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Folders containing old iPhone voicemail messages appear on Mac desktop  



My parents shared a really weird and somewhat concerning scenario. Last week, two folders appeared on their Mac desktop. Each folder contained a number of audio files which were voicemails they had received on their old iPhones.

These were iPhones on AT&T's network that they stopped using in June 2017 when they switched to Verizon and got new phones. As far as they know, they had previously deleted these voicemails.

Do voicemails survive on some server after they're deleted? Who would have access to these data? Did someone get access to my parents' Mac? What else might be going on here?

I encouraged them to run a Malwarebytes scan. I might also connect remotely and see if there are any other odd processes that might be connected.

Appreciate any other insights!

2 Answers

If the folders appeared "by magic" then the first question would be if they have iCloud Drive "Desktop & Documents" turned on - or any other software that is syncing their desktop folder to cloud storage?

Various software can be used to create archives of voicemails - so it's possible that sometime in the past that sort of software has saved these archives into the iCloud desktop folder.

Or, the "Visual Voicemail" feature means that an iPhone can store voicemails far beyond when they are deleted from the cellular/mobile operator's servers (In the case of my mobile service I believe messages that have been listened to are only kept for 7 days before auto-delete kicks in on the server) and I think that these messages on the iPhone may also be copied across during a device migration. In which case some newly installed or updated software on their Mac that interacts with iDevices may have copied archives from phone to Mac?


I believe iCloud Drive D&D is on but there's only one Mac in question. I'll have Mom check her Apple ID account to ensure no unknown computer is associated.

As I mentioned, these were voicemail messages that they deleted from their previous iPhones that they stopped using 18 months ago. I can ask them to check their current phones for these messages, though, out of curiosity.

Each folder contains messages that were originally received between mid-2015 and June 2017, which was when they replaced their phones.