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Home / Features / What is Live Voicemail? Apple’s voicemail transcription feature explained

What is Live Voicemail? Apple’s voicemail transcription feature explained

This new iOS 17 feature transcribes voicemails in real-time.

iOS 17's new Live Voicemail feature running on iPhone

Never know when to pick up an unknown call? Neither do we. Google’s Call Screen feature lets Google Assistant answer the phone for you. Now, Apple has introduced its own version of the feature with iOS 17, which has just rolled out in public beta. Dubbed Live Voicemail, the new feature lets you view real-time transcriptions of voicemails, while still letting you pick up the phone.

It’s a handy way you can screen your own calls, so you know when to pick up. But how does Apple’s Live Voicemail feature work? Here’s everything you need to know about the new feature.

How does Apple’s Live Voicemail feature work?

Live Voicemail will provide real-time transcriptions for voicemails, while the caller is still leaving the message. You’ll see the description appear on the call screen, Star Wars scrolling-text style. While the voicemail is being transcribed, you still have the option to answer the call. Alternatively, you can leave it going to voicemail, just like with any other call.

Apple's Live Voicemail being used on iPhone Call Screen

To use Live Voicemail, you don’t have to do anything special. In iOS 17, when a caller begins leaving a voicemail, you’ll see the transcription automatically appear on the call screen. You can read the transcription in real-time, and decide if you want to take the phone call. If you decide to let it go to voicemail, you’ll still be able to listen to the audio message later.

Apple handles the entire feature directly on your iPhone, using the Neural Engine inside. This means that no call or voicemail data is taken off your device for processing in the cloud. It’s part of Apple‘s continued focus on privacy.

When will Live Voicemail arrive on iPhone?

Apple’s new Live Voicemail feature has rolled out as part of iOS 17. The new operating system is compatible with the iPhone 14 series, iPhone 13 series, iPhone 12 series, iPhone 11 series, iPhone XS series, iPhone XR, and iPhone SE (2nd generation or later).

It is also available on the forthcoming iPhone 15, which will see its release on 22 September.

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Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around six years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home