How to Use Audio Messages on iPhone or iPad to Send Voice Texts
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 an iPhone or iPad with 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 on iPhone and iPad
- From the Messages app, either create a new iMessage or open an existing iMessage thread*
- Tap and hold on the microphone icon to record a voice message – continue holding while recording
- 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
- 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.
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 Mac 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.