How to Record Audio on Mac

Record voice clips and longer sessions with your Mac's built-in apps

  • Record audio on your Mac using Voice Memos, QuickTime, or GarageBand.
  • Voice Memos is the most basic, while Garageband is the most complex since it's a music recording app.
  • You need a microphone to record audio. If you're using certain models, such as a Mac mini or Mac Pro, you'll need an external mic. 

This article covers how to record your audio on your Mac using Voice Memos, QuickTime, and GarageBand. 

How to Record on Mac Using Voice Memos

For a simple voice recorder Mac app, you can't go wrong with Voice Memos. It's very simple and basic but perfect if you simply want to leave a voice message for yourself. Here's how to use it.

  1. Open Voice Memos via the Launchpad, Finder, or Spotlight. 

  2. Click the red circle to start recording your voice.

    Voice Memos app on Mac with the record button highlighted
  3. Click Done when you've finished recording your voice memo.

    Voice Memos app on Mac with Done button highlighted

    Alternatively, click the pause icon to the left to pause the recording temporarily.

  4. Double click on the name of the file to rename it to something memorable.

    Voice Memos app with the name of the memo highlighted
  5. The file is automatically shared via iCloud to your other Apple devices. To share it elsewhere, click on the icon at the top right of the screen to share it.

Recording Audio With QuickTime

If you want a slightly more advanced method to record sound on Mac, QuickTime is the best built-in solution available. It gives you more control over where you can save the audio file so it's useful for more permanent records or longer recordings. Here's how to use it. 

  1. Open QuickTime via the Launchpad, Finder or Spotlight.

  2. Click File > New Audio Recording.

    QuickTime Player on Mac with New Audio Recording highlighted
  3. Click the red circle in the middle.

    QuickTime Player with the record button highlighted
  4. Click the gray square to stop recording.

    QuickTime Player with the stop recording button highlighted
  5. Click File > Save to choose a name for the recording and where you want to save it.

    QuickTime Player on Mac with Save dialog highlighted
  6. The file is now saved to your chosen folder and can be shared via conventional methods.

How to Record Sound With GarageBand

One final option for recording audio on Mac is with GarageBand. It's typically pre-installed on all Macs or you can find it for free on the App Store. It offers far more advanced features as it's a music recording app. Here's how to use it to record audio.

  1. Open GarageBand via the Launchpad, Finder or Spotlight.

  2. Click Choose to open a new project.

    GarageBand with Choose Project highlighted
  3. Click Audio > Record using a microphone

  4. Click Create.

    GarageBand with Create highlighted
  5. Click Record.

    GarageBand with record button highlighted

    If you want to change the source of your input such as if you have multiple microphones, you can click Input at the bottom of the screen and choose the relevant device.

  6. Click Stop to stop recording.

    GarageBand with Stop Recording button highlighted
  7. Click File > Save to save the audio file or click Share to share it directly. 

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