Voicemail to Email: A Modern Essential

Forwarding voicemail to email is becoming increasingly common in the telecommunications landscape. The era of tape recorders has long passed, replaced by digital solutions that enhance convenience and accessibility. One such innovation is voicemail to email, also known as vm-to-email.

What is Voicemail to Email?

Voicemail to email is a phone system feature that takes a recorded voicemail and sends it to a designated email address. The recipient receives an audio file attachment that can be played on their smartphone, laptop, or home computer using a media player.

This feature is standard for many SIP providers worldwide. But what are the true benefits of voicemail to email? Is it just about flexibility and availability, or is there more to it?

How Voicemail to Email Works

Typically, the audio files in voicemail emails are in formats such as WAV, MP3, or MPEG. These emails also include the caller's phone number and the date of the call.

There are generally three possible configurations for setting up voicemail to email forwarding:

Email with Attachment and Retention: An email with the voicemail message attached as a WAV or MP3 file is sent to your inbox. The message is also saved in your voicemail box for later access.

Email with Attachment and No Retention: An email with the voicemail message attached is sent to your inbox. After the email is successfully sent, the voicemail message is automatically deleted from your voicemail box.

Notification Email Only: A notification email is sent to your inbox alerting you that a new voicemail message is available in your voicemail box, but no file is attached.

Some providers offer a web interface for managing messages. This can include listening to, transcribing, or deleting messages.

Benefits of Voicemail to Email

Faster Retrieval

Checking emails, whether personal or business-related, is a routine activity for most people. With voicemail to email, accessing your voicemails becomes as simple as checking your inbox. There's no need to call your voicemail service, listen to prompts, or deal with old messages. This improves the process and allows for quicker responses.

Easily Shareable

Having the audio file in your email makes it easy to forward or copy, which was quite challenging with older systems. Additionally, automation becomes possible; for example, you could automatically send the file to a transcription service like us if the subject line includes a specific phone number.


Voicemail to email serves as a valuable archiving tool. You can store the messages in a specific email folder or download them to your phone, tablet, or laptop. Most systems include the caller's number and the time of the call, facilitating the creation of a comprehensive voicemail archive.

Increased Accessibility

Voicemail to email allows you to access voicemails from anywhere on various devices, including your smartphone, computer, or even your smartwatch. This feature leverages the ubiquity of email and can be further automated to add new benefits, such as voicemail transcription.

Transcription Unlocks New Benefits

Transcribed voicemails are searchable, categorizable, and even more shareable than audio files. In fact, when it is transcribed, all the benefits of the text are added. Voicemail transcription services convert voice messages into text, which can be coupled with voicemail to email. This allows you to read the message if you can't listen to it immediately and enables features like sentiment analysis and summaries. Services like us provide AI transcription for those using providers without built-in transcription.

Visual Voicemail

The iPhone popularized the concept of Visual Voicemail, which allows users to list and manage their voicemails. Visual Voicemail typically involves an app on a smartphone, a laptop, or a web browser, where you can read, listen to, or delete voicemails.

Unlike voicemail to email, Visual Voicemail offers a direct interface for managing voicemails. Apple has advanced this further with Live Voicemail, displaying a real-time transcription of the message, allowing the user to pick up the call while the caller is leaving a message.

However, as of mid-2024, this feature is only available in the US and in English.

How Transcription Services Work

Transcription services convert audio messages into text using AI technology, which provides near-instantaneous transcription. Ideally, this feature is integrated with voicemail delivery, as seen with providers like OpenPhone. This saves time and offers a quick summary if you cannot immediately listen to your voicemail.

At audio2text.email, we aim to make transcribing audio messages accessible to everyone at a minimal cost, ensuring that anyone can convert their voicemails into text effortlessly.

In conclusion, voicemail to email offers numerous advantages, from faster retrieval and easy sharing to enhanced recordkeeping and accessibility. With additional features like transcription, it becomes an even more powerful tool for modern communication.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is audio2text.email transcription process?
Each audio file is tested, transcoded, and then transcribed using the Whisper model from the OpenAI API.
How long does it take to get a transcript?
The processing time for your transcript will depend on the length of the audio file. Typically, shorter voice messages can be transcribed quickly using OpenAI speech-to-text API.
What are the maximum file size for transcription?
Note that our transcription service has a file size limit of 20 MB.
What is the maximum duration you can transcribe?

We currently have a file size limit of 20MB. Given that most voice messages are encoded with a constant bitrate and a single channel (mono, no stereo), we can calculate the maximum duration of a file using the following equation:

Duration ( seconds ) = File Size ( bits ) Bitrate ( bits/second )

Applying this equation to our 20MB limit and a bitrate of 64 kbps (commonly used by the iPhone recorder app), we arrive at a maximum duration of approximately 43 minutes and 41 seconds. To easily calculate durations for different file sizes and bitrates, you can use our audio duration calculator.

Do I need to transform the audio before sending it to my audio2textemail.com email address?
No, this is not necessary. audio2text.email will automatically transcode your audio file upon receipt into the format expected by the OpenAI API.
Can ChatGPT transcribe audio to text?
Yes, ChatGPT can transcribe audio to text, but there are more specialized AI models specifically designed for this task, such as Whisper. Whisper is a state-of-the-art transcription tool that offers higher accuracy and efficiency in converting audio to text. If you're looking for the best results in audio transcription, Whisper is the ideal choice.
Why transcription over email?
Our email-based automatic transcription service is designed to break down barriers and provide universal access to voice message transcription. By leveraging email as our input and delivery method, we're making it easy to automate and integrate with existing platforms. Since email is an established communication method, it's likely to persist, offering longevity.