iPhone Voicemail Transcription Not Working? Fix

This article explains how you can troubleshoot when the iPhone’s voicemail to text transcription feature stops working. Apple’s voicemail feature is called Visual Voicemail.

One of the essential Visual Voicemail feature is the transcription service. Listening to your voicemails may not be the best option for you. For example, you may be in a crowded room. Sometimes, reading is the best option. A lot of users find this feature very useful because it lets you read your voicemails instead of listening. This is done by converting audio voicemail messages into text format. This means that your iPhone will transcribe your voicemail messages.

Sometimes you may notice that your iPhone’s transcription is not working as expected. Sometimes it may take a lot of time. And sometimes transcription may not show up and you may not see some or all of your voicemails when you want to view a transcribed voice message. Are you having issues seeing the voicemail transcription? This article explains how you can fix it.

There are no settings for this feature. There is no “on/off” settings. Voicemail transcription is supposed to work automatically. You just need to tap on one of your voicemails in the Phone app.

To see your voicemails, open the Phone app, then tap the Voicemail tab. See this article if you are having issues with Voicemail. Please also note that Siri is an integral part of this feature. And lastly, this is a beta feature meaning it is going to evolve.

iPhone Visual Voicemail transcription

How to fix voicemail to text transcription

Please make sure that you follow these instructions in order. Test between steps to check if your issue is resolved.

See also: Voicemail is full?

Transcription requirements:

  • Not all carriers (T Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) provide voicemail transcriptions. This feature is provisioned by the carrier. However, most major carriers support this. You can check this list to make sure. You can also contact your carrier and ask them if they support this. Also, note that there are no additional fees for this service.
  • Voicemail transcription is not available on all iPhone models. iPhone 6s or later models support his. Your Phone needs also to have iOS 10 or later installed. You can view your software version by going to Settings > General > About. If you need to update your device see the number #3 below.
  • Currently, this feature is not available for all languages. Transcription is in U.S English or Canadian English only. You can check your language settings by going to Settings > Siri & Search > Language.

How to troubleshoot:

  1. As stated above, Siri is essential for this feature to work. Make sure that Siri is enabled on your phone. To check your settings, go to Settings > Siri & Search. If Siri is turned on, then try the following:
    • Turn off Siri (Settings > Siri & Search and toggle off “Listen for ‘Hey Siri’, Press Side Button For Siri, and Allow Siri When Locked or Press Home for Siri”). Then restart your iPhone (if you do now know see #4 ). Then turn on Siri back on.Siri On / Off
  2. Check your Internet connections. If your iPhone is connected to the Internet, through Wi-Fi and/or a cellular connection, transcription will not work. Make sure that your iPhone is connected to the Internet and then test to see if voicemail transcription starts working. To check your connection, open Safari on your iPhone and type macreports.com in the address bar and tap Go. If the site loads, then your connection is working. If not, you may try the following tips:
    • If possible, try a different Wi-Fi network.
    • Turn on Airplane Mode and wait 1 minute and then turn it off by going to Settings > Airplane Mode.
    • Restart your iPhone. If you do not know how it is explained below.
    • Reset your network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Note that doing so will wipe your network settings such as your Wi-Fi passwords etc.
  3. Update your iOS software. It is important that your device is running the latest version of the iOS software. There are two ways to do this:
    • You can update wirelessly. On your iPhone, go to Settings > General, then tap Software Update. Then follow the onscreen instructions, if there is an update available.
    • You can also update your iPhone using your computer. Simply connect your iPhone to your computer, then open iTunes or Finder and follow the onscreen instructions.
  4. Restart your iPhone. Here is how:
    • iPhone X, 11 or later: Press and hold the volume up (or down) and the side buttons together until you see the power off slider. Then drag the slider. Wait 1 minute. To turn your device back on, press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.
    • Other iPhone models: Press and hold the side or top button until you see the power off slider. And drag the slider. Wait 1 minute. Then press and hold the side or top button until you see the Apple logo.
  5. Check for a carrier settings update. There may be a carrier update. You can check this by going to Settings > General > About. A popup will appear if there is an update available. Tap Update.Update carrier settings
  6. Check your Siri language settings. As stated above, Siri language settings should be set to English (United States) or English (Canada).  If you use a localized English setting, such as the UK English, this will not work. Check your settings by going to Settings > Siri & Search > Language.Siri Language Setting

If you are still having issues, you may want to contact Apple or your carrier. Issues with your carrier or account might cause this problem. Apple offers different support options:

See also: How you can delete your voicemails

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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2 thoughts on “iPhone Voicemail Transcription Not Working? Fix”

  1. This was extremely helpful. My voicemail-to-text transcription works again. Thank you! Changing Siri language from English (United Kingdom) to English (United States) did the trick. Seems like a quirky fix but it worked haha. 👍🏻

  2. FYI one tip is missing, applicable for this of us that do not want to leave SIRI on as a regular matter.

    I’ve spent hours figuring this out w Apple and carrier.

    Turn Siri ON. Do the voice familiarization (Hey, Siri). Use Siri repeatedly over the course of 2-3 days. Now you can turn Siri off and the Beta vm transcription will still work.


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