Is there a carrier that won't auto-delete my voice messages?
September 13, 2018 10:56 AM   Subscribe

I have t-mobile and am sick of how they auto-delete my voicemails.

Important voicemails that I eventually needed to prove certain legalities were deleted. I had to constantly keep saving them and re-saving them to keep them, but eventually it was too much and felt like I had to keep re-saving voicemails on a weekly basis to keep them. I'm ready to switch to another carrier and do not care if I can switch numbers or not. Do the others do this as well?
posted by fantasticness to Technology (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As far as I know, AT&T has never deleted a voice mail for me, and even after I delete them from my phone there's a place from which I can get them back (though I don't know if there's a limit there for how long it keeps my messages).
posted by ubiquity at 11:03 AM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

verizon has never auto-deleted any of my voicemails in the 20 years i've had them as a provider. when the mailbox is full, it stays full until i go in and delete things one by one. saved voicemails remain saved until they too are deleted by me individually, which was actually extremely stressful after my mother died.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:04 AM on September 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have verizon and have never had to touch voicemail that's years old to retain it.

But I think it's just stored locally on my (i)phone, not a function of my choice of carrier.
posted by lothar at 11:04 AM on September 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

if you're in the US, you can set up Google Voice and use it as voicemail box for your t-mobile account. Google Voice keeps stuff forever, automatically transcribes messages, and makes it easier to download/email, which is great. It's a free service and some people have had difficulties with reliability and with setting it up, but iirc it's worked well for everyone I've talked to about it for the past couple years.
posted by bagel at 11:05 AM on September 13, 2018

Strong strong second of Google Voice. You don't have to get a new phone # or route your phone calls through Google Voice or anything you're worried about, you can just set it up to handle your voicemails. For me transcripts come through as texts & emails, and the files are listenable to whenever you want (via the web or the app) and stay around forever. I've been using it with t-mobile for years.
posted by brainmouse at 11:06 AM on September 13, 2018

I use T-Mobile with Visual Voicemail on my iPhone and I still have (deleted, even!) voicemails in there from 2014.
posted by neckro23 at 11:21 AM on September 13, 2018

Yes, ours started doing this recently, too.
posted by aniola at 11:35 AM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

But I think it's just stored locally on my (i)phone, not a function of my choice of carrier.

my saved messages have not depended on having the same phone during the time period of message saved-ness. that is, when setting up vmail on a new phone, the old saved messages were still there. it's the same as calling your own voicemail from a landline or from a different cell phone.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:37 AM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

further, and i swear i'm not a paid verizon shill, verizon offers a service where you can have your voicemail messages permanently copied to a variety of formats and also notarized for legal purposes.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:39 AM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

+3 for Google Voice. I have vm's going back to when it was Grand Central. Transcripts. It also will email you the vm.

You can also download your voicemails from GV.
posted by AugustWest at 11:55 AM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have a small carrier and came in to say (again) Google Voice. I get the indicator on my android phone that I have a message. I get a transcript of most messages. It's excellent. I get so much phone spam that I pretty much give out my Google Voice #, and call back anybody who needs it. It's my same area code and prefix even, so it reads as local.
posted by theora55 at 12:13 PM on September 13, 2018

I too have T-Mobile on my iPhone and I have never had a voicemail deleted on me that I can tell (oldest ones are 3.5 years old). It even keeps the voicemails that I've manually deleted (listed at the end of my non-deleted voicemail). Is there any reason you're not forwarding the voicemails somewhere else for saving? The iPhone voicemail app has the ability to send your voicemails to other apps by using the square with the up-arrow icon. I presume you can do the same thing with Android.
posted by ShooBoo at 12:42 PM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't know if it makes any difference, but I use a prepaid T-mobile smartphone. (android) I just don't make or receive enough calls to warrant paying more for a contract, but if it will keep my voicemails from auto-delete...

Can also try this google voice thing.
posted by fantasticness at 1:10 PM on September 13, 2018

T-Mobile offers contractless billing, like phone companies used to. I've been doing my phone this way for years at their cheapest monthly rate, if that helps. I've got voice mail going all the way back to my first iPhone with them as I rarely use it and can't be bothered to delete 'em.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 9:29 PM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Google Voice. It works so well that I’m amazed Google hasn’t killed it off already.
posted by Gev at 5:12 AM on September 14, 2018

All carriers have a facility to expire voicemails. Many people have plans that include more voicemail storage space or longer (possibly indefinite) retention periods. Most of them have a feature that can be added to your account (possibly for a few bucks a month) to get you "better" voicemail. That assumes you can find someone who knows such a thing exists, of course.

Sounds like the Asker has a plan that only includes what most carriers call basic voicemail which usually has a 14 day retention period, so adding the advanced voicemail feature or switching to a plan that includes it should solve the problem.
posted by wierdo at 4:22 PM on September 14, 2018

For T-Mobile prepaid you will either have to re-save the voicemails to keep them from being deleted or use the Visual Voicemail app to save them to your phone or forward somewhere else.
posted by healthytext at 10:08 AM on September 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

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