Now with iOS 17, Apple has added Live Voicemail, enabling users to view a transcription of their phone conversations and pick up the call while a message is still being left. Here's how to use it.
Live Voicemail displays the caller's spoken words on the screen in real time, with no waiting for the end of the message. The feature is helpful when you're uncertain about whether to answer a call or not, as it allows you to preview the message and so screen the call before making a decision.
If you aren't looking at your iPhone, or it's turned off, then Live Voicemail works like regular voicemail in that it will still show you the text of the message when you come to look at it.
But if you are screening your calls, if you are too busy to answer yet you still need to know who is calling and what they're calling about, Live Voicemail does the job.
You have the option to respond to the call while the voicemail is being recorded, block the caller in the case of an unknown number, or send a message to the person if they are saved in their contacts.
This feature can also particularly benefit people with hearing impairments or who prefer visual information over audio. The live transcription provides an accessible way to understand voicemail messages.
How to turn on Live Voicemail in iOS 17
By default, Live Voicemail is already activated in iOS 17, but you can deactivate or activate it according to your preference.
- Open Settings.
- Scroll down and tap on the menu for the Phone app.
- In the fourth section, tap on Live Voicemail and turn the toggle on or off.
When Live Voicemail is enabled, your iPhone will show a real-time display of the spoken words during an incoming call. Additionally, buttons are on the screen, allowing you to answer the call while the message is still being left.
In our experience so far, the overall experience of using Live Voicemail is smooth and effortless.
However, there is inevitably a moment before the caller's words appear on the screen. So there are going to be times when the caller has hung up before you can read them cursing at you for not answering.