Got Voice Memos on your iPhone that you want to move onto your Mac? There are several ways to do so, and we take you through each of them in our step-by-step article on how to move Voice Memos from iPhone to Mac.
The Voice Memos app on the iPhone is a handy way to record audio in a number of situations. Tasked with taking minutes at a meeting? Put your iPhone on the table and let Voice Memos do the heavy lifting. Have a genius idea on your way home and need to capture it quickly before it disappears? Simply record your ramblings and they’re safe from the ravages of distraction. Of course this is all well and good, but at some point you're going to want to move those files onto some other device like your Mac or PC. To achieve this you have a few options.
How to email a Voice Memo
The first is quite simply to email them to yourself. In the app select the recording you want to move, then tap on the Share icon in the left corner under the Play button. Now you have the option to send it as a Message or Mail.
Choose Mail then fill in the relevant details and hit send. This is fine for the occasional memo, but if you have several that you want to do at once - or have long recordings whose files sizes are not inbox friendly - then the best solution is to use iTunes.
How to sync an iPhone Voice Memo to your Mac
Open iTunes on your Mac, and then attach your iPhone to your Mac. iTunes should automatically detect the handset. Click on your device in the menu on the left or in the navigation bar (where it'll be a little smartphone icon). The first thing you'll want to do in order to prevent the loss of any of your Voice Memos is click 'Back Up Now'.
This may take a while, but once it's done you'll have the peace of mind that should anything go wrong with the syncing process you can restore the iPhone and those Voice Memos should reappear.
Then, you'll want to Sync your iPhone with your computer. The Voice Memo option is found in the Music section, so click on that and you’ll see the Sync Music tickbox at the top of the screen. You’ll need this selected to sync your memos.
Beneath this you’ll see there is another tickbox bearing the legend 'Include voice memos', ensure this is ticked and you’re good to go.
Now click Apply at the bottom of the page and iTunes will sync the Voice Memos into your music collection. It will also mean, though, that any Voice Memos you've got in iTunes will be synced to your iPhone, too.
Find your synced iPhone Voice Memo on your Mac
To locate the files in iTunes, go to Music > Playlists and click on Voice Memos. You can then listen to your Voice Memos there.
For direct access to the file itself, you can go to Finder > Music > iTunes > iTunes Music and then Voice Memos. There you should find all of your backed-up and synced Voice Memos.
If you want to move them to another service - say Dropbox - then bear in mind that the file type is .m4a, so any player you want to use will need to be compatible with that format.
Something else to remember is that as these files are synced they won’t actually be deleted from your phone. To do this you’ll need to manually go through them yourself, but of course when you next sync the handset the memos will reappear unless you delete them from iTunes. If you've moved your Voice Memos out of the iTunes Music > Voice Memos folder to somewhere else on your computer and deleted them from iTunes they'll stay safely stored on your computer but won't reappear on your device. It’s not a perfect system by any means, but for casual use it works well.
If you intend to use voice memos more actively there are several apps available that have different workflows, our favourite being Evernote which alongside voice files also has photo and document scanner capabilities that all sync to the cloud automatically.
What to do if one or more of your Voice Memos won't sync to your Mac
We had trouble syncing one of our memos with our Mac, but for no obvious reason. It seems we're not alone in the matter, as this Apple Support thread on the subject is 19 pages long.
First, double check that your Voice Memo isn't in the folder when you go to Finder > Music > iTunes > iTunes Music > Voice Memos. If it is, you'll be able to delete the memos from your iPhone without worrying, but if not make sure you leave it on your iPhone for now and try the following.
First try disconnecting your iPhone, renaming the memo in the Voice Memos app by tapping its name, and then reconnecting to iTunes and syncing.
If the memo still doesn't show up in iTunes or in the iTunes Music folder, go back to the Voice Memos app, tap the memo in question, tap Edit and then tap the little blue square on the right. Trim as little off as you possibly can (you don't want to get rid of anything important!) and then tap Trim. You'll be asked whether you want to Trim Original or Save As New Recording. Tap Save As New.
Now plug your iPhone into iTunes and you should see it in the Voice Memos playlist. Press sync and check your Finder > Music > iTunes Music > Voice Memos folder. It should be there ready for you to do as you please.