There are many reasons why someone would want to disable their voicemail service on their iPhone. 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 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 iPhone ‘phone’ app, by calling your mobile service provider, and alternatives to traditional voicemail. After reading through this blog, you should know a range of ways to turn off voicemail features on your iPhone.
1. Using Phone (MMI) Codes to Deactivate Voicemail
The quickest and easiest way to turn off your voicemail on your iPhone is to use a MMI code. MMI codes, or Man-Machine-Interface codes, are a way for your phone to communicate with your mobile service provider. These codes change the settings that your service provider stores, which affects 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. This 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, this 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 [carrier’s name]’ or ‘how to turn off voicemail [carrier’s name]’. Alternatively, you can try the other methods outlined below.
2. Try Disabling Voicemail from your Phone App
Some iPhones will provide an option to disable voicemail via the Phone app. The specific type of voicemail settings you’ll have access to depend on the phone and service you are using. For carriers that support native visual voicemail, as is the case for most in the US, you should be able to turn off your voicemail directly from the phone dialer app. This is the app you make calls from.
If this is the case for you, your first step should be to open your iPhone’s Phone app. It's the white phone icon in front of a green background that’s usually found on the iPhone’s Home screen.
Alternatively, the phone app for your service provider may also have a section in the settings relating to voicemail options. As mentioned above, if you search ‘voicemail options’ for your specific iPhone and provider on your web browser then you can usually find information on the ways you can disable your voicemail services via the phone app.
3. Access your Voicemail Settings via the Settings App
Some iPhones will provide an option to disable voicemail via the settings. The specific type of voicemail settings you’ll have access to depend on the service you are using and where you live.
Inside the settings app, select the tab that relates to voicemail. Nearly all iPhones should have some kind of settings tab relating to voicemail, however, the phone you use might not have the capacity to deactivate voicemail.
4. Disable your Voicemail via Settings
In some cases, the iPhone 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. 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.
5. 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 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 loads of time and make it easier to keep up with important contacts.
6. 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.
Finally... Test to Ensure your Voicemail has been Successfully Disabled
Once you’ve gone through the various methods of deactivating your voicemail feature on your iPhone 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 from your iPhone.