Get Large Voice Recordings Off Your iPhone

The new Voice Memos app on the iPhone 3.0 software is pretty cool. It makes great sounding recordings, and it’s easy as pie to use. The only glitch I’ve run into is that you can’t get the recordings off if they are over 2 minutes. Now what?

There are two three methods. One is easy, one is for the geeks, and the third is an in between one.

Method 1: iTunes [easy]

When you plug your iPhone into iTunes, go to the Music tab and make sure that there is a check mark next to “Include voice memos”. This will automatically sync your voice memos into their own playlist in iTunes where you can then do whatever you’d like with them. Here’s a screenshot of where to look in iTunes.

Method 2: SSH for Jailbroken iPhones [geeky]

If you have your iPhone jailbroken, you can SSH into it and pull the recordings off manually. They’ll play just fine in iTunes or QuickTime and then you can convert them to another format if you want.

In your SFTP program (I use Cyberduck, it’s free), go to this path to find the recordings:

Method 3: iExplorer [in between]

I’ve had a lot of questions about this, so I’m adding it to the post. If the previous methods didn’t work, this one is also pretty easy, although it requires installing iExplorer. It’s third-party software for Mac and PC and your phone doesn’t need to be jailbroken. Here’s a step-by-step for using iExplorer:

  1. Download and install iExplorer.
    • Version 2 is free, but version 3 has a demo mode that will allow you to transfer the memo for free. You can find both versions on the downloads page.
  2. Connect your iPhone via USB cable to your computer and open iExplorer.
  3. Click the arrow next to your iPhone’s name, and then navigate to:
  4. Locate the voice memo you’d like to download. They will be named with the date they were created, such as:
    20110210 114619.m4a
  5. Once you see it, you can drag it to your Desktop or any other folder on your computer

If this has helped you, I would greatly appreciate a dollar or two, but no pressure. Either way, thanks for reading!

Join the Conversation


  1. what do yhu mean about check mark because when i went to music all i saw was the music i had on my ipod thats all

    1. Just connect your iPhone, go to iTunes, click on your DEVICE, then click APPS on the top mernu bar.
      Scroll down the main page (not the APPS box) and you’ll come to FILE SHARING.
      Click on RECORDER and you’ll see all your recorded memos, with and option SAVE TO…

      1. @Joe, I’m not able to see my recordings in the file sharing section of iTunes. Not sure why, but that does seem like a perfect place to put them. Any ideas why they aren’t showing up for me? Other apps are showing up there, but nothing from the voice recording app.

      2. on doing the above all I find in file sharing are the brother printer icon – nothing about voicememos
        can you help wiht finding a way of getting thme off this old iphone 3gs

        1. @Jen, It sounds like you might be looking in your system preferences for File Sharing. That’s not where you’ll find voice memos. If you’re using the latest version of iTunes..

          1. Plug in your phone to your computer
          2. Click the button in the top-right that says “iPhone”
          3. Click the top tab that says “On This iPhone”
          4. Click the “Voice Memos” in the left column

          Let me know if that works for you. πŸ™‚

  2. Worked like a charm. Now, how do I move it out of iTunes? I can’t seem to copy it or email it.

    1. @Roger, Usually iTunes will let you grab the track, and drag it right onto your desktop. If not, then you can always right-click and choose “Show in Finder” or “Show in Windows Explorer.” Just remember that if you move the file that it shows you, it’ll get lost from iTunes. You’re better off copying that file to wherever you want to use it.

  3. Hi Casey,
    I have the iphone 4 and I cannot believe how difficult it is to get large voice memos off the phone! I have followed your method 1 but I have the same problem as Roger – how do I get them from my phone onto my computer? If I right click on the file/s I want to move I don’t get β€œShow in Finder” or β€œShow in Windows Explorer.” I get ‘show in playlist.’ Isn’t there a way to export them as mp3 or mp4?

  4. @Jess, if you followed method 1, then the memos are already on your computer. I’m not sure why you’re not seeing the options “Show in Finder” when you right-click on the memo. Try dragging that file from iTunes onto your Desktop and that might get the file for you, although, it’ll be in AAC format, not MP3.

      1. @TORI, You can’t change the file type on the phone, you’ll have to do that in iTunes after you get the files off your phone. Once you do get them into iTunes, you can follow these instructions.

  5. I have a couple memos that are a little over 30 minutes long… but now matter how many times I try, I cannot get one on that is 56 minutes long. Is this just too long to copy over?

  6. I have done all of that. It only exports the two smallest files in my Memo folder. i have about 15 voice Memos all but two over 2 mins. and only those 2 import into my itunes. can someone please tell me what i am doing wrong.

  7. @Ethan & @Joe, I don’t have any memos that long, so I can’t tell you why it’s not working. I’ll test it out myself and report back to you what happens.

    Keep in mind that if you are jailbroken you can pull them directly off the iPhone pretty easily.

  8. iphone4 method 1 combined with the drag and drop to my desktop worked like a charm. thank god for people like you : )

  9. Hi Casey!
    I downloaded cyberduck but now I’m lost not too sure what to do with it, any help would be appreciated to get a voicememo off my phone 3GS πŸ™‚

    I tried to go to file-open connection-typed in the location you described above /private… and the default button is highlighted ‘mirror.switch…’ so i’m pretty sure i don’t have a clue what i’m doing, if you can help walk me through it, that would be awesome! Thanks so much for your help, I appreciate ya!

    1. @Julia, Have you tried the first method I described using iTunes? If that doesn’t work then we can start troubleshooting Cyberduck. Let me know!

        1. @Julia, if you really wanna get in and browse the file system of your phone via your USB connection, you can also use iPhone Explorer. However, it won’t let you access all of your phone’s file system unless it’s jailbroken. It’s way easier than the Cyberduck route. Let me know if you have any more questions.

          1. This method worked best for me, I had a 2.5Hour recording, and I couldn’t get it off any other way. Thanks so much ^_^

  10. Hi Casey
    Can you tell me how to get large voice memos off my unlocked and jailbroken 3Gs without using iTunes? Can I do it with iphone explorer? Can I save my contacts, too, with iphone explorer? Thanks.

    1. @Lorna, Yes, you can use iPhone Explorer to get your voice memos off. Just navigate to /private/var/mobile/Media/Recordings and you’ll be able to save them. I haven’t had any experience with saving contacts with iPhone Explorer, but that’s because I sync my contacts with Google so they are always backed up. Perhaps consider using Gmail and Google Sync. I’ve been very pleased with it. If not, then you have the option to sync your contacts with Yahoo! address book. Hope that helps!

  11. Hi, I have. Voice memo on my phone but I can only listen to 30 seconds of it. When I try to take it off using method one, it still only let’s me listen to 30 seconds still but yet it’s showing it’s 15 minutes long (as it should be)

    1. @Lisa, I’m not sure why that would be happening, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with how you’re getting the memo off your phone since it doesn’t work when it’s still on your phone. Off the top of my head, I would guess that maybe the mic got covered after 30 seconds so it just recorded silence for the remaining 15 minutes. Do you remember doing anything with your phone while you were making the recording? Plugging in headphones, opening a different app, locking, putting it in your pocket, etc.?

  12. It’s super easy. I don’t know why people have trouble. Use his method 1 above, then go to iTunes playlist labeled “Voice Memos”. Find your long memo there – I had one an hour and ten minutes that was a consult with a neurosurgeon – and just right click on it. The list that pops up has “copy” as one of the choices. Select copy and then go to whereever on you computer you want to put it. I made a directory called Voice Memos. Again, right click on an empty area and select paste; voila, it’s there. It’ll be in MP4 format. Then you can have your way with it, rename it, convert it to another format, edit it, whatever. – BLJ

  13. i don’t want to replace my whole music library just to pull one voice memo out… is there a solution to this?

    1. @Thomas, You shouldn’t have to replace your whole library to get voice memos off unless you are trying to use a different PC than the one you originally synced your phone and music with. If you no longer have access to that PC, then I recommend a jailbreak and extraction via method #2. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

  14. Hey Casey, I recorded a 30minure interview. It won’t play on the iphone (3), it’s too long to send via mms or mail, and when I tick the ‘include voice memos’ box in the sync it syncs a 1minute recording but not the long one…any ideas? I have no experience at all with the jailbreak stuff- do you think it would work in this case? Cheers man

    1. @Joel, Hmm, that sounds like the recording may have been corrupted. If I’m understanding you correctly, you can see the memo listed on your iPhone, but when you try to play it, it does nothing. If that’s the case, see if you can trim the memo a little bit and try to play it. Maybe trimming a little off the beginning or end will make it re-save the file correctly. If that doesn’t work, you might want to start learning how to jailbreak so that you can pull the file off manually, then use other desktop software to resurrect the file. Let me know how it goes.


  15. I checked the box but cannot find the recording on any playlist. Was the sync supposed to create anew playlist for the Voice Messages? or is that something I need to create myself? if you can give me some additional detailed steps to try and find the voice recording I would really appreciate the help for a low techie like myself.

    1. @Scott, Yes, the sync should have created a playlist automatically called “Voice Memos.” There aren’t any other steps for me to run through, so I’m not sure why it’s not working. If I could make a guess, maybe your iTunes window is rather small right now, so not all the playlists on the left side are showing. “Voice Memos” would be on the bottom, most likely, so maybe it’s obscured by the height of your window. See if you can make the window bigger, or scroll down to the bottom of all your playlists. If that’s not it, then try running the sync again. If that doesn’t work, I don’t know what else to tell you. :-/ Good luck!

  16. Hi Casey, I have an iPhone 4. I was able to transfer 6 significantly long lecture memos (45 min +) from my iPhone to iTunes and since then I have continued to record lectures. However, for some reason I can’t find the new lectures in my iTunes Voice Memos. What’s the problem here? I feel like it should be working but I can’t find them through Finder or in iTunes.

    1. @Josh, I know it sounds stupid, but let’s start with the most obvious question: are you re-syncing your phone with iTunes to get the new memos in there? Ok, that’s outta the way, now let’s see if we can figure this out. Is it possible that the check mark next to “Include voice memos” got unchecked accidentally? Is it possible that the name of the playlist “Voice Memos” got changed and now a new playlist was added? Have you tried searching your iTunes music library (not the playlist) for the memos in case they aren’t getting added to the playlist for some reason? Those are about the only reasons I can think of at the moment. Let me know how it goes.

  17. Hi Casey,

    I have an unjailbroken Iphone 3GS and I’ve tried method one . . .and tried, and tried. The only memo that appears in my iTunes library is one that was emailed to me — not any of the ones that I’ve created myself. There’s no “memo” playlist in my iTunes library. I’ve tried messaging the memo i need to myself, but I can’t email it to myself to replicate the system that seems to have worked for the one I can find in my library because it’s too big — otherwise I wouldn’t even have this problem.

    I’m an art student and need this recording soon for a performance! Please help.

    1. Hi Marina,
      I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble getting your voice memo off of your iPhone. Have you double-checked to make sure you have the box checked in iTunes that says “Include voice memos”? The other thing to consider is if you’ve already synced the voice memos with iTunes and then deleted them, it won’t transfer them again.

      The other method you can try is using iPhone Explorer to get to them. It’s free software for Mac and PC and your phone doesn’t need to be jailbroken. Here’s a step-by-step for using iPhone Explorer:

      1. Download and install iPhone Explorer.
      2. Connect your iPhone via USB cable to your comptuer and open iPhone Explorer.
      3. Click the arrow next to your iPhone’s name, and then navigate to:Media/Recordings/
      4. Locate the voice memo you’d like to download. They will be named with the date they were created, such as 20110210 114619.m4a
      5. Once you see it, you can drag it to your Desktop or any other folder on your computer

      Hope that helps!

      1. Casey,
        I want to thank you for being the only one on the planet that is obviously taking the time to help people with this issue. The only thing that worked for my iPhone 4 is the iExplore. This was fast, easy, and I was able to quickly retrieve an important client meeting memo from my iPhone.

        You’re truly the best and I’m glad to have found your site.

        1. @Mark, Thanks for the kind words. I’m happy to help and glad it’s been helpful for you and others. πŸ™‚

  18. Hi. I would love some help on this. I haven’t had any trouble getting the voice memo’s onto my laptop. The problem I have now is that the files were accidentally dragged and dropped into a dropbox folder. So now they are listed in the iTunes folder on my computer just as a file, not a .m4a. The original recordings are still on my iPhone 4, but when I sync the phone it will only copy new recordings into the Voice Memos playlist. I can’t work out how to get the 3 files that got moved by accident from the phone to iTunes again. I’ve tried syncing it a few times. By the way I cant seem to get the files back from the dropbox folder either.

    1. @Yolande, I’m not sure what’s going on with your Dropbox folder. It should behave just like any other folder on your system and allow you to move files out of it. When you say that they are listed as “just a file,” do you mean they don’t have the extension .m4a on the end? If that’s the case, then just add it, click the dialog box that asks if you’re sure you want to make the change, and then they should work again. If that doesn’t work, try the newly added method 3 above using iPhone Explorer to get the original recordings off your iPhone again. Let me know if it works out! πŸ™‚

  19. Thanks Casey. You’re a star! I still don’t know what is going on with Dropbox, but both changing the extension (silly me!) and also using iExplorer have worked perfectly. I really appreciate your help.

  20. hi,
    i can’t drag the files out of iexplorer and i don’t get a voice memos playlist through itunes. i have an iphone 4s and i have windows 7 if it helps πŸ™‚ thank you πŸ˜€

  21. I have a concert I recorded in voice memo last night. It’s 67min long and itunes only shows the small 37 second recording. I don’t want to jailbreak my phone again. But I cant get iExplorer to open so I guess it’s my only option.

    1. @Dave, I can try to help you if you post the steps you’ve taken and where you run into snags. Try to start from the beginning again with iTunes. Plug in your iPhone, check the box to transfer the voice memos, and then sync. Post the results here so I can help you troubleshoot it.

      Also, when you say iExplorer won’t open, do you mean the program fails to start, or that it won’t recognize your iPhone, or that it can’t save the recordings, or something else? The more details you give, the faster and easier it is to get help. πŸ™‚

      1. I got it to open & I moved to my desktop from iExplorer. But it’s an m4a file and I’ve downloaded 4 dif conversion progs and they all say error when I try to convert it to mp3. Says it could be copy protected? All I want to do is to be able to burn the concert to a cd.

        1. @Dave, Excellent! Glad you were able to get it on your Desktop. The .m4a file will go directly into an iTunes playlist, and then you can burn a CD directly from there without needing to convert it to .mp3. If you’re interested in reading more about the .m4a extension, check out Wikipedia’s write-up.

          1. It doesn’t go into itunes tho. I can only drag and drop it into the voice memo playlist and everytime i do that. It’s not there. Even when I right click and open with itunes, it’s still not there.

          2. @Dave, Hmm… That’s happened to me before where iTunes doesn’t want to add the file, but it’s been because it’s protected. Your voice memos aren’t protected, so it shouldn’t be doing that. Another time it wouldn’t let me add because I changed the extension to .aac and it wasn’t an AAC file.

            First, try changing the extension to .mp4 and then add it to a playlist in iTunes. If that works, you should be able to burn a CD with it in that format since the .m4a format is just a specific identifier of the .mp4 container anyway.

            If that doesn’t work, then use to convert the .m4a into an .mp3 and then see if iTunes will allow you to add it then.

            I’m curious to see what happens, so please post your results!

  22. Still nothing. When I try to convert it at that site it says

    Sorry, 20120105 225858.m4a could not be converted.

    Unfortunately, doesn’t support the format of 20120105 225858.m4a.

    So, I deleted the original and moved it from the phone to my desktop again and a pop up said it may be corrupt. It did not say this the first time around. Also, the file shows on my phone 67:38 but it will not play back on my phone. The smaller 2:00 memo plays from the phone and itunes. This has me completely frustrated. I’m not new to auido or video files and have never had any issues with either until I got an iphone and trying to get those files from my phone to my pc.

    I certainly appreciate you taking the time to help.

    1. @Dave, Oh no! Well, I didn’t want to say it before because it’s usually a cop-out, but it sounds like the file is corrupted.

      I’ve heard some people having success with corrupted files by opening it with Audacity or Songbird (both free). If you can open it with Audacity to see the waveform, you can export at least part of it to an .mp3 that works. If neither of those can open it, then you might just be out of luck. πŸ™

      1. Well I got the file to at least show up in Songbird, but it doesn’t show any info on it and again says may be corrupt. Looks like I’m just s.o.l.

        Anyway, thanks for all your help and your time.

    1. @Sean, I haven’t tested it myself with the iPod Touch, but there’s no reason why method 1 shouldn’t work. It’s the same iOS. Give it a shot and let us know if it works.

  23. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!
    My iphone is jailbrocken, but I couldn’t get SSH off of Cydia. Luckily, iexplorer worked in the end. The 2 hour interview for my bachelor paper is now saved!
    Thanks again!

  24. Tried Method 3 (iExplorer) and it worked smoothly, although I had to install Quicktime just for iExplorer to run.

    Thanks for this tutorial.

  25. I can’t figure out how to use iExplorer. You said to click on /Media/Recordings, but I can’t find that. Help please?

    1. @Alex, That’s the path to your recordings. If you have a jailbroken phone, then follow this path to find your recordings:

  26. Hi there,

    I have tried to copy my voice memos from my Iphone, I have found the files in iExplorer, I can even transfer them to my Mac, but my every recording is zero Kb!??

    How? My recording lost? How can I fix them? How can I get them?
    It is important to me. Help me please.

    1. @Rob, Do the recordings show 0KB before you transfer them? If so, then it’s safe to say they are lost. If they show a larger file size in iExplorer, then there must be something going wrong during the transfer to your computer. Sometimes the drag-n-drop method doesn’t work for me with iExplorer. You might want to try right-clicking and select “Export to Folder…” and then choose a location to save them on your computer.

      Let me know if that works for you.

  27. I used method #3.
    It transfered the smaller voice memos and apeared to transfer the larger ones too. I checked in my Itunes “recently added” and thought they were all there. Turns out the large files did not transfer.
    now, they are still on my iphone, even thought I deleted them in iexplorer.
    Now, I am stuck, still want to download them onto my computer, and still want to delete them from my iphone. guide me please if you can, because they no longer show in iexplorer.

    1. @Jane, First, make sure they are in fact still on your iPhone by playing them on your phone. If they play, then they are still on your iPhone. You can transfer them using method #1, iTunes. If they don’t play, then you did delete them with iExplorer and the iPhone doesn’t know it yet.

      When you transferred them the first time with iExplorer, where did you save them to? And how did you add them to iTunes after that? They might still be in the same location where you saved them originally. You could also try searching iTunes for the file name in case they somehow didn’t get added to your “recently added” playlist.

      Let me know how it turns out.

  28. this app worked great for me, yeea!! I sucessfully opened a voice memo over 7m and 7s long. thanks

  29. Hey Casey, just want to thank you for this awesome guide. Nearly gave up when method 1 didnt work with the Voice Memo playlist refusing to appear. Then I moved to Method 3 and it was all good. Appreciate this very much. πŸ™‚

  30. Thanks. This worked perfectly. I really hate iTunes so this saved me a lot of headaches getting a teleconference from my phone to my computer so that I could post it on the company intranet for all the employees that couldn’t attend.

  31. WOW thank you! this saved me! I had a presscon and used voice memo to record, but when it was time to do my article, the recording does not play on my phone nor can i transfer it because it was more than 8 minutes long… but yeah i guess what i’m saying is this really helped me thank you! πŸ™‚

  32. Thank you! Was getting really frustrated why my 58 mins of recorded meeting wouldn’t show up. Downloaded iExplorer and BINGO! There’s the memo file, somehow as a .mov. Pulled it onto my desktop – Plays brilliantly!

  33. Hi,
    What do you mean when you say: “Click the arrow next to your iPhone’s name”
    The iPhone name inside the long list of details describing my iPhone”? There is no arrow there… or what?
    I need to move my long voice memos to another person for translating. I already have them on my computer as iTunes files… but I cant move them without taking them out of that prison called iTunes… so I thought your way will help – but failed.
    Thanks karni

    1. Hi Karni, The iPhone Explorer (iExplorer) window lists your iPhone on the left side. There is a small arrow icon next to the name of your iPhone which can be clicked to expand the contents and file structure of your iPhone. If you’re using Windows, it may be a + icon instead of an arrow icon. Either way, it functions the same way.

      With that said, I think for what you’re trying to do, it would be easier to copy the file out of iTunes. If you can find it in the iTunes list, simply drag the file to your desktop and it should create a copy for you to give to the other person for translating. If dragging and dropping doesn’t work, then try right-clicking on the memo and selecting the option “Show in Finder” (Mac) or “Show in Windows Explorer” (Windows). That will locate the file on your hard drive and then you can make a copy of it from there.

      Let me know if you need more help.

  34. Ok, my friend has an iphone 4 and recorded a voice memo of a comedian. I also have an iphone 4. I pulled off the m4a audio file from his phone using iexplorer, and now I want to put that voice memo into my phone. I pulled it into the directory mobile/Media/Recordings and it copied fine, BUT when I open up voice recorder on my iphone, I can’t seem to find the file there. Why isn’t it showing? Would love to get this figured out and don’t want to use itunes…

    1. @Jason, The short answer is that I don’t know how to get voice memos back into the Voice Recordings app without using iTunes. Whatever your reason for not wanting to use iTunes, I respect that. I haven’t seen any documentation on the topic, but I remember on my original iPhone 2G adding custom ringtones and having to also edit an index file to get the ringtones to show up in the Settings app. I’m sure it’s the same sort of structure and process for voice memos, but now that iTunes does it for me, I wouldn’t bother with manually editing the file.

      If you have some other software that you like to use for syncing your music, you may want to consider adding the voice memo into your Music app on your iPhone. Adding it back to the Voice Recordings app won’t really add any functionality since you can’t append more audio to the file on the iPhone, and the Music app is made for playing audio files. I would suggest adding it there so that you can play it just like any other song.

      Other than that, you’re stuck playing it from your computer, and then letting your iPhone record it in real-time with a slight degradation in quality.

      …Or you could just use iTunes and be done with it in about 1 minute. Just sayin’. πŸ™‚

  35. Cool, Thanks for the quick reply. I never thought of playing it through my speakers and creating a new voice memo that way, duh! Hah, thanks, I’ll try that or the music way you mentioned.

  36. I too am unable to playback some voice memos. It looks like most people have had success opening their voice recording with iExplorer but when I get to the recordings only .m4a files show up no .mov. Has anyone found a solution, I am just about ready to give up.

    1. @Robert, The .m4a files are your voice memos. Those are the files you want. Both .m4a and .mov are containers which hold different codecs inside of them. Apple uses the AAC codec inside of the .m4a container. Hope that helps!

  37. Thank you so much! I used the third method (iExplorer) and it worked perfectly. This was a huge help πŸ™‚ Thank you again for posting!

  38. I am using iExplorer and whenever i drag and drop anything to my desktop (PC, Win 7) i just get a tempfile……i never actually get the voice memo. I noticed i did the same with a picture, got the same result, but the jpeg was actually buried in temp folder.

    Ran into this only getting a tempfile problem before??

    1. @Dan, I have a Mac and I can’t seem to get my Windows 7 virtual machine to recognize my iPhone so I can’t test this for you. However, I think I had a similar issue on my Mac once and instead of using drag-n-drop, I right-clicked and used the “Export to Folder…” option to save it to my Desktop. Let me know if that works for you.

  39. Method Number 1 just works sometimes. It used to work fine with me till one day, for no particular reason, every time I check the “include voice memos” chekbox nothing happens. Its like as the pc wont recognize that there are voice memos stored on the Iphone.

    1. @Caio, I haven’t heard of that happening before. iTunes keeps my voice memos synced just fine. It even pulled them from my 3G and put them on my iPhone 4 when I synced it for the first time. Just taking a wild guess, but maybe restoring you iPhone would solve that issue? I know it’s a pain, but might be worth it if you record a lot of memos.

      Worst case scenario, you have the iExplorer method to use. πŸ™‚

      1. It’s a very weird thing. Now I can’t sync memos that goes over 60 minutes (even “weirder” id that I can’t even play those large memos on the iphone, nothing happens when I hit the play button). This doesen’t makes sense to me cause I have some old memos tha goes over 1 hour stored on my pc.

        1. Ok. I think I’ve just found out whats happening here. It seems that there is a bug that occurs with large memos if you quit the app right away after stop the recording without leaving some time to the phone to process it.

          For mode details about this, there is a great link that leads to a discussion about it:

          Maybe this can help someone with the same problem

          1. @Caio, That’s a great post. Thanks for coming back to report your experience and let others know about the quitting issue.

  40. THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! I downloaded iExplorer and it’s my new best friend!!!! iTunes couldn’t even see the voice memo’s on my phone, so I followed your instructions and it worked like a charm!!! I am so happy!!!!
    Thank You again!!!! πŸ™‚

  41. hey casey, my friend recorded a 3 hour lecture on her iphone and tried emailing it to me through itunes but it didn’t work. if i downloaded iexplorer and connected her iphone to my laptop, would her phone have to sync to my itunes or can i just drag her voice memo onto my laptop with no syncing involved?

    1. oh. and my other friend also recorded a lecture that she also couldn’t send to me so if i first connected one iphone to my laptop and dragged her file onto my computer and then plugged the other iphone to my laptop, would i be able to get both lectures or will the iexplorer be only able to recognize one device?

      1. Hi Jen, iExplorer will recognize both iPhones. It doesn’t require you to “lock” yourself into one or the other like iTunes does. Hope that answers your question!

    2. Hi Jen, No, iTunes won’t have to sync with your friend’s iPhone to get the lectures off using iExplorer. Depending on your settings, when you plug in the iPhone, iTunes might open and ask, but you can cancel out of that, and quit iTunes and then just launch iExplorer. Hope that helps!

  42. Hi,

    I am also trying to get a large voice memo off my iPhone. I tried to Sync the way you have described but it says:
    ‘Are you sure you want to sync music? All exisiting songs and playlists on the iPhone will be replaced with songs and playlists from your iTunes library.’
    .. but I’m trying to get stuff OFF my iPhone, not ONTO it…

    Any ideas??

    Thanks very much.

    1. @Lizzy, Make sure you are syncing your iPhone with the original iTunes you setup. If you’re getting a message asking if you want to sync music and playlists, then that is a hint that you’re using a new iTunes library. When you sync with a new library for the first time, you will need to replace all the contents on your iPhone. If you have music that you purchased on your iPhone, you can transfer those purchases to your iTunes before you sync so that you won’t lose them.

      Hope that gets you going down the right path, but if not, let me know your progress and I’ll try to help as best I can. πŸ™‚

      1. Hi Casey, thanks for that. Someone else said that – unfortunately I think it is my original iTunes, as I have had the same laptop for longer than I’ve had the iPhone. The music that I purchased on my iPhone is already on my iTunes as I believe I synced that ages ago. The only new thing (apart from photos) that I want to tfr is the new Voice Memo – do you know how I can do this without replacing all the contents on my iPhone?

        (so how would you, just out of interest, tfr the purchases from iPhone to iTunes without syncing!??)

        Thanks again..

        1. @Lizzy, Hmm… Something must have changed. Did you ever sync your voice memos before? If so, then it may already have a voice memo playlist that it’s talking about replacing. Not too sure without seeing it myself, but if you already have all your music from your iPhone in iTunes, then you shouldn’t worry about losing anything.

          You can transfer purchases from the iPhone to iTunes by plugging in (or using WiFi sync) and right-clicking your iPhone in the left column of iTunes and selecting “Transfer Purchases from iPhone”. That’ll pull all your music and apps over to iTunes. If you get some warnings that your computer is not authorized for that content, then that’s a sign that your iPhone is synced with a different library.

          The other thing you might check is what Apple ID you’re using on both the iPhone and iTunes. I’m not positive, but I think if different IDs are used, iTunes thinks it’s a different phone. You can see your Apple ID on your iPhone by going to Settings > Store and then scroll to the bottom. In iTunes you can see the Apple ID by clicking the “iTunes Store” in the left column and then look in the upper-right corner under the search box to see which ID is logged in. Here is some more info about Apple IDs that might help.

          Good luck, and let me know if you have any more questions!

          1. OK, thanks for that. Yeah, I’m not worried about losing the songs on my iPhone as, like you say, they are already on my laptop. However, I really don’t want the sync to overwrite the voice-memo (which is not on iTunes but is on the iPhone) – will it override this?

            No, I don’t think I’ve ever synced voice-memos before.

            Cheers 

  43. Thank u so much!!!! I-Explorer is great! It is so easy to retrive my voice memo now! Gosh…itune caused me to had migraines after I changed my laptop.

  44. THANK YOU for step 3. You just made my life so much better. I had 2-3 hour voice memos that I wanted to get off my phone and step 1 with iTunes just would not work! Thank you thank you thank you.

  45. Hi There,
    Can you help PLEASE???? I recoreded a voice memo yesterday on my 3GS with the latest software update. 26 minutes in my phone rang, i declined the call then started a new recording for the remainder of the meeting. This second recording is 42 minutes long but has no sound. I tried using iexplorer, it’s there but no sound. Anything I can do? Thanks in advance

    1. @Wendy, Sorry to hear about the sound not working. The only thing I can think of is opening the file in an audio editing app like Garageband or Audacity and seeing if there are waveforms in the file. If it’s a flat line, then I’m afraid no audio was recorded and there wouldn’t be a way to fix it. Sorry for the unfortunate news. πŸ™

  46. I tried the iExplorer route. Looks like it would work pretty slick. Because I am here at work and don’t want to sync my personal iphone on my work computer. Unfortunately iExplorer is no longer free software. When I went to transfer my one voice memo off my phone they want a registration code. I thought ok.. if it isn’t too expensive I would consider it.. But $35 for one file.. is a little steep. This is probably the only time I would actively use this software. Did I not find the correct free software that you mentioned above? Thanks.

  47. Great post! iTunes wasn’t showing the “Recordings” playlist, no matter what I did… so I downloaded iExplorer and it worked smoothly… thanks!

  48. Thank you so much! Option 3 worked for me. I tried for hours to get some long recordings off my iphone with itunes (using advice on other forums) and I couldn’t get it to work. Iexplorer is a great little piece of software.

  49. Is there a way to change the quality of the iPhone recordings? Its just about the worst quality encoding I’ve ever heard – in fact, I think conversations may actually have a lower noise-floor.

    1. @James, I’m not aware of a way to change the quality, but in my experience it has been excellent quality. My brother frequently records himself playing acoustic guitar by just setting his iPhone on his leg as he plays. It sounds like I’m right there in the room with him. I haven’t heard any distortion, and the tones are crystal clear. I’ve personally made recordings of a small acoustic band (guitar, flute, djembe) in a small room with the iPhone on the floor in the middle of all three musicians. The recording quality was very good and I was able to use it as background music in a video I made.

      For conversations, I have had good experience considering the setup. The iPhone was placed on a table next to me about arm’s length away, and I was speaking to someone on the other side of the room about 4 paces away. My voice was a lot louder in the recording, but her voice was still very clear, just quieter. There was no white noise or distortion at all.

      Granted, all of these recordings were taken in rooms where there was no other noise being generated, so I can’t speak to any issues of the quality if I were to record a conversation at a busy restaurant or classroom.

  50. I have 2 different voice mail apps on my iphone 4s. I have tried everything but Quick Voice will not download the voicemails but Voice memos did. Is there anything that will work?

    1. @Debbie, I don’t have the Quick Voice app, so I can’t be certain about how to get memos off of it. However, I found the following in the description of the app:

      * To obtain the free sync utility that copies recordings to your computer and-or iTunes library simply send an email to Shortly thereafter you will receive an email with utility download links and syncing instructions.

      Good luck!

  51. I am really confused. I recorded a 35 minute interview last night and when I open up voice memo is says 0 seconds. Is there any way to retrieve this file? Apple forums have been of little help.

    1. @Bethany, I’m afraid I won’t be able to help you much, either. Did you listen to the interview immediately after you got done recording it? Are you positive that it was working before? If not, then it may not have recorded at all. If you’re sure it recorded, then you might be able to use method 3 above (iExplorer) to look in the file system of your iPhone for the recording. Let me know how it turns out.

  52. Hi, I don’t know if there is anyone out there who can help me, but I have to try. I am in possession of my deceased father’s iphone 4. I used to enjoy listening to his voice (via his recorded name) whenever I entered his voicemail. Sadly, his recorded voice was deleted/recorded over .. is there anyone out there able to help me get it back?

    I would be forever grateful.

    1. @c.c., I’m sorry to hear his voice was deleted. Unfortunately, I believe the voicemail greeting is stored on the server, not the phone, so I doubt there is a way to retrieve it. πŸ™

  53. iExplorer worked for my iPhone 4! it transferred 9 precious voice memos (over 60 minutes each) from my review class! thanks dude!

  54. I tried the trendy transfer program FonePaw iOS Transfer and iTunes, iExplorer. They are good. What impressed me was the first one, that allowed me to get voice memos off iPhone quickly and safely.

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