How to Turn Off Voicemail - A Step-By-Step Guide
Updated: Mar 14
There are many reasons why someone would want to disable their voicemail service. Some phone providers and carriers charge extra for voicemail, and a voicemail service sometimes results in playing cat-and-mouse with those trying to contact you. Traditional voicemail services can also consume large amounts of time, with every message having to be listened to in chronological order, and it taking minutes to hours to listen to caller details and the contents of each voicemail message. Due to these issues, it’s not hard to see why many people are turning away from voicemail entirely.
The method for deactivating your voicemail will vary depending on the provider you use, as well as the type of phone you have. In this article, we'll look at disabling your voicemail, using MMI codes, via the settings in your phone app, by calling your mobile service provider, and alternatives to traditional voicemail.
1. Using Phone (MMI) Codes to Deactivate Voicemail
The quickest & easiest way to turn off your voicemail involves using an MMI code. MMI codes, or Man-Machine-Interface codes, are a way for your phone to communicate with your mobile service provider and change settings that they store which affect how your phone handles calls among other things. One of those codes ##004# tells your mobile service provider to disable your conditional call forwarding settings which is a feature your voicemail relies on to work. When your conditional call forwarding settings are disabled your voicemail is too. However, not all mobile service providers comply with global standards around MMI codes even though they are required to. This means that depending on your provider the next step might not work for you. Try calling ##004# from your phone app as shown in the screenshot below and then give yourself a test call to see if your voicemail turned off successfully.
Some phone providers, like Optus in Australia for example, don't support ##004# as a method to turn off your voicemail but they do provide alternatives. In the case of Optus, you can dial 1509 and call the number. Follow the prompts and select the ‘voicemail’ option and follow this by choosing the ‘deactivate’ option. If you’re using a Postpaid mobile service you can also use the Optus SMS menu by texting the number ‘8’ to 9999 and following the remaining prompts. The service codes for other popular carriers should be available on their websites. If calling ##004# didn't work for you try searching "call forwarding codes [carriers name]" or "how to turn off voicemail [carriers name]". Or try the next method outlined below. Try Vxt Voicemail, free forever - voicemail made easy
2. Access your Voicemail Settings
Some phones will provide an option to disable voicemail via the settings. The specific type of voicemail settings you’ll have access to depend on the phone and service you are using. Inside the settings app, select the tab that relates to voicemail. Nearly all phones should have some kind of settings tab relating to voicemail, however, the phone you use might not have the capacity to deactivate voicemail.
Alternatively, the phone app for your service provider may also have a section in the settings relating to voicemail options. If you search ‘voicemail options’ for your specific phone and provider online then you can usually find information on the ways you can disable your voicemail services.
In some cases, the phone will come with an option to turn off your voicemail services. Looking in the voicemail settings and searching for a ‘Deactivate’ or ‘Turn Off’ option is an obvious first step regardless of the phone you’re using. If you find the correct option, disabling it will turn off the voicemail function. Remember, you can always enable your voicemail services again by using this method in reverse if you decide you would like to use voicemail again.
If you can't find an option to deactivate your voicemail under the voicemail settings on your device, look for your conditional call forwarding settings. Unfortunately for iPhone users, iOS doesn't allow you to access or change your conditional call forwarding settings.
If you aren't sure where to find conditional call forwarding settings on your device, check out our video on the topic.
4. Use an Alternative Voicemail System
Having to check voicemail messages is the pet hate of many. However, instead of removing your voicemail completely, have you thought of switching to visual voicemail? With a visual voicemail app like Vxt, your messages are transcribed and displayed in an email-like interface, allowing you to quickly read and prioritise them without spending minutes or even hours listening to every single message. You don't even need to dial a number to find out who left the call, how long the message lasted, or what the content of the message was. Also, instead of listening in chronological order, as is the case with regular voicemail, you can read visual voicemail in any order.
Many people also have their voicemail greeting set to "Please don't leave me a message, send a text instead". Vxt helps overcome this challenge as the app is able to transcribe voice messages, which saves your callers loads of time and is far quicker than having to find your contact again and typing a text.
Visual voicemail apps, like Vxt, help users save time, while also providing other helpful features like smart voicemail greetings, and voicemail-to-email. Vxt is currently available on both iOS, Android and PC. Unlike competitors, Vxt has an integrations marketplace allowing you to receive your messages anywhere you like. You can also use Vxt with non-mobiles, like landlines and toll-free numbers. You can share your voicemail inbox with others, like a secretary and you can set up multiple inboxes if you have more than one phone numbers.
Vxt provides a free version of the app with certain limits but their paid subscriptions are competitively priced and for small business owners, salespeople, and others who get quite a lot of voicemail they save buckets of time and make it easier to keep up with important contacts.
5. Contact your Phone Provider Directly
While some phones will allow you to manually deactivate your voicemail, most voicemail services are controlled by your service provider, meaning you'll likely need to contact your mobile carrier’s support team to disable your voicemail. Calling your service provider’s helpline will put you in touch with a representative who will be able to help you (in the case of Optus for instance it is 13 39 37). The contact information for your specific carrier will be available on their website. If you are unsure of who your service provider is, check your phone’s homepage or billing information. Service hotlines are free of charge, however set aside some time in your day if you do decide to call. Traffic can be high depending on the time of day and you may be kept on hold for a long period of time as you wait to get in contact with someone.
Alternatively, you can go online and register your profile with your service provider on their website. Once you have made an account, you can usually change your voicemail function in the account settings tab. This will save you the time and hassle of contacting the service provider directly.
6. Test to Ensure your Voicemail has been Successfully Disabled
Once you’ve gone through the various methods of deactivating your voicemail one way or another, it is a good idea to check for yourself that it’s been done. Call your number from another phone, or get a friend to dial your number and give your phone a test run. Don’t answer the incoming call and see if the calling line is prompted to leave a message. If there is no voicemail option, you’ll know you have successfully removed your voicemail.