How to Record iPhone Phone Calls the Easy Way

Nov 2, 2016 - 43 Comments

How to Record Phone Calls with iPhone

Want to record an iPhone call? Did you know there is a very easy way to record iPhone phone calls using nothing but your iPhone and a voicemail trick? I know you’re thinking what does recording an iPhone call have to do with voicemail, but it turns out that a simple trick allows you to use the service to record any phone call, and it works great. Not only will you get the recorded phone call, but you’ll be able to save and share the call recording as an audio file as well.


You can try this out yourself and record your own phone calls this way, but do keep in mind you’ll need to get permission from the other party before you attempt to record the phone call.* The only catch is that you must have voicemail set up with your phone number.

How to Record iPhone Calls with a Voicemail Trick

Essentially what you’re doing here is merging a call with your own voicemail, thereby creating a conference call with yourself, your voicemail, and the other person or place you are calling. Once the call is completed, the recorded call will appear in your voicemail. Here’s exactly how it works and how to try it yourself:

  1. Open the Phone app and call the person (or place) as you normally would
  2. Explain to the person that you are about to record the phone call, get their permission, and explain in order to do so you need to put them on hold for a moment to merge with the call recording function
  3. Tap on the “Add Call” button and dial your own phone number, this will send you directly to your voicemail answering service
  4. Add the call and dial voicemail

  5. Once the voicemail starts recording as usual, tap on the “Merge Calls” button to merge the recording voicemail message with the live call in first step
  6. Merge calls to record the phone call to voicemail

  7. Have your conversation as usual, when the call is finished end them as usual by hanging up then wait a moment for the recorded phone call to appear in the “Voicemail” section of the iPhone Phone app
  8. Saved recorded phone call in iPhone voicemail

That’s all there is to it, it works perfectly too. This is a popular trick that many interviewers and journalists use to record a call easily without other equipment and directly from their iPhone, and it likely has other purposes as well.

Another variation of this for users without visual voicemail is to use “Add Call” to call the person already on the phone connection, and they just need to let it go to voicemail. Then, the other person on the phone gets the call recording and can save it or forward it to you.

This method works whether you have visual voicemail or not, but if you want to be be able to save and share the voicemail as an audio file from the iPhone you must have the visual voicemail function and ability to call your own voicemail box. If you don’t have visual voicemail, you can still record the calls this way, but you wouldn’t be able to save, share, or access the call recording as a file on the iPhone.

Always Get Consent Before Recording Any Phone Call with iPhone or Otherwise

* Always get permission to record a phone call, and be sure to explain to the person you are going to record the phone call. In many regions it is illegal to record a phone call without consent to do so. Thus you’ll want to be sure if you’re trying this with a friend or family member, that you ask if it’s OK to record the phone call first, and they must agree. Knowing the legality of recording phone calls varies per region, it is entirely your responsibility to know and understand these rules otherwise you could be breaking the law. You can learn more about telephone recording calls here on Wikipedia or with your state, and the information here from Digital Media Law Project is useful too.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

43 Comments

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  1. Pilgrim says:

    Thank you! This is something I have wanted to do for years on the iPhone and never knew about this trick! Excellent!

    • Pilgrim says:

      Question: I tried it but when I call my number, it asks for my password and when I enter that, it lists the number of messages I have, etc. It does not take me into voicemail and record my call as if someone else were calling me.
      Thanks!

      • Dwtsn says:

        Same issue :( Great concept, but it’s not working :(

        • Jon Ravioli says:

          It works! Maybe some cell networks do not allow you to dial your voice mail, so instead have the other person call your voicemail instead, and that will work the same.

          It will save to your voicemail like any other voicemail as long as they click over to merge the call.

          You can also put your iPhone onto speaker phone and record it with a microphone, but that is very low tech!

          • Danil says:

            If your voicemail doesn’t support this, you can always use +1.314.666.7777 instead.

            It works the same way, but instead landing in your voicemail, you get a text message with your recording at the end of each call.

    • Jon Ravioli says:

      Works perfect for me, I can record several minutes of an iPhone conversation and can save it as a file exactly as described. What a great trick!

      The only possible hangup for SOME people might be using a cell network that doesn’t support calling into your own voicemail. OK, no problem.

      If the latter option is true for your cell network, then have the OTHER caller call your number using the exact same tip, it will go to voicemail, then they can merge the calls and it will record. Everything else will be the same, the call still records to your voicemail, and the file is still saved onto your iPhone.

      This is not rocket science, it’s recording a phone call. Obviously some of the commenters here either can’t follow instructions, or they are professional complainers. What a life!

      And yes you need to make sure it is allowed in your state or country.

      • Steve Bohne says:

        I can follow instructions. I am NOT a professional complainer. It didn’t work. Sprint does not permit you to call into your own voicemail. I get the same results as BuffyzDead. Maybe you should STFU instead of denigrating other people who had a different outcome than yours.

  2. Dina says:

    When I tap Add Call, it takes me to Contacts, it is not working for me.

  3. Steve says:

    Same issue as Pilgrim! No VM is recorded. So osxdaily, whazzup..?

    • Jon Ravioli says:

      I got it working the first time, you need to call the person, then wait for them to answer (get approval for recording), then switch to add new call, call your own number, then merge the line. It works on AT&T.

      For another cell have the other caller add and merge the call instead, still calling your voicemail. Since you are already on the phone it will go to voicemail, then they merge it to your active call, and it will record to voicemail after the beep.

      Works!

  4. Gary says:

    Legally, it is probably smart to have the person acknowledge the call is being recorded on the recording.

    • no way says:

      It’s not just smart, it’s the only legal way to do it in all 50 states of the USA.

      Another case of great idea that doesn’t work from OSXDaily. The only way this would work is to call from a phone other than yours, as that would send you to VM.

      However be advised that even if you do it legally, it would still be up to a judge if this is allowed to be admitted as evidence in any civil or criminal action in court. It is advised that a lawyer do this call for you, as they will best know how to ensure this is done not only legally but in accordance with evidentiary rules.

    • Jon Ravioli says:

      Gary, Yes you always get permission first. That’s mentioned ad naseuem in the article, so yes, get permission. Some areas don’t have that provision, but the USA does.

      • Russell says:

        Gary is suggesting that it is smart to have the other party verbally acknowledge in the recording that they are aware that the call is being recorded. So after gaining consent from the other party and starting the recording, you could ask a question such as, “Can I confirm that you consent to this call being recorded?

        Without that record, the legitimacy of the recording may be challenged if it is later relied on as evidence.

      • Learn the law says:

        Before you go quoting laws, you need to realize that there are a LARGE number of states that only require one parties consent to record a phone call.

        One party means YOU. The other caller doesn’t need to know or acknowledge anything at all. You just need to know your states law.

  5. BuffyzDead says:

    Doesn’t work. Voicemail greets me like it knows its me calling, telling me the status of my voicemail box.

    Bogus theory that was not actually tested.

  6. IdahoBruce says:

    I you are gonna bother to let us in on such a great feature, you might want to consider explaining how to put a call on hold. I suggest that the author test the suggested steps, before wasting the time of thousands of readers.

  7. Nicholas Heilweil says:

    Any time you call a business where you get the “this call may be recorded for blah, blah, blah purposes” then notice has been given and you do not need additional permission to record the call. Almost all business provide that recording notice so that’s handy.

    One downside of using your voicemail is if there is any restriction on the duration of a voicemail recording but this is an easy non-jailbreak method.

  8. Jason says:

    It’s illegal to record a phone conversation without the other person knowing the convo is being recorded.

  9. Valerie says:

    If it works, it’s illegal in the UK under almost all circumstances unless you have the other person’s permission.

    • Jon Ravioli says:

      Gee Valerie, maybe that’s why STEP 2 and the HUGE PARAGRAPH AT THE BOTTOM says:

      “Explain to the person that you are about to record the phone call, get their permission”

      How do you manage to get this far without reading anything??

  10. Reg says:

    I do not have ‘. Add call. ‘ feature on my iPhone 4S.

    • Update your iOS says:

      Yes you do. If you don’t, you need to upgrade your iOS or call Apple. It’s available on my ancient iPhone 3.

  11. LxF says:

    I hardly make phone calls anymore, probably few phonecalls a year.

  12. blew says:

    So with all these users feeling frustrated, are there not replies to their questions from OSXdaily? Maybe you’ve replied and I just don’t see it, but why wouldn’t it be evident, like, sorry, we’re investigating this to see why it’s not working for anyone? Or, oops, we forgot to try it before we told you it would work?

    • Jon Ravioli says:

      Sounds like you “blew” it!

      It works fine for me and for everyone else. You’re doing it wrong. User error is the number ONE problem for all computer problems!

  13. Carbs Dundee says:

    It works exactly as shown. I think some of your readers have preschool level comprehension.

  14. Debbie says:

    I live in Iowa where it is legal to record but one of the parties must be a part of this recorded conversation. That would be me. I take part, I record and am aware of the recording. It helps a lot and have seen many use recorded conversations on all the judge shows and the courts listen to them and it is used as evidence!

    • Just wow. says:

      You’re quoting Judge eff’ing Judy to support your case. Cite your states legal code.

      It’s the same in many states.

  15. Didi says:

    Hi everybody,
    Could you please tell me how can I active the Voicemail function on my iphone?
    Many thanks!

  16. Ray says:

    Hi, it worked for me on AT&T and Verizon in the USA. It did NOT work on Bell or Rogers, they both acted like you were calling to get your messages. Those are the sim chips I tried so far.

    To clarify, you do not need the other parties permission to record a call. By law, you just need to make them aware the call is being recorded.

  17. Ron says:

    Does this only work from mobile-to-mobile? I tried calling a landline and it went into the voicemail prompts and wouldn’t stop going through all the options (I use verizon).

    Also, how long can you record? I do interviews and need at least a half hour. Will this work for that purpose? Thanks.

    • Won Depack says:

      I’d use it for shorter interviews, long interviews should be recorded with Skype or with a microphone.

      Another lower tech option is to put a phone on speaker and record it from the computer.

    • Gee Buddy says:

      Hey Hucklebuck, why don’t you give it a try instead of asking everyone else.

      Maybe you could have been useful instead of needy.

      This way when you decided to open your mouth, you could have actually been helpful instead of another waste of text.

  18. Bob says:

    Does not work with Verizon Wireless on iPhone 6. After dialing own number, must enter my password. OK, that works. Thought I’d clear out saved voice mail messages, but that does not work because the “1” keypad to read them does not work !? All others work. It’s some deliberate feature to keep you from reading voice mail this way. Verizon says you must dial *86.

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