How to Record Voice Memos on Your iPhone

Apple Voice memos can capture the information you need to remember

Pixabay / Public Domain

The Voice Memos app on your iPhone allows you to record audio and save it to your phone. It can be a conversation, music, and you can even use an external microphone if you want.

Despite it being the thing you need sometimes, the Voice Memos app is one of the most overlooked features of the iPhone. For folks with some, er, experience behind them, it's like carrying a tape recorder with you wherever you go. Whether you are leaving yourself a reminder, recording an interview with a client, or even writing a song while on the road, the Voice Memos app has all of the basics you'll need. You can even edit out mistakes or easily share your recording with a friend. Oh, if you're wondering, no, the Voice Memos app doesn't come installed on the iPad. Frustratingly it's not available on the App Store, either.

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Launch the Voice Memos App

Screenshot of Spotlight Search

There are various ways to launch any app on the iPhone, but unless you've actively moved it, Voice Memos is in the Utilities folder.

Of course if you've created a lot of folders for yourself (along with adding lots of app from the App Store), you might even have trouble finding the Utilities folder.

The easiest way to find any app is to simply ask Siri to do it for you. Siri has an amazing number of tricks up her sleeve, and by far one of the most useful is the ability to launch apps. Simply ask her to "Launch Voice Memos" and she'll find the app for you.

If you don't like talking to your iPhone when you aren't on an actual call, you can also use Spotlight Search to quickly run the Voice Memos app. You can access Spotlight Search by placing your finger on the iPhone's screen and swiping down, being careful not to place your finger on one of the app icons. When you slide your finger down, the Spotlight Search feature will be displayed. Type in "voice" using the onscreen keyboard and the Voice Memos app will appear in the middle of the screen ready for you to tap to launch it.

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How to Record a Voice Memo

Screenshot of Voice Memos

Now that you have Voice Memos on your screen, all you need to do to start recording is press the big red button.  The recording will begin immediately, so don't press it until you are ready.

The iPhone does a good job of filtering out some of the background noise, but if you want the clearest possible recording, you can use the earbuds that come with the iPhone. These headphones include a microphone for talking on the phone, or in this case, speaking into the iPhone. Any headphones or earbuds that have a built-in mic should do fine.

For most recordings, you should be able to skip the headphones and simply hold the iPhone as if you were talking on it as usual.

When you are ready to save the recording, tap the Done button on the screen. You will be prompted to give the new recording a name. You can also cancel the recoding by tapping Done and then tapping Delete on the same screen you would save the recording. Don't worry, the app gives you a chance to back out of the deletion, but be warned, there is no undo.

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How to Edit Your Recording

Screenshot of Voice Memos

Didn't get it perfect on the first take? No worries. You can either record over your first attempt or delete the part of the recording with the mistake.

To record over your original recording, simply place the tip of your finger on the left side of the recording and move it toward the right side of the iPhone. You will see the recording being dragged along the path of your finger until you are back at the beginning. Tap the Record button to record over the original.

You can also extend the original recording by tapping the Record button while the blue line is positioned at the very end of the recording.

To delete part of the recording, tap the Trim button. This is a blue square with blue lines coming out of the top-left and bottom-right corners. 

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How to Trim Your Recording

Screenshot of Voice Memos

You have two options on the Trim screen. You can highlight a section to delete, or you can highlight a piece of the recording to trim. When you choose to trim a highlighted section, the iPhone will delete everything except what you have highlighted. This is great if you are trying to get rid of the dead air before and after the recording.

You can highlight a section of the recording by placing your finger on the red line at the beginning or end of the recording and moving the selector toward the middle. If you don't get it perfect the first time, you can drag the recording itself left or right to fine tune the selection.

When you have the right portion of the recording selected, tap the Delete or Trim button.

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How to Share, Delete or Edit Your Recording

Screenshot of Voice Memos

After you have saved a recording, you can retrieve it by tapping the name in the selection list below the recording section of the app. This will bring up a small section that lets you play the recording, delete it, edit it or share it.

The Share button is the square with the arrow sticking out of the top. You can share it via text message, email message, save it to iCloud Drive or even add it to a note in the Notes app.