What Is Visual Voicemail and How Do I Get It?

Save time and increase privacy using a visual-voicemail tool

With visual voicemail, your phone or computer presents a list of voicemail messages with additional information about the caller, the duration and an option to listen, delete or archive voicemails from the visual-voicemail app in any order.

This feature means you don't need to call into your voicemail system to hear all your messages in sequence.

Screenshot of visual voicemail on a Google Pixel 4 XL

How to Get Visual Voicemail

The very first smartphone to support visual voicemail is Apple’s iPhone in 2007. Today, you can activate visual voicemail on almost any smartphone if your carrier offers the service.

Your VoIP phone service running at home or in your office likely also offers a visual-voicemail feature, either built into your service package or available as a subscription bolt-on.

The service is often not available with landline home phone service.


Visual voicemail also works with voicemail-to-text transcription, a feature that transcribes the audio message into a text message to be read instead of listened to. With your voicemail transcribed into written text, it is easier for you to access them anywhere.

You no longer need audio hardware for retrieving your messages — in fact, you can often just get the transcript emailed or texted to you.


One benefit of visual voicemail is that you can see a list of who called instead of having to dial in and potentially be overheard by others as you listen to your messages.

Paired with a transcription service, and your phone messages need not offer any audio at all. Not only will this feature improve your privacy, but it'll help you check quickly a message you're dreading without having to call your voicemail, log in, and listen to a person you'd rather avoid.

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