How to record, edit, and keep your Voice Memos in sync across iOS and macOS

Recording Voice Memos and having them synchronize across all devices through iCloud has become extremely easy with iOS 14. There's a new way to enhance recordings.

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Over the past few years, Apple has greatly improved the Voice Memos application to allow for multi-device syncing through iCloud, improved audio recording, and bringing the app to all the Apple platforms that contain microphones (including the Apple Watch).

SEE: iPhone 12 event: What Apple announced at its 2020 Hi Speed event (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In this article, we'll take a look at how to use the Voice Memos app, how to edit recordings, and how to sync them across your devices. We'll also offer up some alternatives for those who need more out of their voice recordings.

How to record in the Voice Memos app

To begin a new voice recording in the Voice Memos app, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Voice Memos app
  2. Tap the red record button (Figure A)

Figure A

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You can pause a recording easily, then resume recording by tapping the red Pause/Resume button in the recording UI.

Once you tap on the red record button, Voice Memos will begin recording using the default microphone in the device or an external microphone if connected over USB-C or Lightning. If you have AirPods connected to your device, then it will use the microphone on the AirPods (or other Bluetooth or Lightning headset).

SEE: 5 iOS tips to boost productivity (TechRepublic)

In the recording UI, you can pause and resume the recording by tapping on the Pause/Resume button. 

How to edit a recording and title in Voice Memos

How to use Enhanced Voice and crop your audio in Voice Memos

Enhanced voice recording is a new feature to iOS 14, and it is enabled by tapping on the wand icon in the recording screen. Toggling this on will remove reverberation, echo, and other background noise from your recordings in real time.

SEE: How to use the limited photos picker in iOS 14 for added privacy (TechRepublic)

You can also apply this enhanced voice recording feature to existing recordings by:

  1. Tapping the ellipsis icon on an existing recording
  2. Tapping "Edit Recording"
  3. Tapping the wand icon
  4. Tapping Done

While in the Edit Recording mode, you can also crop the recording by tapping on the crop button on the right of the UI above the audio recording visualizer. Tapping this will open the audio trimmer, which lets you chop the beginning or end off of the audio recording to get just the part of the recording you want (Figure B).

Figure B

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Trimming audio in the Voice Memos app is very similar to trimming video in the Photos app. You can specify exactly when the clip begins and ends.

How to edit a recording title in Voice Memos

While you are in this Edit Recording view, you can also edit the title. By default, the Voice Memos uses the location of your recording as a title, which is great when you're out and about and want to remember where you were when the recording took place, but less useful when you always record from the same location.

SEE: How to change the iOS 14 UI for Siri, FaceTime, and incoming calls (TechRepublic)

Fortunately, you can edit a recording's title while recording by tapping on the location name title that's automatically populated at the top of the recording or editing screen.

How to sync your recordings in Voice Memos

If you are a subscriber to iCloud, then you automatically get an allotment of storage. You can use this storage to store not only files in iCloud Drive and Photos, but also your Voice Memos.

To ensure this feature is enabled, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap "Apple ID, iCloud, Media & Purchases" in the top section
  3. Tap iCloud
  4. Enable the option for Voice Memos

With this enabled on all of your devices, the Voice Memos app will begin to sync to recordings to all of your devices so that you're never without your recordings. You can access these recordings on iOS, iPadOS, macOS. On watchOS, you can record a voice memo and have it sync to your devices, but not listen back to previously recorded memos.

Alternative apps to Voice Memos

There are some alternatives to the Voice Memos app if you're looking for extra functionality.

Notability $8.99
If you're looking for a note-taking app that combines voice recordings and typed or written notes, then Notability is the solution for you. It's available on macOS, iOS, and iPadOS and offers syncing between devices. You can record and type (or write notes) at the same time, making it an ideal solution for many looking for a full note-taking solution.

Garageband free
Apple's first party music creation app is a must have if you're a musician, but it can also be used to capture, edit, and share audio recordings. You get a full-fledged timeline editor and the ability to add fades and other effects readily on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. These power-user features make it easy to share a polished and professional recording.

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By Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...