How to record calls on your iPhone

Maria Diaz / ZDNET

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

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Before you record phone calls with your iPhone, there are a few practical things to keep in mind:

  1. States have different laws regarding recording phone calls. Click here to find your state’s policy.
  2. The iPhone doesn’t allow recording via the built-in microphone while that phone is actively on a call via its own software. Simply put, you can’t hit “record” while actively talking on the phone.
  3. You need either an external iOS device with audio recording and microphone functions, or a third-party app with separate call software, such as Google Voice. Also, note that these third-party apps may require a subscription fee.
  4. The method below is considered the most accessible for most iPhone users who want to record conversations, especially if you want to be subtle about it.

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For the following steps, you would use:

  • iPhone is using speaker phone to join the call
  • Another iPhone or iOS device using Voice Memos to record calls

Recording a Phone Call on Your iPhone

First, make sure you have both an iPhone and another iOS device, such as an iPad or other 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 tap the red Record button and start speaking for long enough to make sure 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 saying “Voice Recording (number corresponding to the voice recording you have)”.

screenshot of voice recording "all recordings" Interface.

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

Now, play back the file and see if the audio is clear. make the necessary adjustments Earlier You record a phone call.

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

Set up the second device so that it is ready to record voice memos. Place the device near the calling phone and press the red button again to record.

Starting the recording before starting the call may add a few seconds of silence to the file but will ensure that you don’t miss any conversation. On your iPhone, make sure to initiate a phone call in speakerphone mode.

One tip: The red lines on the Voice Memos app indicate how well the app is picking up sounds. When the red bars are large, an overabundance is indicated. If the lines remain flat, you may need to increase the phone call volume or move the devices closer together.

Screenshot of the Voice Memos app on iPhone showing red sound bar waves.

Top red bars indicate louder volume while bottom bars mean quieter and you may need to move closer to the phone for voice memos to get a more accurate sound.

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

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

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One-party states require only one person on the call — which will count as you — to consent to being recorded. A two-party state requires the consent of both the person making the recording and the person being recorded.

When the conversation ends or you’ve got the information you need about your grandma’s most secret apple pie recipe, end the recording by tapping the red button once again.

From within the Voice Memos app, select the recording’s file, tap the ellipsis button (three dots) to bring up the share options, and send it directly via text message, mail, AirDrop, or even Google Drive. Send to your iPhone.

other ways

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

The Google Voice app for iOS lets you make free and recorded calls through Google Voice using Wifi. You can select the device you want to call through the app. for incoming call you can go to Settings > Call > Incoming call And then toggle off the Record incoming call option. Once everyone is on the call, press the number four (4) on the keypad to start and end the recording. After the call ends there will be an end in record menu option.

The Rev Voice Recorder app is also free, able to record while you’re using your phone, and transcribe your files after the conversation is over. Note that the transcription option, however, costs $1.50 per minute. Once you’ve downloaded your file, it will appear directly on your device as an MP3 file. This is another great and easy option to record phone calls and play back screen recordings.

Easy Voice Recorder is another free app that allows you to record high-quality sounding voice memos or recordings in PCM, MP4, or ACC files – which can then be saved to your iCloud account. As the name suggests, this app is designed for the users so that they can easily take out their phones and start recording anytime, anywhere. As a plus, Easy Voice Recorder is capable of text to transcription. If you download the app and use it on the iPad to record, you can also drag and drop recordings with files or other recording apps for further transcription 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. With this app to record, you make a “conference call” where the TapeCall app is one of the parties. Then, go into the app and hit the record button to simultaneously record and “dial in” the app. You have to merge all “three” calls together, so note that this process is a bit more difficult and a lot less subtle.

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questions to ask

Is it illegal to record phone calls?

Federal law requires the consent of at least one party, which means you need to be part of the conversation you’re recording or at least one person in that conversation must have consent. Otherwise, it could be considered wiretapping or illegal eavesdropping. Some states have even stricter laws that require the consent of everyone involved in the conversation.

It’s always best to check your state’s laws before recording a conversation.

Is there an app to record calls on iPhone?

There are many who perform this task in one way or another. However, Apple is restrictive about letting third-party apps use the microphone during phone calls. For this reason, most apps that help you record calls on your phone must use clever mechanisms to overcome this obstacle. Beyond the above mentioned method of using voice memo app, people also use Google Voice, TapeACall, Easy Voice Recorder and Rev Voice Recorder.

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Alternatively, you can use most mic-equipped computers or tablets to record phone conversations, as long as the phone is on speaker or the microphone is placed near the speaker next to your ear. There are many audio recording software options available for both iOS and Windows computers.

Does Apple have an app to record iPhone calls?

Unfortunately, no – at least not yet. Apple doesn’t have any apps of its own, but there are third-party apps available on the App Store. Plus, Voice Memos is likely to be automatically installed on your iOS device.

Does Screen Recording on iPhone Record My Calls?

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

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