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Record Meetings or Memos with Your iPhone/iPad

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When a brilliant idea hits, you should document it immediately so it's not forgotten. Whether or not you have pen and paper handy, your Apple iPhone or iPad gives you access to powerful, yet easy-to-use apps: Voice Memos (iPhone) or VoiceRecorder (iPad) can record voice dictation or audio with just a few taps on the device's screen. Jason R. Rich explains how to use your device's built-in microphone and software to record and save notes, ideas, directions, and more.
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In this article, you'll discover how to transform your Apple iPhone or iPad into a powerful but intuitive audio recording and dictation tool, which can be used to record, play, and share ideas, meetings, lectures, memos, or other audio—anytime or anywhere, using only your mobile device.

As you'll learn, your audio recordings can also be shared with other people or transferred to your computer to be played, edited, shared, or archived. These capabilities are offered via the Voice Memos app for the iPhone and the VoiceRecorder app on the iPad—both of which were created by Apple and are part of the iOS 4.2 operating system.

One-Button Recording with Voice Memos and VoiceRecorder

The Voice Memos and VoiceRecorder apps are designed for ease of use. These apps transform your mobile device into a powerful digital audio recorder that provides one-button recording.

From your device's home screen, tap on the Voice Memos (iPhone) or VoiceRecorder (iPad) program icon. When the app loads, the screen displays a large microphone (Figure 1 shows the VoiceRecorder).

Figure 1 The recording screen for the Voice Memos app is easy and intuitive.

In the lower-left corner of the screen is the Record button. Tap on it once, and your device will begin recording, using the microphone that's built into your iPhone or iPad. Tap on the record icon a second time to pause the recording. To resume recording, tap on the record button again. To end and save a recording, tap on the icon in the lower-right corner of the screen.

The meter at the bottom of the screen indicates how well the audio is being picked up by your iPhone or iPad's internal microphone as you're recording. Ideally, you want the indicator to point somewhere in the middle of the gauge as you're recording, in order to ensure good quality in the playback.

On the iPhone version (Voice Memos), the icon in the lower-right corner of the screen is used to play back and manage your recordings. After clicking the icon, you get a screen similar to the one shown in Figure 2, where you can highlight one of your recordings and play it back using the iPhone's internal speaker, a wireless Bluetooth headset, or headphones connected to your device via the earphone jack.

Figure 2 You can easily share the digital audio files you've recorded.

By tapping on the blue-and-white arrow next to each recording, you can access that recording's Info screen in order to assign the recording a label (such as Interview, Lecture, Idea, Meeting, or Memo). By tapping on the Custom icon, you have the option to create and assign labels. (If you don't assign a label, the device assigns a default filename that utilizes the current date and time.) On the Info screen, the length of the recording is also displayed. Tap on the Trim Memo option to edit the recording or shorten it directly on your iPhone.

If you're using the iPad's VoiceRecorder app, similar functionality is available by tapping on the Voice Memos icon in the upper-left corner of the screen (shown in Figure 3). This version allows you to add a text memo to your recording, in addition to assigning a label to it.

Figure 3 Create and organize your audio files with custom filenames and categories.

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