For whatever reason, the iPhone has tons of different voice recording apps, but very few of them do anything more than Apple's free Voice Memos app. We like Just Press Record because it manages to make itself worth its asking price by offering a different experience and feature set than Apple's offering.
- One-tap recording from the app, the Notification Center, or your home screen
- iCloud backup and syncing
- Ability to share notes with any other app that supports audio or text sharing
- Text transcription for several languages with support for punctuation commands
- Notes are fully searchable
- Mac app ($7.99) for desktop syncing
- "Unlimited" recording time for as long as your device will allow
- Background recording if you switch to another app, multitasking support on iPad
Where It Excels
As the name suggests, when you open Just Press Record, you're shown a big record button. Press that button and the app starts recording. It's simple, fast, and easy, which is exactly what you want here. Beyond that, Just Press Record does everything in its power to simplify the process of recording an audio memo. That means you can start recording a memo instantly from your lock screen with a widget in Notification Center, with a hard-press on the icon from your home screen, or right from an Apple Watch.
Just Press Record is also the only option we found that includes transcription software, and while it's about as accurate as voice dictation in Siri, it's a welcome addition nonetheless. If you're one person speaking clearly into the iPhone's mic, Just Press Record does a solid job at transcription, but it does get muddled up if you're trying to record a group of people.
The transcription isn't just useful for translating voice to text, it makes it so you can search through the voice recordings just like you would a word document. This alone is well worth the price if you make a lot of voice memos and have no interest in manually organising them.
Where It Falls Short
The only feature Just Press Record is missing compared to other options is editing features. Depending on why you're using voice recording software, this might be a deal breaker, but if you just need a way to make quick memos or to record lectures, editing isn't usually necessary. Just Press Record also assumes you want to search through the transcriptions to find what you're looking for and doesn't offer much in the way of organisation other than putting files into date-specific folders. This might be deal breaker for anyone hoping to organise files in a specific way. At $7.99, Just Press Record is expensive, but transcriptions makes it well worth the cost of entry.
While there are a ton of voice recording app out there, most of them don't offer much more than Apple's own Voice Memos (Free) app. In fact, Voice Memos is great for most people. With it, you can quickly record memos, trim them down with the lightweight editor, and catalogue them however you see fit. If that's all you need to do, then the free app that's already on your phone is plenty.
Voice Recorder (Free/$2.99) is easily the most popular third-party voice recording option in the App Store and it's a solid app for anyone looking for a slightly upgraded version of Voice Memos. It offers the basics, including unlimited recording time, basic editing, and the ability to loop audio. On top of that, it has some solid organisation options, including organising recordings into a traditional folder structure. You can also back up recordings to a number of different cloud services or password protect memos. If the transcription and search functionality of Just Press Record isn't interesting to you but you still need something more than Voice Memos, Voice Recorder is a solid in-between that also adds in some excellent organizational tools.
If you don't need a dedicated voice recording app, both Evernote (Free) and OneNote (Free) have voice recording options where you can append a voice recording to any note. This is great for students recording lectures or if you're recording notes for a meeting. The recording process for both is a little buried away, so unless you're already using either app for your notes, they're not worth it just for audio memos alone.