As you may know, there’s no built-in way to record phone calls using your iPhone. As a result of country and state-specific laws, Apple doesn’t make it particularly easy to record a phone call.
However, it’s not impossible. You can record iPhone phone calls using some workarounds.
If you’re going to use any of these methods, make sure you notify the person on the other end of the call that they’re being recorded. Provided they know and consent, there’s little chance of landing yourself in hot water.
Use Speaker Mode and Record Using Another Device
This is probably the quickest, easiest, and “dirtiest” way of recording a phone call from your iPhone. You’ll need another device with a microphone that can record (like an iPad, computer, or portable recording device) to make it work. Check out our microphone recommendations if you don’t have anything else for this.
Provided you’re in a quiet environment and can use your iPhone’s speakerphone, it couldn’t be simpler to pull off:
- Call your contact and tap on the Speaker icon. If you have Bluetooth headphones connected, you’ll need to select the iPhone speaker from the list.
- Notify the other party that you’ll be recording the conversation. On your external recorder, start recording.
- Place the phone close enough to the microphone so that when you speak, it picks up your voice clearly too.
- Save the recording when your phone call is finished.
On an iOS device, you can record the call using Apple’s Voice Memos app. On a Mac or PC, we’d recommend free audio editing and recording workhorse Audacity.
Record Incoming iPhone Calls Using Google Voice
Google Voice is a free voicemail and calling service available in the US and Canada. It provides you with a free US phone number, voicemail inbox, and the ability to make calls both domestically (free) and internationally (as per Google’s rates).
Use of Google Voice requires the Google Voice app, which is available for the web, plus Android and iOS devices. One perk of the app is its ability to allow you to record phone calls. Before you can do this, you’ll need to take some time setting up the service:
- Download the Google Voice app for iPhone, open it, and sign in using your Google account.
- Tap Search and select the phone number you want to associate with your Google Voice account.
- Confirm your number, then hit Next until you’re asked to enter your phone number.
- Enter your iPhone’s phone number, confirm, then wait for a verification code.
- Verify your new Google Voice account using the code you just received.
There’s one final step you need to complete before you can record calls. Log into the Google Voice website using your Google account. Now click on the three-dot icon on the left-hand side of the page, and select Settings. Under Calls, enable Incoming call options.
Now when you receive a phone call via your Google Voice account, you’ll be able to press the 4 key on your iPhone to start recording the conversation. When you do this, Google will notify the other party that they are being recorded. You’ll find your recording in your Google Voice inbox, where you can download it for safekeeping.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to record an outgoing phone call using Google Voice.
Use a Third-Party Service to Record Messages
There are all manner of third party iPhone call recorders available. These services are not free, and either charge a flat rate for unlimited use or a per-minute rate using credit. These generally all work using the same method:
- First download and launch your chosen call recorder app on your iPhone.
- Start calling a contact or other number you wish to record.
- The app will place your call using the provider’s servers, which also records the conversation.
- You can then download the recording from the server once the call has completed.
There are a few issues with this method. The first is that caller ID won’t match your number for the person you’re calling. They probably won’t know who you are—or worse, will get an Unknown Number depending on where you live, and who you’re calling.
The other is the obvious security issue of having a service record your calls for you. If the subject of your calls is sensitive in nature, you’re best off avoiding this method. If you’re simply recording calls so you can refer back to something later, this is less of a concern.
Record a Phone Call Using Your Voicemail
This final method depends largely on your carrier for whether it works and precisely how useful it is. First you need to check whether your carrier allows you to download your voicemail messages (a feature introduced in iOS 9).
Launch the Phone app on your iPhone and tap on the Voicemail tab in the bottom-right corner. If you see a list of voicemail messages appear, that’s great! You can download them and keep them on your device, so this method has some use to you.
If you only see a Call Voicemail option, bad luck. You can still try this method, but your recording will be stuck in your carrier’s voicemail inbox. You’ll need to find another way to save it externally, perhaps using the speakerphone method we discussed above.
To go ahead with this method, here’s what you need to do:
- Call your contact and notify them you want to record the call. Ask them to hold the line for a second.
- On your iPhone, tap the Add Call button to start a three-way conversation.
- Call your own phone number. If it goes well, you should get straight to your own voicemail inbox.
- Wait for the voicemail greeting to finish, then tap Merge Calls to start the conference.
Your conversation should record as a message you can retrieve from your voicemail inbox. If you’re able to see your individual voicemail messages under the Phone app, you can download the call for safekeeping.
My cheap Australian carrier wouldn’t let me record using the three-way voicemail trick, nor did I have any way of downloading the message. Your mileage may vary, but if it works, it’s a free voice recorder—so it’s worth remembering!
Which Call Recording Method Works for You?
The two most reliable ways of recording a phone call on your iPhone are using the speakerphone method, or paying for a third-party service to record the call for you. In either case, you should always make sure you notify the other party that you are recording them to stay on the right side of the law.
Got an Android phone? Recording a phone call on Android isn’t quite such an ordeal, but it still has its quirks. If you have both devices, you might want to go with Google on this one.
Ready to learn about call forwarding on iPhone and Android next?