iOS 17 beta 5 Live Voicemail prompt reduces confusion, but it’s still confusing 


One of the headlining features of iOS 17 is Live Voicemail, which lets you view a real-time transcription of the message someone is leaving you as they speak. In today’s new iOS 17 beta 5, Apple has made a tweak to the message prompt that callers hear when Live Voicemail kicks in, likely in an attempt to reduce confusion.

Essentially how Live Voicemail works is that when someone calls you, but you send the call to voicemail, iOS 17 steps in to prompt users to leave a message. You can view that transcript right on your iPhone’s Lock Screen and choose to pick up the call as the person is leaving the message.

The call isn’t sent to your carrier’s traditional voicemail system. This means iOS 17’s Live Voicemail feature works regardless of which carrier you have, and the entire process is handled by your iPhone itself.

In the first four betas of iOS 17, the prompt that users would hear when they are sent to voicemail was: “After the tone please say why you’re calling. The person you are trying to reach might pick up.”

Quite a few iOS 17 beta testers have said that this prompt was confusing people who called them but were unaware of Live Voicemail being a feature. In iOS 17 beta 5, the prompt has been adjusted likely in response to this feedback.

“Your call has been forwarded to voicemail. The person you’re trying to reach is not available. At the tone, please record your message,” the new prompt says. This is essentially the same as the traditional voicemail prompt, but it still preempts your carrier’s platform in favor of Live Voicemail.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you have a custom voicemail message setup, then Live Voicemail still defaults to using that. Basically, what’s changed in iOS 17 beta 5 is that if you don’t have a custom greeting setup, Live Voicemail now plays the default greeting rather than the Live Voicemail-specific greeting used in prior betas.

Whether or not this change is enough to reduce some of the confusion surrounding Live Voicemail remains to be seen. For example, the feature will likely still cause confusion for users who are surprised that someone picks up the call while they are actively leaving a voicemail.

It’s also important to remember that iOS 17 is still in beta and some of the awkwardness of this new feature will likely dissipate once more people actually upgrade in September.

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