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Your iPhone’s deleted voicemails aren’t really deleted. This is why and the right 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.

Nevertheless, in case you’ve ever gone by 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 robotically saved on the cellphone 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 cellphone, so in case you’re having points with voicemail you can’t appear to resolve by troubleshooting, it is most likely one thing your provider is aware of the right way to repair. 

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

Find out how to really delete your deleted iPhone voicemails

Step 1: Go to Voicemail

You can access your visual voicemail on the Phone app

You’ll be able to entry your visible voicemail on the Telephone app

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

The Telephone utility is the place latest calls, contacts, favorites, the dial pad, and voicemail reside. It is the place you may entry visible voicemail.  

Go to the Voicemail tab on the Telephone 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 previous and undesirable issues on the whole, however do you bear in mind after we needed to name our personal voicemail to verify 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 may be deleted individually on in teams

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

There are two methods to delete voicemails in your cellphone: both choose a person message and delete it (left) or faucet on Edit on the prime 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: Verify Deleted Messages

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

Voicemail inbox seems empty, except for the Deleted Messages

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

If you happen to deleted all of the messages, you are now looking at 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 may retrieve them in case you unintentionally delete one you meant to save lots of. 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 previous voicemails from after I first acquired my cellphone

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

However in case you neglect this place exists, your voicemails of yore pile up in there, very similar to mine did.

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

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 prior to now 3.5 years have been there. When you’re on the Deleted Messages, you may merely faucet Clear All to eliminate all of them. 

Empty mailbox

So satisfyingly empty.

Picture: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Additionally: Find out how to arrange voicemail on iPhone

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

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. If you’re involved about this, I would suggest a name to your provider to substantiate 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 can not converse with certainty for the messages on the inbox, nevertheless it does seem to be the deleted messages from my voicemail have been saved on my cellphone. Once I switched carriers a yr in the past, I additionally modified my cellphone quantity however did not get a brand new machine, and all my previous voicemails remained. 

Earlier than I began deleting voicemails like I had one thing to cover, I checked my iPhone storage. You’ll be able to verify yours by going to Settings, then choosing Common, 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 simple playback and even transcription, relying on the provider’s help.

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 shortly.  

The way you name to entry conventional voicemail relies upon largely on the provider. Some carriers make voicemail out there by merely dialing 1, others it’s a must to name a particular quantity. Usually, simply calling your personal quantity out of your cellphone (or your quantity from one other cellphone and dialing * or #) gives you entry to voicemail with sequential enjoying. 

Extra how-tos

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