Skip to content

How to Turn Off Voicemail on an iPhone (with Photos)

Have you ever felt frustrated by voicemails piling up on your iPhone? Do you wish you could disable this feature but aren‘t sure where to start? Well, you‘ve come to the right place!

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you step-by-step through how to turn off voicemail on your iPhone for good – or temporarily if you prefer.

By the end, you‘ll have all the knowledge you need to take control of your voicemail settings. So let‘s get started!

A Brief History of Voicemail Technology

To understand how iPhone voicemail works now, it helps to look at the history of this technology.

Voicemail first emerged in the 1970s as an automated telephone answering system. Early voicemail let users record an outgoing greeting and collect incoming messages if they couldn‘t pick up.

By the 1990s, voicemail saw widespread commercial use. Most telephone companies offered it as an optional feature. Cellular networks integrated voicemail into their systems as well.

Apple integrated voicemail capabilities into the first iPhone in 2007. Users could easily access a visual voicemail inbox, listen to messages, and manage greetings.

Over the next decades, voicemail remained a standard feature on smartphones from Apple and others. But is it still a necessary phone function today?

The Decline in Voicemail Popularity

Voicemail usage has declined over the past 10-15 years. According to a 2023 industry report, only 36% of mobile phone owners actively use voicemail. The rest rarely or never check messages.

There are a few reasons for this decrease in voicemail popularity:

  • Texting is preferred: 93% of Americans are active text messagers. Many find texts faster and easier.
  • Voicemails feel invasive: 72% see calling without permission as intrusive compared to texts.
  • Communication is more informal: Voicemails feel rigid for casual social interactions.
  • Messages are unclear: Transcribing tools still struggle with voicemail accuracy.

This table summarizes the pros and cons:

Pros of Voicemail Cons of Voicemail
Records messages if you miss a call Time-consuming to manage messages
Helpful for formal/urgent messages Easy to misinterpret unclear recordings
Accessible for those without texts Feels invasive for casual communications
Built-in transcription on some systems Rising popularity of texting

While voicemail still has its uses, many now see it as an antiquated technology. Next, we‘ll go over how to disable it on an iPhone if you want to move on too.

Turning Off Voicemail on Your iPhone

If you want to turn off voicemail on your iPhone, either temporarily or permanently, there are a couple straightforward options.

Let‘s go through both methods, including step-by-step instructions and examples.

Method 1: Use iPhone Settings App

The first way to disable voicemail is directly in the Settings app. Here‘s how:

  1. Open your iPhone‘s Settings app. You can find it on the home screen. It looks like a gray gear icon.
  2. Scroll down and tap "Phone" to expand the phone settings.
  3. Now select "Voicemail." This will open voicemail options.
  4. Look for a "Voicemail" on/off switch and toggle it to off. This disables voicemail messages.

For example, on an iPhone 14 running iOS 16, the steps look like:

  1. Home screen > Tap Settings app
  2. Settings > Scroll to "Phone" and tap
  3. Phone settings > Tap "Voicemail"
  4. In Voicemail settings > Toggle "Voicemail" switch to off

And that quickly turns off voicemail via the Settings app!

The steps may vary a bit by iPhone model and iOS version. But look for the Voicemail toggle under Phone settings.

Method 2: Use iPhone Keypad

You can also disable voicemail directly from the Phone app. Here‘s how it works:

  1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone. The app icon looks like a white phone on a green background.
  2. Tap the numeric keypad at the bottom to switch from Favorites to the dialer.
  3. On the keypad, dial *86 to forward your calls instead of voicemail.
  4. Follow any remaining prompts to confirm turning off voicemail.

For example, on an iPhone 14 Pro:

  1. Home screen > Tap green Phone app
  2. Phone app > Tap numeric keypad tab
  3. Keypad > Dial *86
  4. Confirm turning off voicemail when prompted

Entering *86 on your iPhone‘s keypad forwards calls so voicemail is disabled. This shortcut works on many carriers.

Permanently Disabling Voicemail

To permanently turn off voicemail:

  • Contact your cell phone carrier
  • Request they disable voicemail on your account
  • Voicemail will stay off until you ask them to activate it again

This prevents your iPhone from automatically re-enabling voicemail when it reconnects to the network.

Temporarily Turning Off Voicemail

To temporarily disable voicemail:

  • Use the Settings app or keypad steps above
  • Voicemail will disable but automatically re-enable later
  • Helpful if you only want it off briefly (like during an event)

So in summary:

  • Carrier request = permanent
  • iPhone settings = temporary

Customizing Your Voicemail Message

Before disabling voicemail, you may want to record a new outgoing message. Here‘s how:

  1. Dial your voicemail number by holding down "1" on your iPhone keypad.
  2. When prompted, press the star (*) key to access advanced options.
  3. Follow the menu to record a new greeting or change settings.
  4. Press the pound (#) key when done customizing voicemail.

For example, you could set your message to: "You have reached [your name]. I no longer use this voicemail. Please text or email me instead."

Wrapping Up

And that covers everything you need to know to disable voicemail on your iPhone!

Here are some key points:

  • Use the Settings app to toggle off Voicemail under Phone settings
  • Dial *86 on your iPhone keypad to forward calls instead
  • Contact carriers for permanent voicemail disabling
  • Customize your outgoing message before turning it off

I hope this guide gave you the steps to control voicemail on your iPhone. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help walk through phone tech tips.

Thanks for reading!