How to Record Voice Memos & Audio on iPhone

May 4, 2016 - 57 Comments

Record Audio and Voice on iPhone with Voice Memos

The iPhone includes a Voice Memos app that allows anyone to quickly record their voice, a speech, something nearby, or any other ambient audio from the devices built-in microphone. The resulting audio quality is quite good, and going further, you can save and share the recorded sound with another iPhone, Mac, Windows PC, Android user, or nearly anything else, as it arrives as a universally compatible audio file.

Though the iPhone microphone will pick up audio from a distant, for the best results you’ll want to have the recorded subject to be fairly near the iPhone itself. Another option is to use the bundled headphones that come with iPhone, which also include a microphone, and make recording your own voice easy and sound great. The earbud trick is particularly helpful for

How to Record Voice & Audio on iPhone with Voice Memos

The Voice Memos app is often overlooked, but it offers by far the simplest way to record audio from the iPhone microphone, here’s how it works:

  1. Open the “Voice Memos” app located on the iPhone
  2. Voice Memos app on iPhone

  3. Tap the red record button to start recording the voice or audio, when finished tap again on the same button to stop recording
  4. Record voice or audio with iPhone Voice Memos

  5. When satisfied with the recording, tap on “Done”
  6. Complete the voice recording

  7. Save the voice recording and give it a name
  8. Save the audio recording in voice memos

Now the voice recording has been saved to the iPhone, you can play it back, record over it, edit it or trim them down to shorter length, or trash it if desired.

Another option is to share the recorded voice or audio capture, which we’ll cover next.

Sharing the Voice Recording from iPhone

You can share saved voice recordings from the iPhone to anyone else through messages or email, here’s how:

  1. Back in the Voice Memos app on iPhone, tap to select on the voice recording you want to share
  2. Tap the sharing button, it looks like a box with an arrow flying out of the top
  3. Share a recorded audio or voice memo from iPhone

  4. Choose the method which you want to share the voice recording with; Message, Mail, Add to Notes, or a third party app of your choice
  5. Share voice audio recording through messages or email

The shared voice recording arrives as a .m4a file, which means it’s compatible with nearly any audio player on any modern operating system. Additionally, m4a files are basically ringtone files that are waiting to be renamed, meaning you can convert a voice recording into a ringtone or text tone for iPhone easily with these instructions, which offers a fun way to personalize your device. Another method of

The Voice Memos app is exclusive to iPhone, missing from the iPad for some unknown reason. Mac users do have a comparably simple option, however, where there is the ability to record audio on the Mac with QuickTime, which results in a similarly formatted m4a file which can be shared universally as well.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Alana Oritsedere says:

    What do I do then when my share options doesn’t show Coursera? Even after pressing the more option .

  2. Animator says:

    By what method can a Voice Memo audio recording taped utilizing the Voice Memo App on an iPhone 8 be deciphered from an English audio recording to an English language text duplicate of the recording? What is a good deciphering framework ?

  3. E says:

    So all I need to turn a recording into a text message on my iPhone is:
    Buy an Apple Computer
    Acquire a wireless connection
    Download iTunes
    There’s a lot of terms out there that could describe this experience and acceptable is not one of them

  4. Laura says:

    How can a Voice Memo audio recording taped using the Voice Memo App on an iPhone 8 be transcribed from an English audio recording to an English language text copy of the recording? What is a compatible transcribing system ?

  5. John says:

    I am stuck on Step 1. Where is the voice memo icon?

  6. jack richard says:

    Which voice recorder app (s) will let me store a recording and then go back and add to it
    on another date/time?

  7. need2know says:

    The app comes on automatically just by moving the phone whilst recording even thought I have locked the phone how can I disable this

  8. I have to record a 1/2 hour interview then transcribe interview for a paper. Will this do both? and how?

  9. shn says:

    It’s overlooked because of the file format. It’s incompatible with DAWs.

  10. Dorian says:

    How to I save the recording directly to iTunes? Emailing the file to myself, downloading it to my Mac, adding it to a custom playlist, then syncing the playlist with my iPhone is absurdly cumbersome.

    There’s got to be an easier way to do this and unfortunately hours of googling for a solution have resulted in nothing. :-(

  11. Ali says:

    Can it be used to record automatically all call on that IPhone?

  12. Kat says:

    Thanks for this. It’s one of those apps that’s often overlooked until one needs it. Nice tutorial. I’ve had iPhones for a decade and never had occasion to even need this until now.

  13. Bruna says:

    I am seeing a medium tomorrow and can tape our session. Is this the right site or can anyone help me . I am not that good at this.

  14. Louise Violette says:

    During one of the upgrades, the Voice Memos red button still turns on any recording, when I press it again to stop recording, the word “done” is no longer there so how can we save the recording. I am not sure why it disappeared but I can’t seem to get it back.

    I used Voice Memos a lot, it is a great tool but need help as to how to figure out what happened that the “DONE” button disappeared.

    Has anyone else experienced this? And can you advise how to correct this.

    I truly appreciate the help!

  15. john says:

    Ive done a recording it was nr 43 on the voice memo yesterday, and it is not with the deleted files, butwhen I went to listen today there was no 43.
    I would like to if it is possible to retrieve it

  16. Becca says:

    Does anyone know how long a recording can be with this app? I need to collect a language sample for a school project and would likely need to voice record for about an hour. Can I record that long with this app?

  17. Moga says:

    I tried to Revord voice memo with mini columned and height also. But recording voice volume is very little. Any setting issue with my iPhone X ?

  18. Karen says:

    Will voice memos allow you to loop? Thx

  19. nubwaxer says:

    It’s in “extras”, for anyone who like me didn’t know

  20. Maddy says:

    Is there a maximum recording time for voice memo?
    I’d like to record a meeting lasting around an hour or so.
    Is there enough recording time?

    • Paul says:

      I believe the recording time is limited by storage capacity on the device and not by time limits, but I am not sure that anyone has tested that concretely. I have certainly recorded long voice memos many times before though.

      The Music Memos app is another helpful app for recording audio sessions on iPhone though of course it’s aimed at music.

  21. Ajit says:

    When I upgrade my IPhone I got everything back to my new iPhone except voice memo records. I have voice memo app without any previous saved items. I tried cloud back up and iTunes back ups.. but still no datas

  22. Jeff Goh says:

    This afternoon I had accidentally deleted a recorded voice in the voice recorder apps. Can please show me anyway to retrieve back that files ?

  23. Redmond R. says:

    When recording something on voice memo, how to pause a recording, and come back in a few seconds, without STOPPING it and having to record again, and again? I record much off my desktop computer on sales, etc. and cull the best tips in 20 second bursts, so want to PAUSE the recording, but I can’t find a place to pause…………….Thanks!

  24. David S says:

    I have the same question as Cindy – how long can it record? Are there any “gotchas” for a long (say 2 hour) recording?

    I’m going in for a medical procedure and would like to record the audio during that time (I may be asleep). I also want to record what the doctor tells me afterwards. Would the iPhone going to sleep after a period of unuse (display off, locked mode) cause the audio recording to stop? I think with even a modest amount of compression (or even no compression), there should be plenty of room on the phone for 2 hours of audio.

  25. Barbie says:

    I did my frist recording. And deleted accidentally. How can I retrieve it

  26. Gary Leon says:

    Thanks for taking the time for making this tutorial, really appreciated. I always capture audio with a web-based software calls Acethinker Audio Recorder, It is a free online tool that lets you record audio right from the browser. Share it here as an alternative method.

  27. Cindy says:

    How long can you record something?

  28. Won Y Kim says:

    I use voice memo.
    while I am recording, phone call came then automatically stopped recording and I continued recording.
    after finished recording I tried to save whole duration 1st part and 2nd part together.
    but 2nd part that 15min duration is not saved because I tapped undo.
    I was found 1st and 2nd part that recorded well.

    this is very important record.
    can you advice how to save 2nd part accidentally deleted?

  29. Shyam says:

    You must be joking. That is a lot of words and effort to justify a disaster

  30. Jean says:

    This saved my skin. I had a homework assignment that needed to be submitted orally and I could not find a way to do it. From this instruction, I was able to hook up to my voice voice memos instantly and had it all done and the homework submitted in about ten minutes’ time. Thank you!

  31. dianne smith says:

    the red dot just shimmies when I tap it and there is no recording, what should I do?

  32. Robbie says:

    “The resulting audio quality is quite good,”

    Having used Voice Memos to record both a conversation and also some live music, I think the quality is appalling (like telephone call quality).

    Do you know, is this a limitation of the built in microphone, or is it the Voice Memos app stripping out any low and high frequencies to compress the file size smaller?

  33. Margin says:

    Some hints for real dummies who want to record something but like me do not know how to download this wonderful voice memos app or what their I-tunes password might be:
    – It is not an App that you download from somewhere
    – It is probably on your iphone already
    – It is probably hidden in Utilities
    – IE in with the calculator
    It has only taken me half an hour to figure this out. Now I wish I could remember what it was that I wanted to record.

  34. JackHammer says:

    Well, I wish someone would come out with the tips and tricks for voice recorder. Because if your settings are off like with screen shut off it seems to sometimes halt the recording or pause it.

    Like for a real world setting I want to record an interview. But when you are doing life things you want to use your hands and just put the thing in your pocket and record and then shut it off when your done with the tutorial. Like if someone was teaching me how to do something but I wanted the recorded audio of the steps. If the phone shuts off because of a timer or a notification does anyone have any experience in getting around that?

  35. I’ve got a very nice microphone and it still seems to use the iPhone built-in microphone by default. It isn’t a bad microphone, but I wanted to us my external mic just so I could have better control over the sound quality. Any recommendations? I couldn’t find anywhere to change that preference.

    • Dave says:

      Plug the microphone into the AUX headphone port and it should pickup automatically, like the earbuds have a microphone in them for example.

      • David says:

        I’ve got the same problem – lapel mic records for video but not for memo. Other recording apps also only work with internal mic.

  36. Karen says:

    My Apple Watch used to show the miles and it doesn’t any longer I restored it and still no miles what am I doing wrong

  37. teddy says:

    Teddynicholson 264-2313

  38. Nick says:

    I use the app all the time and find it quite useful. I also enjoy your newsletter as it is very helpful.

  39. SMF says:

    I like all tips. I never use voice recording but realize it could be very useful. However when I tried to play it back, I could barely hear it even though volume was up high and I had spoken into the phone when it was quite close to me. I have noticed that I rarely hear the phone when someone tries to call me so I am wondering if there is something fundamental about the speaker system in my phone. I do have a protective cover on it. Could that be an issue?

    • Jim says:

      Yes big time

    • Jeff says:

      Yes, iPhone protective cases can diminish both the ability of the microphone to record sound, and the ability for the speakers to project volume. That applies to the screen-covering protective screen shields as well.

      Additionally, iOS has several different volume levels for different functions, so be sure you turn up the volume (using the buttons on the side of the iPhone) when you’re in the actual Voice Memos app as well – you may see the sound volume increase here despite being turned up elsewhere. The volume in iOS is a bit of a mystery, since there doesn’t seem to be a single indicator for controlling all volume output… oh and if you use headphones they have yet another different volume level too.

    • Rishabh says:

      Hey SMF, i ran into same issue. There is no problem with your phone. Just click on the blue colored volume button on top right of the screen within that app, from there select Speaker. You currenlty have Iphone option selected as default

  40. Doug says:

    If you don’t like the icon, just do what I do. “Hey Siri, run Voice Memos”

    • Bozo the Clown says:

      You can also tell Siri on iPhone to “Record a new voice memo” which will open the app immediately

      • Triggs says:

        That is the most useful comment I have yet read, thank you! It might seem obvious to some people, but the point of advice is that when you need it, it’s cos the answer isn’t obvious to you.

    • avenged110 says:

      I don’t like the icon, but mine still looks beautiful since it’s the one from iOS 4.1.

  41. JGG says:

    Wow! Really?! Open an app? Press a Record button?


    Thanks for embedding the images in the story. I don’t think I ever would have figured that one out; especially without the red arrows!

    • Bozo the Clown says:

      JGG, you’re a real know-it-all eh? I bet you think you’re really clever with that comment eh? You thought about that one for a few minutes did ya? You know everything there is to know about Voice Memos and recording your voice with iPhone eh? You’re a real genius JGG, I look forward to reading your free genius newsletter JGG, where can I sign up??

  42. avenged110 says:

    Still one of the worst icons I’ve ever seen from Apple.

    • Joe says:

      I agree, Voice Memos is a great app and I use it often, the first version of it from Forstall was more intuitive and the icon made sense. The new icon and the new interface is… uninspired. To put it nicely.

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