Your 'deleted' voicemails are still on your iPhone: How to get rid of them for good

Your 'deleted' voicemails are still on your iPhone: How to get rid of them for good
(Image credit: Future)

Let's be honest; most smartphone users rarely actually make traditional calls. People rarely leave voicemails, except a parent, relative, or one of my kids asking for money; nobody leaves me voicemails anymore, as most consider old-fashioned. Also, since many social media apps now support audio and video chats, getting an actual phone call is rare. 

 Most of us delete the voicemails we do get and forget about them. However, they still exist on your phone, taking up storage you could be using for photos and documents you may genuinely need. With that in mind, we will share how to permanently delete them and free up precious storage space on your iPhone

How to delete voicemails for good

It's relatively simple to delete your iPhone voicemails. Start by heading over to the Voicemail menu in the Phone app. There, you will find two options.

The first option allows you to delete messages one at a time. All you have to do is select the message you want to delete and then press the Delete/Trash button. However, this can become an adventure in patience if you have a ton of voicemails sitting there. 

This is when the second option comes in handy. Instead of selecting one message, find the Edit button at the top of the Voicemail page. Once you locate that, you can like all the messages you want to delete. Once you're done scrolling through and selecting all the messages you wish to remove, you're pretty much done. All you do next is press the Delete button, and you're almost free and clear.

If you've been a longtime iPhone user, you understand how deleting items works, but you should also know that iOS never entirely deletes things permanently, immediately. Because why should it be that easy? 

Whether you've recently deleted photos, voicemails, voice recordings, or files, your iPhone will store the items on your iPhone for 30 days. This does come in handy when you realize you deleted something by mistake. But if you are sure you don't need something and want to free up some storage space on your device, you'll need to delete them permanently and forever. 

To achieve permanent deletion, go into the Voicemail menu, press Deleted Messages; a menu will appear after you’ve deleted some voicemails voicemail. While within this menu, select the Clear All option.

This will permanently delete all your downloaded voice messages from your iPhone. It also should all delete voicemails from your carrier, but you should double-check to see if that is the case. 

One more thing

If you find yourself pressed for storage and not wanting to pay Apple more money for more iCloud space, I suggest going through all your photos and videos and deleting the stuff you no longer have use for. Like, nobody needs seven memes featuring cats or puppies. 

When you're done deleting all the excess photos and videos, go into your recently deleted folder and delete them permanently, which will fully clear them off your iPhone and clear up storage space. Making extra time to do a little spring cleaning on your iPhone will give you back some storage and keep things nice and tidy. 

Mark Anthony Ramirez

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.