How to Use the iPhone 4S Voice Recorder - dummies

How to Use the iPhone 4S Voice Recorder

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

With your new iPhone 4S, Apple includes a built-in digital voice recorder, which is handy for recording lectures, notes to yourself, your spouse snoring — whatever audio you find interesting.

To capture audio with your iPhone 4S, tap the Voice Memos icon on the Home screen. Up pops the a photo of a microphone, shown below, which is mainly for show. The two real microphones on the iPhone 4S are on the top and bottom of the device.


Tap the red record button in the lower-left part of the screen to start recording. You see the needle in the audio level meter move as Voice Memo detects sounds, even when you pause a recording by tapping the red button a second time. A clock at the top of the screen indicates how long your recording session is lasting. It’s that easy.

The audio meter can help you determine an ideal recording level. Apple recommends that the loudest level on the meter be between –3dB and 0dB. To adjust the recording level, simply move the microphone closer or farther from your mouth.

After you capture your thoughts or musings, you can start playback in a couple of ways, and both involve tapping the same button:

  • Immediately after recording the memo, tap the button to the right of the audio level meter. A list of all your recordings pops up in chronological order, as shown in the following figure, with the most recent memo on top. The most recent recording automatically starts to play.


  • If you haven’t just recorded something, tapping the button to the right summons the same list of all your recordings. However, nothing plays until you tap a recording in the list and then tap the little play button that appears to the left of the date and time that the recording was made (or to the left of the label you assigned to the recording).

If you don’t hear anything after tapping play, tap the Speaker button in the upper-left corner of the screen. Sound will pump through the built-in iPhone speaker. You can drag the playhead along the scrubber bar to move ahead to any point in the memo.

Editing sound recordings on your iPhone 4S

Maybe the person you recorded digressed at the end of the lecture and you want to cut those ramblings short. You can trim the audio directly on your iPhone 4S.

Tap the right-pointing arrow next to the memo you want to trim, and then tap Trim Memo. A narrow, blue tube representing the recording appears inside a yellow bar:


Drag the edges of this audio region to adjust the start and end points of the memo. You can preview your edit before tapping the Trim Voice Memo button by tapping the little play button.

Your edits are permanent. Make sure that you’re completely satisfied with your cuts before tapping Trim Voice Memo.

Labeling a sound recording on your iPhone 4S

A new recording on your iPhone 4S just shows up with the date and time of the recording, with no other identification. However, you can add labels to your audios, easily:

  1. From the list of recordings, tap the right-pointing arrow for the memo to which you want to add a label.

    The Voice Memo information screen appears.

  2. Tap the right-pointing arrow in the box showing the date and time and the length of the audio you just recorded.

  3. Select a label from the list that appears or choose Custom to type your own label.

    The Apple-provided choices are None, Podcast, Interview, Lecture, Idea, Meeting, and Memo, along with the Custom option.

    Your recording is duly identified.

When you have no further use for a recording, you can remove it from the Voice Memos app by tapping it in the list and then tapping the Delete button.