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Voice Memos on iPhone is a pretty basic app. Like every other stock Apple offering, it will get the job done… but if you need anything more than the basic functionality, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
For example, Voice Memos only lets you record and export audio in M4A format. There’s no way to convert audio or to tweak any audio settings. And extras like speech-to-text conversion, notes, bookmarks, and cloud sync aren’t included.
If you’re frustrated by the limitations of Voice Memos, it’s time for an upgrade. Try one of these great voice recorder alternatives for iPhones and iPads.
1. Voice Record Pro
Voice Record Pro goes against everything the Voice Memos app stands for, and the result is wonderful. The app has a retro user interface (which is actually quite well done) that integrates elements from old radios and cassette players. This combined with advanced features is not good news for user experience.
This is not a simple app. For instance, when you press the Record button, the app presents you with a list of options for your recording, instead of starting the recording immediately. Similarly, when you’re done with recording, you won’t find the common iOS Share button anywhere. Instead, you need to select Activities & AirDrop to get to iOS’s Share sheet.
These little quirks are well worth the trouble, though, because Voice Recorder Pro is one of the few free voice recorder apps on App Store not limited in features. The only in-app purchase is for removing ads.
You can record in MP3 format, bookmark and trim recordings, convert file format, sync with Dropbox, transfer files using local Wi-Fi, post recordings to YouTube, add effects, and a lot more.
Download: Voice Record Pro (Free)
2. Voice Recorder & Audio Editor
Voice Recorder & Audio Editor is somewhere between Voice Memos and Voice Record Pro. For managing and sharing your recordings, you get a native iOS interface similar to Voice Memos. But when it comes to the recording, it goes back in time with a cassette player UI.
The free version of the app lets you switch between five audio formats (learn more about common audio file formats), enables cloud syncing, Wi-Fi transfer, auto-upload, password protection, and more. You can upgrade to the Pro version to unlock speech-to-text, notes, and remove ads.
For a simple workflow of recording in MP3 format, trimming the audio, then uploading it to Dropbox or sharing it with your friends, Voice Recorder’s free version is more than enough.
If you want the familiarity of Voice Memos but with a bit more ease of saving and sharing recordings (especially to Windows and Android), you should try Voice Recorder.
Download: Voice Recorder & Audio Editor (Free)
3. Just Press Record
Just Press Record is the only app on this list that also works with an Apple Watch and Mac. It’s a simple app that does a couple of tasks really well. The app is designed for quickly recording your own thoughts but you can use it for longform voice recording as well.
As the name suggests, the point of the app is to let you start recording as quickly and easily as possible. Everything is synced with iCloud so it’s always available on all your devices. You can start recording from the app’s widget on your Lock screen, by 3D Touching the app icon, or by simply tapping on the app’s complication on your Apple Watch.
Just Press Record’s magic trick is its speech-to-text feature. The app uses iOS’s own speech-to-text engine to quickly transcribe your note. If you’ve recorded a short note, transcribed text will show up in the app’s Home screen in a few seconds. You can edit this text and send it to your favorite note-taking app as well.
By default, Just Press Record doesn’t transcribe longer clips. But you can change that behavior from the settings. In the settings menu, you can also change the input device, the file type (no MP3 support here), the sample rate, and more.
Just Press Record wasn’t designed for long recordings. But if you’re looking for something to quickly jot down notes or your thoughts with speech-to-text capabilities, Just Press Record is well worth the $5 price of acquisition.
Download: Just Press Record ($5)
4. Smart Record
Smart Record is an all-in-one voice recording app. You can use it as a simple voice recorder, as a transcription service, or as a call recorder. The voice recorder functionality is free; everything else requires a paid upgrade.
Smart Record has a modern interface in line with iOS 11’s design guidelines. It also looks great on the iPhone X. Feature-wise, the app lets you take notes and add markers, and makes it easy to share the audio. While you can change the quality of the recording, there’s no option to record in MP3 format (only M4A, CAF, and WAV formats are supported).
Download: Smart Record (Free)
5. Ferrite Recording Studio
Ferrite puts a professional-grade audio recording and editing studio in your pocket. Just like the Voice Memos app, you tap on the record button to get started. But what Ferrite can do once you’re done recording is amazing.
Ferrite has smart tools to automatically remove silence from the track and a range of controls for manually mixing the track. But you don’t have to worry about all that. Just let Ferrite’s Auto-Leveling feature do all the hard work for you.
Ferrite’s editing view lets you edit multiple tracks at the same time and you can zoom in and out as you please. And here, you can do much more than just trim the track.
Tools for merging, moving, and adding transition effects are all just a button press away. The app is free to use (limited to 60 minutes per recording) but the $10 upgrade gives you access to automation tools, MP3 export, advanced editing features, and more.
Download: Ferrite Recording Studio (Free)
Level Up Your iPhone Voice Recording
No matter what you use voice memos for, there’s an iPhone voice recording app for you. One of these choices should definitely suit your needs. If you aren’t satisfied with the recording quality, upgrading to a lavalier mic should improve it greatly.
For more help on recording, see how to record your iPhone’s screen.