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The 6 best voice recording apps for iPhone

Here are the best apps for audio recording on iPhone.

By Kristina Lauren · April 19, 2023
Hero image with the logos of the best iPhone voice recorders

Whether you're sending a voice memo, capturing a fleeting moment of inspiration, or just recording the cute thing your kid is saying, a reliable voice recording app on your iPhone is a must. But there are a lot of iPhone recording apps—many of which are less than great—and each one comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.

That's why I set out to find the best iPhone voice recording apps on the market. After ruling out a bunch of less-than-stellar options, I did in-depth testing on almost 20 apps. Based on that experience, these are the six best iPhone recording apps make recording audio easier, cleaner, and more efficient. 

The best iPhone recording apps

  • Apple Voice Memos for convenience

  • Voice Record Pro for customization

  • Voice Recorder & Memos Pro for editing features

  • AudioNote 2 for visual and auditory note-taking

  • ShurePlus MOTIV for sound quality

  • Say&Go for quick voice memos

What makes a great voice recorder on iPhone?

How we evaluate and test apps

Our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. Unless explicitly stated, we spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

I started my search for the best iPhone voice recording apps by scouring the internet and Apple's app store for well-rated apps. I skipped any apps geared toward music production or podcasting since my goal was to test apps that the average person would use for everyday purposes, like voice memos. But I did think about other potential uses as I tested, like recording voiceovers for social media or conducting an interview that you'll want to review later.

As I performed my tests, these are the main things I was looking for in each app:

  • Ease of use. Voice recording on iPhone shouldn't be a hassle—that's the opposite of the point. Any iPhone sound recorder on this list had to be easy to navigate and record with.

  • Sound quality. I kept an ear out for how clean and crisp the audio was. (I also looked for different options for enhancing the quality or adjusting the sound, like changing sample rates, bit depths, or even the option to record in stereo or mono.)

  • Audio export options. I looked at the number of formats (e.g., WAV, MP3) and platforms (e.g., Dropbox, Google Drive) available for saving and directly exporting audio.

  • Note-taking capabilities. The ability to jot down notes on recordings or use markers to flag specific places in audio clips was a big bonus.

  • Editing features. Even if you're just using these apps casually, you may want to at least trim whitespace at the beginning of your recording, or cut out the six minutes of pocket sounds you accidentally recorded when you thought you'd pressed stop. Other editing features, like splitting, pitching, merging, or reducing noise, were a bonus.

  • Value. Most of the apps on this list are free, have free plans, or are relatively affordable for the features they provide.

I tested each app in two different environments: one in a space with very little background noise, and the other in a space with a bit of background noise, like people talking in another room or cars passing by. After all, when you record audio on iPhone, it's very likely you'll be doing so in a variety of environments.

I recorded myself speaking for about 30 seconds at a time to get a solid and accurate feel for each app's recording capabilities. 

In the apps that had a range of levels, I played around with the quality, looking for minor and major changes in sound. Some of the apps had sound enhancement features, so I applied those to see if there were any differences in background noise, ambient sounds, and overall vocal clarity. 

Note: I didn't use an external microphone or any special equipment to record—only the microphone already embedded in my iPhone (an iPhone 12 running on iOS 16.4).

Based on all my testing, here are my picks for the best iPhone recording apps.

Best iPhone recording app for convenience

Apple Voice Memos

Apple Voice Memos, our pick for the best iPhone recording app for convenience

Apple's own Voice Memos app is a great option for the casual recorder. For one, the app comes pre-installed for iPhone users. And even then, there's no signing up or logging in to use it—just open the app, and start recording.

While there aren't any options as far as controlling sound quality, so long as you're in a fairly quiet environment, the sound you get will be clear and crisp. Even with faraway background noise, I was able to hear my voice come through without any distracting sounds or ambient buzzing. There are also basic editing features: you can slow down or speed up the playback speed, skip silences, trim, or even enhance your recording further, which, if you listen closely, removes the already barely noticeable white noise in a recording.

Organizing recordings is straightforward too—you can create custom folders to separate your recordings out, or simply click the heart icon next to a recording to put it in a Favorites folder.

The app is perfect for a minimalist like me, which is why I often use it to record meetings and even voiceovers.

Apple Voice Memos pricing: Free

Best iPhone voice recorder app for audio customization

Voice Record Pro

Voice Record Pro, our pick for the best iPhone voice recorder app for audio customization

If you're a stickler for customizations or familiar with manipulating the sample rate, bit depth, or encode quality in your audio, Voice Record Pro is your app.

In addition to the many available customizations, I appreciated the ability to raise the playback volume—something I typically have to do with another app. You can also add effects and filters, like equalizers, echoes, and reverb, to recordings. As far as sound quality, you choose a preset level, which ranges from low to medium to high. I started with the medium quality option, and while my voice was clear, I could still hear the buzz of background noise. Switching to the high quality option made the sound much sharper.

Voice Record Pro also has plenty of export choices, including the typical email and SMS options, but also direct export to Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, SoundCloud, and YouTube.

This is one of the few apps on the list that allows you to leave notes on your recordings. To do so, you just slide to the right of a recording, click the notes icon, and start typing away. What I found extra convenient is that you can also automatically add in other text, like the date, time, device type, address, or location, by clicking on the respective option.

Overall, I think the app lives up to its name: it's a pro.

Voice Record Pro pricing: Free; $6.99 for the ad-free version

Best iPhone recording app for visual and auditory note-taking

AudioNote 2

AudioNote 2, our pick for the best iPhone recording app for visual and auditory note-taking

AudioNote 2 lets you take notes on your recordings in a variety of different ways, whether that's by typing, drawing, highlighting, or even taking a picture to go with your recording. And even with all those options, it's pretty easy to figure out.

It covers all the other basics too. For example, if you forget to hit the stop button on a recording, trimming is easy—just open up the audio clip, drag the sliders to the desired start or end time, and press trim. When it comes to sound quality, you get three different options: default, High, and Pro. With a free plan, you'll get the default quality, which is a little on the fuzzy side. After I upgraded, I got access to the High and Pro options, which are noticeably cleaner. There's a free one-month trial, and then it's only $9.99/year—definitely worth it for the better sound quality, plus all the other features that come with the app.

I'd say AudioNote 2 is best for anyone who wants to record an interview or a lecture, for example, and jot down a few notes to go along with it. It could also work well if you prefer to start your daily journaling with your voice. It's the perfect combination tool.

Pricing: Free; $9.99/year for better sound quality options

Best iPhone audio recorder for sound quality

ShurePlus MOTIV

ShurePlus MOTIV, our pick for the best iPhone audio recorder for sound quality

ShurePlus MOTIV's parent company, Shure, offers multiple microphone options for purchase to go with the app. But you won't need to use any additional hardware to get great sound out of this one. 

There are multiple sound quality levels, with the lowest at a 16-bit depth for a 44.1kHz sample rate and the highest at a 24-bit depth for a 48kHz sample rate. I found that I didn't even need to switch to the highest quality because the lowest quality option was already very clear and crisp—no background noise, hardly any ambient sounds, just clean audio. You can also convert the audio to enhance it even more: you can choose between five options, including AAC 96Kbps (used typically for speech or low-quality streaming) and AAC 128Kbps (used for high-quality streaming).

Another small but unique aspect of this app is the ability to place markers on the recordings to pinpoint specific locations in the audio. I found this helpful for longer recordings especially, since you can also trim and split audio.

As far as exporting, ShurePlus MOTIV gives you the typical iPhone sharing options, but you can also save your audio to your camera roll as a video with an app-provided graphic to go along with it. I thought that was a nice extra perk.

Pricing: Free

Best iPhone recording app for quick voice memos


Say&Go, our pick for the best iPhone recording app for quick voice memos

Say&Go is one of the more interesting apps on this list: unlike the others, you don't have much control over the recording process—but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The point of Say&Go is to provide you with a way to make extremely quick notes as you go about your day (as the name would suggest). As soon as you open the app, it starts recording, and you get seven seconds to say your piece, unless you prolong the recording time to 60 seconds (this seven-second limit can be adjusted in the settings to up to 15 seconds). If you're not ready to record, you can easily click to skip.

I was definitely caught off guard at first, but there's a nice, interactive tutorial and a lot of instructions in the walkthrough it provides when you first dive in. And it all starts to make more sense as you continue. You don't have control over the sound quality, but it's still pretty clean. And you can upload your recordings directly to Dropbox or Evernote in addition to the typical sharing options that Apple provides.

One other useful feature is the ability to set alerts for recordings—this is a big help for simply reminding you to go back and listen to your audio notes. As someone who struggles to even take 60 seconds to jot down notes throughout my day, I found Say&Go to be a great asset for note-taking on the go. I could take advantage of the alert feature to review my memos at the end of the day and regroup.

Say&Go pricing: $2.99

Best iPhone recording app for editing features 

Voice Recorder & Memos Pro

Voice Recorder & Memos Pro, our pick for the best iPhone recording app for editing features

Out of all the apps on this list, I liked the interface of Voice Recorder & Memos Pro the most. It's simple, sleek, and most of all, inviting. And it backs it all up with some great features.

One of my favorites, if only for the entertainment factor: you can put voice filters over your audio—17 different filters, to be exact, which range from deepening your voice to making you sound like a robot. You can also add ambient sounds to the audio, like metro noise or raindrops, to really set the mood or for a little extra razzle-dazzle.

There are plenty of other editing options, too, including pitching, cropping, splitting, merging, and inserting audio. You can also reduce noise, though when I tried that option, I did notice a slight reduction in quality. But overall, the sound is pretty clean without any enhancements or filters.

One last bonus: Voice Recorder & Memos Pro has an audio-to-text transcription feature that's quite accurate, but if you're interested in more apps specifically for transcribing, there a plenty of other options.

Pricing: Free version available; $12.99/month; $99.99/year

How to record audio on iPhone

Instead of frantically searching for that elusive notepad, only to end up scribbling on the back of your sushi receipt, it might be time to switch to voice recording.

All six of these apps allow you to capture everything from informational interviews to nuggets of wisdom—and even nuggets of nothing-close-to-wisdom. But each one caters to a slightly different type of user, so pick the two or three that seem like they might work for you, and take them for a spin. Because in the end, the best way to record audio on iPhone is the one that feels the most natural to you.

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