How to Use Audio Messages in iOS to Send Voice Texts from iPhone

Dec 21, 2014 - 34 Comments

Voice Texts and Audio Messages in iOS Audio Messages (also called Voice Texts) are a great new feature in iOS that allows you to send a quick little audio note from your iPhone to another iPhone, iPad, or Mac user who has the Messages app configured to use iMessages. This can not only be an added fun way to communicate, but it can also be a nice way to have a more personable and casual conversation that isn’t particularly time sensitive, since hearing someones voice is a bit more meaningful than reading text (unless packed with emoji, maybe).


The iOS Audio Message feature is easy to use but can cause a fair amount of confusion while first encountering it, even while figuring it out, since the interface to record, stop recording, playback, and send messages is a bit different from anything else in iOS. Follow along and try it out yourself, you’ll get the hang of it shortly.

You’ll need iOS 8 or newer installed to have this feature, prior versions do not include audio texting support.

How to Send, Playback, and Cancel Voice & Audio Texts in Messages for iOS

  1. From the Messages app, either create a new iMessage or open an existing iMessage thread*
  2. Tap and hold on the microphone icon to record a voice message – continue holding while recording
  3. Record an audio message in iOS

  4. Release the microphone icon when finished recording and you have three options:
    • Tap on the upward facing arrow icon to send the audio note
    • Tap the (X) button to cancel and delete the audio note
    • Tap the > play button to playback the audio message and listen to it without sending

    Audio message controls in iOS

  5. Once the audio message has been sent, it will be playable by both yourself and the recipient(s) in the message thread window until it expires (note you can change the audio note expiration setting or turn off the auto-delete audio and video messages option in iOS settings)

This is what an audio message looks like when it has been sent, being on the receiving end of a voice text looks pretty much identical too.

Audio message in iOS

Tapping on the (>) play button will play the message, which will automatically delete after a few moments unless that has been changed in the settings.

The key is to use a tap-and-hold, simply tapping the microphone icon will not do anything. Also, if you tap and hold but move your finger up, you may accidentally send the audio message before you wanted to or before you finished recording. The feature is really easy to use, but the way it works has led to a fair amount of confusion with some users and likely a large amount of accidental voice messages as well.

* Note if you’re looking to send an audio note, the recipient must be using iMessage, either on an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, otherwise the microphone icon will not appear next to the message input box

Users can also send and receive audio messages from a Mac running modern versions of OS X, and the feature works quite similar on the Mac both when recording, sending, and playing back audio messages.

Try it out yourself, you’ll likely find it to be a new fun way to communicate. If you want to see the voice texting feature in action, you can also catch it in this iPhone 6 commercial which prominently featured the iOS audio messaging feature being used in a humorous manner.

Can You Disable the Microphone and Voice Texting in Messages

The only way to completely remove the voice texting microphone button in iOS Messages is to not use iMessage for sending messages, and instead rely on standard text message. This is hardly a solution for most users, but it does work if you don’t mind sending SMS instead and really don’t want to have the audio microphone button on your messages. Some users accidentally hit the button and send accidental messages because of it, so perhaps a future version of iOS will give users a toggle setting to disable voice texting if they do not want that feature on their iPhone.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

34 Comments

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  1. Kfloydh says:

    It’s even easier to use the raise to listen and raise to talk options rather than tapping the play button or holding the microphone icon.

    • Paul says:

      Yea I like the Raise to Listen and Raise to Speak feature a lot, you literally just raise the iPhone to your face and start talking or listening to get it to work. Very easy.

      BUT, screen protectors and screen covering cases will interfere with Raise to Speak and Raise to Listen, because the sensors are right above the ear microphone speaker thing.

  2. Ken says:

    Why? The point of “text” is a quick visual scan of communication. Voicemail in a text just seems another nuisance.

  3. Jogged says:

    hATE! This feature. It’s buggy and has recorded 3 minutes of audio???? While in my pocket… Absolutely hate this crap. People over your shoulder, no privacy ever

  4. Jamie says:

    I hate this feature as well! It too easily can be turned on and sent without me even realizing it! I wish there was a way to disable it or they would make it harder to accidentally send audio clips of my day/conversations that were private/potentially embarrassing. 😳😒

  5. Charles says:

    When I text my big thumbs hit the microphone and the annoying tone emits from the bowels of my phone and I want to bash it into pieces.
    Siri can hear me when my earbuds are plugged in.
    When I was younger, times where a little easier because man had not complicated so many aspects of our lives.
    I don’t think “Big Brother” had his nose in our daily lives either.
    Bottom line, how did we get along before cell phones? We did not text we talked…we did not call we visited more.

  6. Bob says:

    I get a message saying that “john has kept an audio message from you”.
    How do I delete this kind of message? Tapping or holding down on it has received no response.

  7. Misha says:

    I want to know an answer to Bob’s question please! I have sent an audio message to someone but have no idea what is on it. I have obviously sent one by accident but it says they have kept it. Please help!

  8. Pup says:

    i did not know about the TWO MINUTE thing for audio text…PLEASE tell me theres a way i can retrieve that message from my phone somewhere

  9. Tina says:

    This audio text is complete bullsh@t! This so called smart phone is really STUPID. How can you record a call, send it, but can’t retrieve it!?!? Not to mention the person you sent the recording to has the option to keep it!

  10. Rebecca says:

    Omg help so with the two minutes expiriration thing does mean at the time you’ve sent the audio or does it have to wait for the other person to listen to it?! BECAUSE I SAID THE ACTUAL WORSE THING EVER BUT THERE MIGHT BE A CHANCE THAT THE EXPIRATION THING SAVED ME AND I GOTSTA KNOW

  11. jerssy says:

    I have a simple question
    When you push the keep button under the audio where does it save ?

  12. Graham says:

    Please at least give us a disable button on this irritating feature! Better still get rid of it!!

  13. Phillip says:

    When you send a voice message through text. I play it once and then its gone. How do I get it back? Or where does it go?

  14. Alex says:

    Where are the answers to everyone’s questions,,,,,

  15. Marie says:

    You can update your settings so that you can keep the messages forever instead of them expiring after two minutes. Go to settings then messages then scroll all the way down to audio message and update the expire section. If you’re settings are set to expire after two minutes no it does not delete from the recipients text area. They will still get the message and depending on their settings either they will keep it forever or it will go away after they listen to it.

  16. Brigitte says:

    I’m with Phillip! Just used voice text for the first time. Sent a voice txt msg to my daughter. Tried to play it back for my hubby and it was gone from my txt page! My daughter got it but I don’t see it and can’t replay it! Why??

  17. Space says:

    I didn’t even know it recorded and sent anything . I inadvertently sent a voice text to my boss who has saved it twice and I have no way of knowing what in the world is on that Message. I am pretty sure we were talking about him and his superior now I have no way to even prepare for my meeting about this voice text. This function could cost me my job. I should be able to control retrieve delete recall replay etc any voice text. This function could cost me my job. I should be able to control retrieve delete recall this type of message. WORSE DESIGN EVER!!!!

  18. lisaH says:

    I sent this by mistake and he ended up hitting Keep after two days. There was nothing on it but i was so mad my finger did that and recorded me and sent it before i even reaized what was going on. So he gets it, but saved it two days later? What happens if they dont hit Keep and just ignore it? Does it disappear after they listen? This feature is horrible.

  19. Dave Tyler says:

    I get this, but how does one take a message that you’ve already sent to someone, and send it to someone else on a laptop? I can’t figure it out.

  20. Mike says:

    Why can’t I get my audio to record past 10 seconds ?

  21. Diane says:

    I much preferred using the microphone to speak my text message and see it spelled out so I knew exactly what I was sending. I would like that feature back please!

  22. Donna Becker says:

    There needs to be a way to disable this I have sent to many accidental voicemails to people most of which were just empty but it still irritating and it’s a waste of time to retrieve a blank voice text

  23. murielpyke says:

    Leave your no I might get back to you

  24. Lynn says:

    How to listen to an sms voice message I check my voicemail it wasn’t in there and when I’ll at the text it don’t give me an option I’m using an iPhone 5

  25. Elaine says:

    My problem is that when I am about to send a voice message (I am pressing the arrow button), it erases my message instead of sending it. So I have to rerecord my message all over again. This happens every single time!

  26. Denah says:

    How do I make the audio message longer than 10 sec. I use to be able to leave longer ones on my other devise.

  27. Delaine says:

    OMG the voice texting is a pain, I keep sending voice messages by accident, need something on the phone to delete this feature!!

  28. Linda G says:

    One question I haven’t seen: if you inadvertently keep the message, how in the world do you access it later to delete it? And where is it anyway?? I kept one but can’t find the darn thing 😡

  29. ipadeola says:

    i want watsap voice messages received by 3 different phone numbers be played automatically without human touches but automatically played as preset timer’s messages

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