There are more voice recording apps for iPhone than you could ever hope to try, and most them don’t offer much more than the simple functionality you get with Apple’s built-in Voice Memo app. Audio Memos, on the other hand, scores as our top choice because it offers lots of control over your recordings and makes them very easy to share.
- Recordings are very loud and easily audible.
- Share your recordings via email.
- Transfer recordings to your computer via USB (iTunes) or Wi-Fi (WebDAV or FTP).
- Unlimited recording length (unless you run out of space on your device).
- Search, sort and filter your recordings.
- Save your memos to iCloud
- Pause and restart recordings.
- Combine recordings.
- Attach pictures to voice memos while recording.
- Re-record portions of a memo if you made a mistake.
- Set recording markers.
- Add a lock code to the app for privacy.
- Record with a Bluetooth mic.
- Adjust recording quality.
Note: Audio Memos has a crazy number of features and settings, so this is just a selected list. Be sure to hit up the download page for the full list.
Audio Memos is one of the most feature-rich apps you’ll find for recording voice memos. You can use it to just make simple recordings, just like the built-in iPhone app, but it excels in its ability to make changes to the memos you record. You can go back and re-record sections, add markers, insert a new recording inside of an existing record, and combine multiple recordings already saved. Everything you record is email-able, but you can also transfer files via Wi-Fi using WebDAV or FTP. Recording quality is adjustable, as are a very long list of settings. There are also 15 extensions available for in-app purchase that provide several more features for your recordings. Buying them can get a little pricey, but you can try them all out for 15 days for free.
Audio Memos can be a little confusing to use in the beginning. Making your first recording is very straightforward, but because the app can do so much those additional features can be overwhelming or hard to find. On the plus side, Audio Memos includes an introductory video that teaches you how to use the primary features in the app. The video is a bit long — at alost nine minutes — but you’ll know your way around when you’ve finished watching it.
I also noticed a few glitches in use. For example, I had to push the record button twice whenever I wanted to initiate the recording (three times if you include the button to create the recording, but that’s normal behaviour). None of the glitches amount to much of a real problem, but they do exist.
Voice Memos, the voice recording app that comes with iOS, is obvious competition. It’s already on your phone and you can’t get rid of it, so if Apple’s built-in app is sufficient for your needs then there’s no sense in downloading anything else. If you don’t already know, it records your voice, syncs those memos to iTunes (unless you tell it not to), and allows you to share any recordings via email or MMS. It has a nice interface and works well, but you don’t get much more than that.
DropVox ($1.99) is actually my personal favourite of the recording apps because you just record a memo and it’s in your Dropbox moments later. That’s all it does, and so it wasn’t chosen as our best because it only makes sense to people who actually use Dropbox. That said, if all you want to do is record a voice memo and send it to your computer this is pretty much the fastest and easiest way to do it. In my tests, the recording quality was excellent.
QuickVoice Pro ($2.99), or QuickVoice2Text Email (PRO Recorder) as it’s officially called in the iTunes App Store, is the app I guessed would be our top pick but ultimately proved to be a little disappointing. It records voice memos like all the others but has a few compelling features that make it stand out. First, you can email any recording as a ringtone. (This isn’t that useful but kind of neat.) More importantly, you can email recordings as text. From what I can tell, these recordings seem to be transcribed by a human and are very accurate. The downside? Transcriptions have a maximum length of 30 seconds. If the limit were 10 minutes, or even 60 seconds, that would make a big difference. At the current length, what could be a killer feature isn’t so great.
Lifehacker’s App Directory is a growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools across multiple platforms.