iOS 4.2: It wants your voicemail password

I updated my iPhone 4 to iOS 4.2 last night and this morning found my AT&T voicemail being held hostage. My own fault, of course: I haven’t used my AT&T voicemail password in months. Fortunately, I found it and retrieved a (not very important) voicemail.

Other than that, no glitches with iOS 4.2 yet. As Computerworld noted, 4.2 for the iPhone is “nice, but not revolutionary.” It extends Find My iPhone availability to iPhone 4 owners without MobileMe accounts. (But note: For this helpful feature to work, you must activate it on the iPhone itself before you misplace the device. Here’s how.)

About Karen Anderson

To paraphrase Mark Morris, "I'm a writer; I write!"
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8 Responses to iOS 4.2: It wants your voicemail password

  1. Debra says:

    I am freaking out at the changes to my voicemail with the iOS 4.2 update. I had an EXTREMELY important voicemail saved, and now I have no idea how to access it! What happened to the super-convenient voicemail folder in which I could pick and choose which messages I listen to? Does anyone know how to change this back? I will gladly revert back to iOS 4.1 if it means being able to easily find my messages again. HELP!

  2. Debra,
    This is frustrating. AT&T is the one maintaining your voicemail storage; the iPhone merely provides access to it and control of it (that is, you can listen to, or delete message).
    The question here is did the installation of iOS 4.2 cause cause you to lose access to that saved voicemail or did it somehow tell AT&T to delete that message? My suspicion is that its the former rather than the later — that iOS 4.2 lost track of your voicemail, but that AT&T still has it in their storage for your account. Have you tried calling AT&T? I doubt reverting to iOS 4.1 would re-establish the connection to to the saved message.
    Let me know what AT&T says. Good luck!

  3. Debra,
    Check out this page on AT&T’s site about iPhone Visual Voicemail.
    It states that there is a limit to the number of messages (at 4 minutes) that are stored on the iPhone.
    There is not currently any way to “save” a message permanently. AT&T deletes unsaved (that would be all) voicemail messages after 30 days.
    The problem then, would seem to be with AT&T’s policy of deleting voicemail messages. On my phone, it seems to delete them after about 45 days rather than 30. But messages from two months ago that I did not delete are simply gone.

  4. Michelle says:

    This happened to me after updating this week too. Very irritating. I have never had a password and don’t know what to do.

    • You do, somewhere, have an AT&T password. Give AT&T customer service a call, and they’ll help you re-set it. (Go to and at the bottom of the page click “Contact Us” and provide the information they need to localize your support call based on your phone number.) Let me know how this turns out!

  5. Debra says:

    Thank you so much for your help. So far, I have been unable to get through to a customer service rep at AT&T to inquire about this, but per the link you provided, I did find another link – which contains the following…
    How can I get my old voicemail messages on my new iPhone?
    When you activate your new iPhone and its Visual Voicemail feature, your
    existing voicemail box will be deleted permanently, along with all the messages
    in it. If you are an existing AT&T customer who is upgrading to an iPhone, you
    should retrieve your existing voicemail messages prior to activating your new

    While this discovery certainly does not provide a tremendous amount of hope for the retrieval of my message, I still plan to verbally contact AT&T at the slim chance that it can be recovered. I really wish I had known this before I downloaded the 4.2 update. I guess I assumed the message would be safe due to the fact that it survived the 4.1 update. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  6. Debra,
    Unless you bought a new iPhone, this erasing of the mailbox should not apply to you. As I understood it, you simply upgraded from iOS 4.1 to iOS 4.2.
    When you reactivated your voicemail folder, did your most recent messages re-appear? From what I can figure out, the most recent ones will re-appear; its older ones that AT&T erases. And that has nothing to do with getting a new iPhone or upgrading to iOS 4.2. There is, apparently, no way to save an AT&T iPhone message long term, other than copying it from the iPhone to your computer (which is not a built-in or straightforward process, as described here:

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