How to record a call on your iPhone

Maria Diaz/ ZDNET

There are many reasons why you want to (legally) record a phone call on your iPhone and so few ways to do it. While it’s reassuring that Apple puts customer privacy first, the company’s dedication to it can make times when registration is necessary unnecessarily difficult.

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Before recording a phone call from your iPhone, there are a few handy things to keep in mind:

  1. States have different laws regarding the recording of telephone calls. Click on here for your state’s policy.
  2. The iPhone does not allow recording via the built-in microphone when this phone is actively communicating via its own software. To put it simply, you cannot press “record” while actively talking on the phone.
  3. You need either an external iOS device with audio recording and microphone capabilities or a third-party app with separate calling software such as the voice of google. Also note that these third-party apps may require subscription fees.
  4. The method below is considered the most accessible for most iPhone users who want to record a conversation, especially if you want to be subtle about it.

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For the following steps, you will use:

  • 1 iPhone using speakerphone to make the call
  • Another iPhone or iOS device using voice memos to record the call

Record a phone call on your iPhone

First, make sure you have both an iPhone and another iOS device, such as an iPad or another iPhone, that includes the Voice Memos app. The Voice Memos app comes pre-installed on most devices, but it’s also free on the App store.

Open the Voice Memos app and press the red record button and start speaking long enough to ensure the sound quality is good enough to record and then clearly understand a conversation. When you’re done recording, press the red button again and an audio file should appear that says “Voice recording (number corresponding to the voice recordings you have)”.

Voice recording screenshot "all records" interface.

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

Now play the file and see if the sound is discernible. Make the adjustments you need Before you are recording a phone call.

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For example, if the sound quality is too poor, you may need to speak louder, increase microphone sensitivity, or move the speaker closer to your mouth.

Set up the second device to have voice memos ready to be recorded. Place the device close to the phone making the call and press the red button again to save.

Starting the recording before you start the call can add a few seconds of silence to the file, but will ensure you don’t miss a thing of the conversation. On your iPhone, make sure you initiate the phone call on speakerphone mode.

A tip: the red lines on the Voice Memo app indicate how well the app picks up sound. The larger the red bars, the larger the detected volume. If the lines remain flat, you may need to turn up the phone call volume or move the devices closer together.

Screenshot of voice memo app on iPhone showing red waves from soundbar.

The upper red bars indicate louder audio while the lower bars mean quiet audio and you may need to move closer to the phone for voice memos to pick up more accurate audio.

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

For legal reasons, check whether the state in which you are registering and residing is a one- or two-party state when it comes to registering consent.

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One-party states only require one person on the call – would count as you – to consent to be recorded. A bipartisan state requires both the person recording and the person being recorded to consent.

When the conversation is over or you got the information you needed about your grandma’s top secret apple pie recipe, end the recording by pressing the red button again.

From the Voice Memos app, select the file from the recording, tap the ellipsis button (three dots) to reveal the sharing options, and send it directly to your iPhone via text, mail, AirDrop, or even Google Drive.

Other methods

The above steps are the easiest, most efficient and less obvious way to record a phone call. If you (or a trusted second party) don’t have another iOS device to spare, here are some alternatives.

Google voice app for iOS allows you to make free and recorded calls using Wifi via Google Voice. You can select the device from which you want to make a call through the app. For incoming calls, you can access Settings > Calls > Incoming calls then toggle the option to record incoming calls. Once everyone is online, press the number four (4) on the keypad to start and end recording. The call will end up in the recording menu option after it ends.

THE Rev Voice Recorder App is also free, capable of recording while you’re using your phone, and can transcribe your files after a conversation has ended. Note that the transcription option, however, costs $1.50 per minute. Once you upload your file, it will appear as an MP3 file directly on your device. It is also another great and easy option to record phone calls and narrate screen recordings.

Easy Voice Recorder is another free app that lets you record voice memos or high-quality recordings into PCM, MP4, or ACC files, which can then be saved to your iCloud account. As the name suggests, this app is designed so that users can easily pull out their phone and start recording anytime, anywhere. Moreover, Easy Voice Recorder is able to transcribe text. If you download the app and use it on an iPad to record, you can also drag and drop recordings with Files or other recording apps for further transcriptions or just to consolidate recordings.

If you want to record important business phone calls, conference calls, or interviews, this $11 app may be worth the investment. For this app to record, you make a “conference call” where the TapeACall app is one of the parties. Then go to the app and press the record button to simultaneously record and for the app to “connect”. You have to merge the “three” calls together, so note that this process is a little more tedious and a lot less subtle.

Also: How to Record a Phone Call on Your Android Phone


Is it illegal to record phone calls?

Federal law requires consent from at least one party, which means you must be part of the conversation you are recording or have the consent of at least one person in that conversation. Otherwise, it may be interpreted as wiretapping or illegal eavesdropping. Some states have even stricter laws that require consent from everyone involved in the conversation.

Before recording a conversation, it is always best to check your state laws.

Is there an app to record calls on iPhone?

There are several that perform this function in one way or another. However, Apple is restrictive on the use of the microphone by third-party apps during a phone call. For this reason, most apps that help you record a call on your phone have to use some clever mechanism to bypass this barrier. Apart from the method described above using Voice Memos app, users also use Google Voice, TapeACall, Easy Voice Recorder and Rev Voice Recorder.

Alternatively, you can use most computers or tablets with a microphone to record phone conversations as long as the phone is on the speaker or the microphone is held close to the speaker next to your ear. Both iOS and Windows computers have many audio recording software options.

Does Apple have an app to record iPhone calls?

Unfortunately, no – at least not yet. Apple itself does not have an app, but there are third-party apps available on the App store. Also, voice memos are probably automatically installed on your iOS device.

Does screen recording on iPhone record my call?

Screen recording during an audio or FaceTime call will do just that – record your screen and your screen only – no audio included.

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