How to Record Phone Calls with a Mac
Want to record a phone call from a Mac? Maybe you’re interviewing someone for a podcast and want to record both sides of the conversation? Maybe you want to record a phone call for quality and training purposes? Whatever the purpose, there are several different ways to record a phone call from a Mac, but we’re going to go with perhaps the easiest method that is decidedly low tech but highly reliable.
Note we are recording a phone call from an iPhone or Android phone, or even an old dumb phone, to a Mac. This is different from recording an iPhone call on an iPhone using something like voicemail, since the captured audio file ends up on the Mac.
Important: Be aware there are many differing laws pertaining to recording phone calls, and it is entirely your responsibility to determine which is relevant for your situation and your location. Be sure to check your local laws before recording any phone call. Often, all parties need to consent to the call being recorded. When in doubt, get clear consent to record a phone call before doing so, or do not record the call. Failure to properly get consent for recording a phone call may land you into serious trouble, it is entirely your responsibility to determine what laws apply to you in your locality, state, and country.
How to Record a Phone Call from a Mac
You will need a Mac with a built-in microphone (or external microphone), an iPhone or Android, and a quiet place to make the phone call from.
- From the Mac, open “QuickTime Player” and go to the “File” menu and choose “New Audio Recording”
- Position the Mac and phone so that they are near one another
- Mute the Mac audio output by pressing the mute button on the keyboard
- From the iPhone (or Android), call the person or number, and get their clear unambiguous approval and consent that you are going to record the phone call
- Place the active phone call onto speaker phone mode
- When ready to start recording the phone call on the Mac, click the “Record” button in QuickTime on the Mac
- Have your phone conversation on speaker phone near the Mac as usual, when finished with the recording, or with the phone call, or both, click the “Stop Recording” button in QuickTime
- Save the audio recording file as usual in QuickTime Player
This is a simple solution that isn’t particularly complex, but it’s great because it works with nearly any phone, and on nearly any Mac, as long as that Mac has a microphone, and as long as the phone has speakerphone capabilities (on iPhone you can put a call on speakerphone by pressing the speaker button, or even by starting the speakerphone call from Siri). Because of it’s simplicity, it’s also highly reliable.
For better audio quality of the recorded phone call, you might want to try making a VOIP call from the iPhone or Android. On iPhone you can make VOIP calls through FaceTime Audio, Skype, or even cellular network wi-fi. On Android, you can make VOIP calls through Skype, cellular wi-fi services, and various other apps too. VOIP calls usually sound better, which makes the audio recording of the phone call sound better as well.
The major downside to recording phone calls on a Mac with this solution is that the audio quality is not going to be as high as it could be, and any other ambient sounds could potentially get recorded as well. But most phone calls are not exactly high definition anyway, so whether or not you’d be able to tell the difference between this approach and a more professional setup is debatable. Some podcasts and reporters record phone calls this way, or by using a similar method of just capturing audio outputted from a speaker phone call, so it’s not a rare method or unique approach by any means.
You can also record phone calls using another audio recording app on the Mac, but recording audio with QuickTime in Mac OS is simple and fast and it’s available as a feature in many versions of the app throughout various releases of the Mac OS operating system, which makes it reliable on many different Macs.
Are there more high-tech solutions? Of course! You can do direct line audio capture from the iPhone with a microphone for your own voice, you could direct line capture from a phone call made from the Mac by way of an iPhone, or you could rig both ends of the call can use microphones to record their sides of the conversation which can then be pieced together in an audio editing app, or you could use fancy microphones to capture the speakerphone output as well, but each of those situations is more complex than simply using the Macs built-in microphones (on MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, and iMac models), and the iPhone or Android built-in speakerphone feature. Another option is to record the call directly on the iPhone using the voicemail call recording trick, or various other third party apps or solutions available for iOS, but those situations wouldn’t use a Mac of course.
Do you know of another easy and simple way to record phone calls on a Mac? Share them with us in the comments below!