No iPhone Visual Voicemail with Tracfone and No Voicemail Notifications

A reader Sue, writes…

Hi Bob,
Your site is very helpful! Thank you! I sold an old phone to a friend and when she activated it, Tracfone gave her a new number, added her to my account and kicked my phone off! After 2 very long days with customer service, it seems to be working. Everything except VM. I have to dial in to get it when I used to get notifications and had Visual VM. It seems to have been lost when they made me download a new APN number thru iphone.flexserve.net. Any advice? I have an iPhone 7plus.
Thank you so much!

Hi Sue,
Thanks for reading smartphonematters. Sorry to hear about the two long days, I’ve heard that story before and it is never pleasant.

While the iPhone’s Visual Voicemail sometimes works with the different Tracfone brands, they do not seem to officially support it. In my experience customers using the iPhone with Tracfone’s Verizon towers will sometimes find that they have Visual Voicemail instead of regular voice mail like customers using Tracfone’s ATT or T-Mobile towers. Also it seems maybe a year ago or so, there were some updates to iOS and the iPhone’s “carrier update’s” for Tracfone that when installed would cause Visual Voicemail to be replaced with regular voicemail.

I am not aware of anything you can do to restore Visual Voicemail. A number of my readers have contacted Tracfone customer service only to be told.. “Tracfone does not support Visual Voicemail”.

Now for your second issue, not getting notifications for regular voicemail. I have had a number of readers with that problem and their is something you can try to see if this helps, see Not Receiving Straight Talk Voicemail Notifications on My iPhone. Even though the article is about Straight Talk, it is the same for Tracfone, both are owned by the same company.

On a related note, I’m a little concerned that Tracfone had you install an APN carrier profile from iphone.flexserve.net. You might install an APN from that site if you had a “Could Not Activate Cellular Data Network” message. Typically you need to install one of these to set the APN so you can use cellular data, but with the latest version of iOS and the latest “carrier update” your phone should work properly with out needing the carrier profile.

I’m assuming that both your previous phone and current iPhone are using Tracfone’s Verizon towers and not their AT&T or T-Mobile towers.

If you are still using Tracfone’s Verizon towers there is a chance that removing the profile and making sure your “carrier updates” are installed will restore visual voicemail. To do this, you’d need to go into your iPhone’s Settings > General while connected to the internet (Wi-Fi or cell data) and see if your phone prompts you to install a carrier update. If so, you’d install the update and then delete the carrier profile from your phone. To see how to delete the carrier profile, see this video iPhone Unable to Use Cellular Data With a New Carrier Could Not Activate Cellular Data Network

All this is a bit easier than it sounds. Give it a try if you like or feel free to ask more questions.

8 Comments

  1. Sue | | Reply

    Bob, thank you so much….it’s so frustrating! But I appreciate your lengthy reply….We’re trying everything!

  2. Brandon | | Reply

    Your right Bob, the Tracfone brands don’t officially support visual voicemail. Sue can try setting up the Google Voice app and link her current phone number to it so that it forwards her messages. Google voice will then act as a visual voicemail. It can show up in the app, you can see it in emails, or even text messages if you choose. It’s not the native iPhone integration , but works just fine. My family uses it and we are on Family Mobile.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      If you are using Family Mobile, you might be interested Simple Mobile. Both use the T-Mobile network and both are owned by Tracfone. Simple supports Visual Voicemail, Wi-Fi calling, and hotspot. I havent’ compared the latest plan prices, but some people want those three features.

      • Brandon | | Reply

        Yeah Bob I checked out Simple Mobile and several others but I get a 33% discount with Family Mobile so the price couldn’t be beat. Also all the plans now have hotspot so I’m satisfied right now. We did the BYOD but when we are ready to upgrade in a few years I’ll be on the lookout for the best plans with phone discounts. Even without my discount the plan pricing is on par with others but they don’t have phone installment options.

    • Sue | | Reply

      Hi Brandon, thanks…I’m trying it now. But how do I forward my voicemails to the app? Can’t seem to figure it out.

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        Hi Sue,
        If you decide to try an alternative for visual voicemail make sure to check out YouMail. I used that for a while and it was ok.

        • sue | | Reply

          Thanks Bob! I’ll check it out…

      • Brandon | | Reply

        Hey Sue, I tried to respond yesterday but I don’t think it posted. You can try googling “work around straight talks visual voicemail CNET”. It has detailed instructions on how to set up visual voicemail for both Google Voice and Youmail. If you use google voice make sure you are on google voice legacy webpage doing setup. If you are on your iPhone or iPad it defaults to the mobile page so just request the desktop page or use a pc. In settings, link your current phone number so that it forwards your messages to the new local number google will gave you (do not port your number). Then press the activate google voice on this phone button. It should then give a code to input into your phone’s dialer. When I put it should give a confirmation on phone. From there you should be all set.

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