iPhone’s deleted voicemails aren’t really deleted. Here is why and the best way to delete them for good

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable man using a smartphone and a laptop while working from home

Moyo Studio by way of Getty Pictures

My voicemail is stuffed with automated message reminders, bum dials, and spam messages that are irrelevant to my day by day life. Listening to and deleting these messages just isn’t one thing I do usually, however it may be useful to forestall the dreaded “Mailbox is full” communication that incoming callers generally get.

Nonetheless, for those who’ve ever gone by way of your iPhone’s visible voicemail and deleted older or ineffective voicemails, the reality is you most likely have not deleted them in any respect. 

Voicemail messages are sometimes saved within the cellular provider’s servers; they are not routinely saved on the telephone itself, however they are often backed as much as iCloud or a pc.  

As a result of voicemails are saved by the provider, voicemail settings are comparatively restricted in your telephone, so for those who’re having points with voicemail that you may’t appear to resolve by troubleshooting, it is most likely one thing your provider is aware of the best way to repair. 

The truth that voicemails are sometimes saved in your provider’s server and never your telephone itself is why you must arrange your voicemail once more if you swap carriers or get a brand new telephone, and why you are more likely to lose them within the course of until they’re backed up.

How you can really delete your deleted iPhone voicemails

Step 1: Go to Voicemail

You can access your visual voicemail on the Phone app

You possibly can entry your visible voicemail on the Cellphone app

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

The Cellphone utility is the place current calls, contacts, favorites, the dial pad, and voicemail reside. It is the place you’ll be able to entry visible voicemail.  

Go to the Voicemail tab on the Cellphone app.

Step 2: Delete undesirable messages

One of many cool issues about visible voicemail is that it makes it simpler to delete your voicemail messages. 

I am a fan of eliminating outdated and undesirable issues on the whole, however do you bear in mind once we needed to name our personal voicemail to examine our messages? We needed to sit there ready for the recording to undergo the inbox so we might press a button on the keypad to delete a message. 

Voicemails can be deleted individually on in groups

Voicemails will be deleted individually on in teams

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

There are two methods to delete voicemails in your telephone: both choose a person message and delete it (left) or faucet on Edit on the high proper nook of the Voicemail tab and choose a number of to delete without delay (proper). Sadly, there is no such thing as a Choose All possibility.

Step 3: Examine Deleted Messages

Voicemail inbox looks empty, with the exception of the Deleted Messages

Voicemail inbox appears to be like empty, apart from the Deleted Messages

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

If you happen to deleted all of the messages, you are now gazing a seemingly “empty” inbox, however with a Deleted Messages button. The Deleted Messages is just like the cemetery to your deleted voicemails. And it is the place you’ll be able to retrieve them for those who by accident delete one you meant to avoid wasting. iPhone additionally shops your deleted photographs within the Pictures app for 30 days because of this.

Deleted messages folder

Deleted messages folder has all my outdated voicemails from after I first received my telephone

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

However for those who overlook this place exists, your voicemails of yore pile up in there, very like mine did.

I’ve voicemail messages in my Deleted folder courting again to January 2019, across the time I received my iPhone XS Max. Thoughts you, I additionally switched telephone carriers in late 2021, so the place are all voicemails saved? Is it simply on the provider’s server or the telephone as effectively? Evidently, in my case, most have been saved on the telephone itself as effectively.

Step 4: Faucet Clear All

Tap Clear All

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Once I tapped on Deleted Messages, all of the voicemails I had deleted up to now 3.5 years have been there. When you’re on the Deleted Messages, you’ll be able to merely faucet Clear All to do away with all of them. 

Empty mailbox

So satisfyingly empty.

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Additionally: How you can arrange voicemail on iPhone

However are you able to be 100% sure that your voicemails are deleted eternally?

Deleting voicemails out of your visible voicemail ought to delete them from the provider’s server, however does it? Verizon says deleting these messages, plus the voicemails on the deleted messages folder on iPhone will completely erase them and can’t be undone, main one to deduce that the deleted visible VM messages are additionally deleted from the provider’s servers. In case you are involved about this, I would advocate a name to your provider to verify that is the case. 


Sadly, there isn’t any straight reply for this, because it varies from one provider to the following. I had voicemails courting again to January 2019 in each my regular inbox and my deleted messages, so I clearly questioned the place they’re being saved. Is AT&T storing my messages out of the kindness of its coronary heart after I left it a yr in the past? 

I am unable to converse with certainty for the messages on the inbox, nevertheless it does appear to be the deleted messages from my voicemail have been saved on my telephone. Once I switched carriers a yr in the past, I additionally modified my telephone quantity however did not get a brand new gadget, and all my outdated voicemails remained. 

Earlier than I began deleting voicemails like I had one thing to cover, I checked my iPhone storage. You possibly can examine yours by going to Settings, then deciding on Basic, then iPhone Storage

Earlier than deleting all voicemails after which all deleted voicemails, my storage sat at 178.1 GB. After deleting them it dropped to 174.Four GB. I want I had really counted my messages earlier than deleting them however with over 3.5 years of voicemails, I’m fairly sure I had over 100.

iPhone storage change

iPhone storage snapshot earlier than and after deleting voicemails

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Visible voicemail is a function that lets customers see their incoming voicemail messages on an inventory, permitting for straightforward playback and even transcription, relying on the provider’s assist.

As an alternative of calling a voicemail service and listening to all of the messages, Visible Voicemail shows them as an inventory of recordings, additionally permitting customers to share, save, or delete them rapidly.  

The way you name to entry conventional voicemail relies upon largely on the provider. Some carriers make voicemail accessible by merely dialing 1, others you must name a particular quantity. Sometimes, simply calling your individual quantity out of your telephone (or your quantity from one other telephone and dialing * or #) provides you with entry to voicemail with sequential taking part in. 

Extra how-tos

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