How to Set Up Voicemail on an Android Phone

By Kay FleuryUpdated on June 10, 2018

Before the advent of today's high-tech mobile phones, you often had to have a specialized business landline phone – or even a separate answering machine – to keep track of missed calls. Now, though, you can access your voicemail messages from a device that fits in your pocket! Here's the thing, though: it takes a bit of prep work first.

This lesson will demonstrate to get a voicemail account up and running on your Android-powered smartphone. First, we'll cover how to adjust your voicemail account's general settings so that it's set up the right way from the get-go. Then, we'll show you how to actually put the account into service.

Setting up voicemail on an Android phone

1. Start your phone up and launch the Phone app.

Turn on your phone and tap the Phone app. It's usually in the default menu along the bottom of the screen.

Android Phone app

2. Access your additional phone options.

In the top-right corner of the screen, tap the More Options button (the three vertical dots), and then tap Settings.

More Options button

3. Choose to adjust your call settings.

Next, tap Calls in the menu that appears.

Call settings button

4. Select to manage your voicemail settings.

When you reach the "Call Settings" menu, tap Voicemail.

Voicemail settings button

5. Select what service handles your voicemail, what phone number directs to it, and what sound or vibration notifies you of a message.

The next menu lets you modify various aspects of your voicemail.

Voicemail settings modification menu

Tapping Service lets you choose what system handles your voicemail. It could be your telecom carrier's default system, or it could be a third-party app that you installed.

Tapping Setup lets you change some of the basic ways your voicemail works, such as what phone number you have to call to activate or access it.

Tap Sound to select the tone that plays when you receive a voicemail message.

You can also set your phone to vibrate when you get a voicemail message. Simply tap Vibrate to mark or unmark the check box beside it, enabling it or disabling it (respectively).

Okay! Now you have your voicemail set up the way you want it. So how do you actually get it activated now? Well, for most Android phones, you will have to call an account set up by your telecom provider. We'll cover how to do that in the next section.

Activating voicemail on an Android phone

1. Turn on the power for your phone and open the Phone app.

Turn your phone on and tap the Phone app, as if you were going to call a person.

Phone app icon

2. Open the dial pad so that you can enter your voicemail system's number.

Next, tap the dial pad icon in the bottom-middle of the screen.

Call dial pad

3. Call your voicemail system's number, or just press and hold "1."

Now, tap the numbers on the dial pad to dial the number associated with your voicemail account; you can find this in the Setup menu that we mentioned when discussing how to set up your voicemail. Then press the green Call button.

Or, if that's too much of a hassle, you can simply press and hold the 1 key.

Dial number for voicemail

4. Finish configuring your voicemail by recording your name, selecting a greeting, and setting a passcode.

The process from here might vary slightly, since each telecom carrier handles voicemail a little bit differently than the others. However, while the order and specific execution of steps may differ, the general steps you have to go through are largely the same.

For one, you'll have to record your name so that people who call your voicemail know who they've called. Simply follow the prompts that you hear to record it.

For another, you will have to select your voicemail greeting. Press the designated key on the dial pad to select either a generic or custom greeting. Then follow the prompts to choose or record your greeting. We have some tips you can follow if you want to record a professional-sounding voicemail greeting, or if you want a funny one instead.

Finally, you will have to select a passcode option. Press the designated key on the dial pad to select whether or not you want to put a password lock on your voicemail account, if you are given this choice. (If you are, we would recommend using a password… or else anyone who uses your phone or knows your voicemail number can listen to your voicemails!) If you choose to set a passcode lock, or are prompted to do so automatically, follow the instructions to dial in and confirm a passcode.

Tips for setting up voicemail on an Android phone

1. Check with your telecom carrier for the specific details of your voicemail plan.

Before trying to go through the process of setting up and activating your voicemail system, you should make sure that you actually have one first! Some carriers may include a voicemail system with your other mobile services, while others may require you to pay extra money to add it to your plan.

Look through either the carrier contract information that you likely received with your phone, or your online account with that carrier (if you have one), to see if a voicemail system is included in your current plan. If you're still not sure, call your telecom carrier directly and ask them.

Bell voicemail plan options

Also note that some carriers may offer multiple voicemail system options, each with different capabilities and limitations. For instance, they may vary in how many messages they can hold, how long each message can be, or how long they store saved messages. In short, be sure to familiarize yourself with what your voicemail can (and can't) do before you set it up.

2. After you set up your voicemail system, test if it's working properly by calling yourself.

An easy way to check if you've set your voicemail system up properly is with a do-it-yourself test call. Simply borrow a friend or family member's phone, call your Android phone's number, and then let the call go through to your voicemail system. This will let you check whether your recorded name and greeting are working the way you want them to work. You should also leave a test message so that you can make sure your voicemail storage is working properly. For instructions on how to check your voicemail, click here.

3. If you're having trouble with your voicemail system, contact your telecom provider for help.

If you're sure that you have a voicemail system on your current phone plan, but are having difficulty accessing it or setting it up, let your telecom carrier know. Call them, send them an email, or have a look through their online troubleshooting guides to see if you can get some help or a solution for your problem. You may even be able to get help with things like resetting your voicemail password or recovering lost messages.

That's everything you need to do to set up and activate a voicemail account on your Android smartphone! Next, we'll cover what you need to do if you want to change your voicemail greeting.