How to record a call on your iPhone (and check if it’s legal in your state)

Christina Darby/ZDNET

Whether you’re conducting interviews, research, or need to document a conversation, there are many reasons why you might want to record a phone call on your iPhone, but very few ways to do it.

For privacy reasons (and due to laws that vary by state), Apple has historically not allowed recording through the iPhone’s built-in microphone while the phone is actively on a call. However, at the company’s annual meeting Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) Monday, apple Announced that iOS 18 will bring call recording and transcription to the iPhone this fall, as part of the new Apple Intelligence.

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Until then, here are some ways to record a call on your iPhone, with and without the use of third-party apps.

Before recording a phone call, please note the following:

  1. Always verify that the recording is legal. States have different laws regarding recording phone calls. Can check your state’s policy here.
  2. To record, you’ll need an external iOS device with microphone and audio recording features or a third-party app with standalone calling software like Google voice. Third party apps may require a subscription fee.
  3. The first method below is considered the most accessible for most iPhone users who want to record a conversation, especially if they want to be subtle about it.

How to record a phone call on iPhone

What do you need:

  • One iPhone to make the call, which we recommend putting on speaker
  • Another recording device (could be another iPhone, a iPador even an Android device) using voice memos or another recording app to record the call

First, make sure you have an iPhone and another iOS device, such as a Mac, iPad, or another iPhone, that includes the Voice Memos app. The Voice Memos app comes pre-installed on most devices, but is also free on the App Store. If you use an Android device, check that it has a recording app, such as this free.

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Open the Voice Memos app, tap the red record button, and start speaking for long enough to ensure the sound quality is adequate to record a conversation. When you are done recording, press the red button again. An audio file called “New recording (number correlated to the voice recordings you have)” will appear. if you have Location services activated, the recording will be titled with the address of your location.

Screenshot of voice memos "All recordings" Interface.

Voice recordings are automatically saved under different names depending on whether location services are turned on.

Screenshot by Radhika Rajkumar/ZDNET

Now, play the file and see if the audio is discernible. Make the adjustments you need before 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 microphone sensitivity (go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics), or move the speaker closer to your mouth.

Always check whether the state you are registering in and residing in is a single-party or all-party state when it comes to registering consent.

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Single-party states require that only one person on the call, which would be you, give consent. An all-party state requires that both the recording party and the recording party give consent.

After revealing that you are recording or, if necessary, obtaining permission to record, set the second device so that Voice Memos (or another app you are using) is ready to record. Place the device near the calling phone and press the red button again to record.

Start recording before starting the call; This may add a few seconds of silence to the audio file, but it will ensure that you don’t miss any of the conversation. On your iPhone, make sure to start the phone call on speakerphone.

Once on the call, you can improve your audio quality by swiping down at the top right of the screen to access the Control Center. Select Microphone Mode > Voice Isolation.

Pro tip: The red lines on the sound graph, known as the waveform, indicate how well the app picks up sound. The higher the bars, the greater the volume detected. If the waveform remains flat, you may need to increase the volume of the phone call or move the devices closer together.


Change microphone mode once a call is active.

Screenshot by Radhika Rajkumar/ZDNET

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

Peaks in the red waveform bar indicate a louder sound; when it is flatter, it indicates lower volume. If your waveform seems low while recording, you may need to get closer to the phone so that voice memos capture more accurate sound.

Screenshot by Radhika Rajkumar/ZDNET

When you finish the conversation or have obtained the information you needed, end the recording by tapping the red button.

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From the Voice Memos app, select the recording file and tap the ellipsis (three dots) button to the right of the recording name to bring up sharing options. You can send it directly to your iPhone via iMessage or other messaging apps, email, AirDrop, Slack, or even Google Drive.


Open sharing options. You can also trim or rename the recording to something easier to remember by clicking Edit Recording.

Screenshot by Radhika Rajkumar/ZDNET

Other ways to record

Following the steps above is the easiest, most efficient, and most discreet way to record a phone call on your iPhone. If you or a trusted third party don’t have another device to spare, here are some alternatives.

Note: Many apps that record phone calls may need to conference before the recording begins, which may take a moment and could be detected by the other person on the call.

Rev has a few options depending on what you need. If you want to record phone calls, try your Call recorder app – It’s free, has no limits on the length of recordings, and even has legal guidance in the app. To record other conversations, Rev’s Voice recorder The app is also free and has a user-friendly interface.

Additionally, Rev offers AI support transcription of your recordings for $0.25 per minute, or you can have a human professionally transcribe your recording for $1.50 per minute. Once you download your file, it will appear as an MP3 file on your device. This is a great option for recording phone calls and narrating screen recordings.

The voice of Google iOS app allows you to make free, recorded calls over Wi-Fi through Google Voice. If you have a personal Google account, you can only record incoming calls, and they should reach your Google Voice number. If you have a Google Workspace account through work or school, you’ll have more recording capabilities, but you’ll need to get the proper license. Google Voice License.

You can select the device from which you want to initiate a call through the application. For incoming calls, you can go to Settings > Calls > Incoming Call Options and then toggle the Incoming Call Log option.

Once everyone is on the call, press the number four (4) on the keypad to start and end the recording. The call will end in the recording menu option once finished.

Easy Voice Recorder is another free app that allows you to record high-quality voice memos or recordings to PCM, MP4, or ACC files, which you can then save to your iCloud account. It can’t record phone calls hosted on the same device, but it has quick and easy built-in transcription capability at no additional cost.

As the name suggests, this app is designed so that users can take out their phones and start recording anytime, anywhere. 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 additional transcriptions, or simply to consolidate recordings.

Frequent questions

Is it illegal to record phone calls?

Federal law requires the consent of 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 eavesdropping. Some states have even stricter laws requiring consent from everyone involved in the conversation.

Before recording a conversation, check the laws of your state.

Is there an app to record calls on iPhone?

Several downloadable third-party apps can record calls on the iPhone, but that capability is not built into the device. However, Apple is restrictive about allowing these apps to use the microphone during a phone call. Most applications will need to participate in the call as a participant to record. Beyond the method described above using the Voice Memos app, people also use Google Voice, Easy Voice Recorder, and Rev.

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Alternatively, you can use most microphone-equipped computers or tablets to record phone conversations, as long as the phone is on speaker or the microphone is close to the other device’s speaker. Both macOS and windows Computers have numerous audio recording software options available.

Does Apple have an app to record iPhone calls?

Unfortunately not, at least not yet. Apple itself does not have an app, but there are third-party apps available on App Store. Additionally, Voice Memos will most likely be installed automatically on your iOS device.

Does screen recording on iPhone record my call?

Screen recording during an audio or FaceTime call will only record your screen; It will not capture any audio from you or your phone.

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Do iPhone voice memos have a time limit?

The Voice Memos app can record for an unlimited period of time as long as you have sufficient storage availability. To check how much storage is on your device, go to your iPhone Settings > General > Device > Storage. You also can buy more iPhone storage.

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