How to transfer voice memos from iPhone to computer

By , Feb 23, 2014

sync voice memos

I use my iPhone to record interviews. I also regularly record songs that my band is working on at practice. The iPhone’s native Voice Memo app works great for simple access to the features I need. Of course, after recording something, I certainly don’t want to delete the memo. But I also don’t want to keep it on my device, taking up space. Instead, I sync the memo with iTunes so I can store it and remove it from my iPhone.

If you are wondering how to transfer voice memos from iPhone to computer, or wonder where they went when you synced them, we’ve got a quick tutorial to help you out…

It has been a while since we’ve done one of these basic tutorials, so we want to remind you that we recognize this information is common knowledge to many of you. If you are already familiar with how to move voice memos to your computer and know where they are stored, rest assured that we don’t mind if you skip this article. We feel confident that there will be a number of readers who don’t already know about voice memos syncing and will be glad we posted this basic tutorial.

Exporting voice memos is a lot simpler than you may realize. It requires you to connect your iPhone to iTunes. There is not much more after that. In the few steps listed below, we will show you how import voice memos into iTunes. Note that the process is exactly the same whether you own a Windows PC or a Mac.

How to sync voice memos with iTunes

Download voice memos

Step 1: Connect your iPhone to your computer.

Step 2: Open iTunes on your computer and select your device from the sidebar.

Step 3: Select “Music” from the tab options at the top of the screen.

Step 4: Select “Sync Music” and then select “Include voice memos.” This setting will extract your voice memos and load them into iTunes.

Step 5: Click “Apply in the bottom right corner of iTunes. iTunes will then sync with your iPhone and download your voice memos to your computer.

How to find voice memos in iTunes

Transfer voice memos

Once you’ve synced your voice memos with iTunes, they will be added as a specific category called, “Voice Memos.”

Step 1: Select “Music” from the sidebar in iTunes.

Step 2: Under “Genres,” scroll down to Voice Memo and select it.

Step 3: Find the voice memo you want to playback and select it. Click the Play button to hear it.

Or, you can do the following:

Export voice memos

Step 1: Scroll the sidebar down under “Playlists” to the Voice Memo Playlist and select it.

Step 2: Find the voice memo you want to playback and select it. Click the Play button to hear it.

That’s all you have to do to sync your voice memos to iTunes so you can store them on your computer instead of your iPhone.

Note that if you delete a synced memo from iTunes, it will stay on your device. If you delete a synced memo from your iPhone, it will be copied back on it next time you sync with iTunes again.

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  • Christian Mejía

    *Gasp* Sundays -_-

  • karl

    or you just browse on your iPhone in iTunes for the Music. All memos are in a specific Album ‘Voice Memos’, so you can simply drag and drop from there

    • mintap

      This does not work.

      • Zeynep

        be sure you clicked “include voice memos” when you scroll down you will see voice memos listed.

    • Pawel Tulin

      you can’t drag and drop

  • abdullah575

    random post , LOL nothing to say!!

  • Aric Bolf

    “so you can store them on your computer instead of your iPhone.” is simply not true. All the memos I’ve synced to my mac are still on my phone. It would be nice to have them stored on my computer only and stop wasting gigs of space on my phone. How do i do that besides manually deleting them from my phone after every time i sync?

    • Sebastien

      Yes it is true. You say it yourself that you can delete them from your iPhone after syncing, which lets you save space on your device.

      I do not think its possible to merge or edit memos after syncing. Not sure about your other questions, but it’s worth looking into

      • Aric Bolf

        It’s not good to sync my memos, then delete them, then a few days later have them reappear on my phone after a sync, then delete, then sync, reappear…Do you see the problem here?

      • Lorien Nemec Butler

        Hi Aric, have you figured this out yet? I find it infuriating to have to delete hundreds of voice memos from my phone after dumping just ten or twenty to iTunes. Would like to dump my voice memos to computer without having to deal with the hassle of synching. The idea is to keep the storage on my phone open for other stuff, not clog it up with old memos. Let me know if you’ve found anything, thanks!

      • Joe

        If you put them on your computer, delete from phone then do another backup without the voice memos then wouldn’t the latest sync not including the memos be the one that uploads to your phone?

      • Kiwi

        Yes. You simply uncheck the box in iTunes, otherwise the synch will recopy all the memos back to your phone.

      • Ana

        You can merge and edit memos in garage band. It’s pretty easy.

    • Lory Gil

      I use Audacity to edit my Voice memos. You can convert files with it. I’ve never tried combining two audio clips, though. Audacity is free.

  • mordechai eliyahu

    or just import it with iexplorer

    • Cool

      or iFunbox too

      • Yikes

        Thank you McBobson. My frustration has been eased cuz of you.

      • McBobson

        No problem.

  • Vlad Makarov

    Hey Jeff, can you please change the mobile version of your blog’s design to what it was before? I hate to say that, but as I think, the previous design looked much better than this one.

    • diggitydang

      Totally agree! And on the new site, I can’t seem to tap and hold on an article to open in a new tab!! But it was a lot easier to read the main page and scan the articles quickly… New version seems very busy and cluttered.

    • Sebastien

      No we will not change the new site design. FWIW, for every person who doesn’t like the new layout, there 10 that do. Of course, it always takes some time to adjust to changes, and I’m sure in two weeks from now you will have forgotten all about the old layout.

      We’re aware of the issue where you can’t open articles in a new page, when on the home page. We’ll figure out a way to fix that.

      • Jonathan

        I love the new layout. =) The only thing to complain, is that I can’t open in new tab. Other than that, perfect-o. 😀

      • d3si 5abi

        yea! that’s the only part that annoys me.

      • Jonathan

        I think that’s a bug.

      • ali_plus

        Also add the search function in new layout. I loved the sections on old layout as it was easier to read specific posts i.e. Jailbreak News

      • Sebastien

        There is search. See top left

  • Abdl

    Why All the hassle??!! Just install ‘ShareMemo’ tweak and you’re good to go

  • That’s what Siri said!!!

    Why can’t Apple just let us use our iPhones and iPods as standard storage devices? It sucks to be on Ubuntu.

  • Charley Campbell

    I just tried this method and only 2013 – 2014 memos were synced to my iTunes library. I have tons of memos on this same device, dating back to 2009, that I’d like to “archive” to my computer before I delete them from my device. Is there another trick to getting older voice memos to sync?

  • jo

    hi, on the “Sync voice memos to iPhone”, at Step 4: Select “Sync Music”……..when I click on this “Sync Music” box, a window from iTunes pops out with these 2 statements………”Are you sure you want to remove existing music, movies, TV shows, books, and tones from this iPhone and sync with this iTunes library? And a 2nd statement that says “Music, movies, TV shows, books, and tones synced to “so-and-so’s iPhone” from other iTunes libraries will be removed and items will be synced from this iTunes library. At the bottom, there are 2 buttons “Remove and Sync” and “Cancel”.

    Can someone explain the statements? Do they mean that my voice memos on my iPhone will be removed, and instead whatever which is in the library get synced instead?? Do I / Shall I click the “Remove and Sync” button? Baffled and confused…….please sos! Thank you.

    • Kim Norberg

      I just tried and all my voice memos and music got deleted from my phone :'(

    • vvoiceofreason

      Did you ever resolve this? I have the same problem.

  • Daniel

    If you are looking for the actual files on your computer then you need to do the following (for a PC):
    1. Hit the Start button
    2. Click on “Computer” on the right hand menu.
    3. Click on “OS (C:)” on left menu
    4. Click on Users
    5. Click on your username
    6. Click on MyMusic
    7. Click on iTunes
    8. Click on iTunes Media
    9. Click on Voice Memos

    • concretetundra

      I have a lot of voice memos stuck in my iphone. This got about ten percent of them. Oh well, I officially give up.

  • Dani Fuenzalida

    I have a problem: I always sync y voice memos, and also I take them from the ITUNES MEDIA folder and backup them in another folder.
    This time, I have only 1 new voice memo to sync, but it says it was over 200mb and it was not possible to sync. So I erase some of the voice memos in itunes so it wouldn’t be trying to sync EVERYTIME with EVERY voice memo that I have. (since I have back up of each of them, it wasn’t any problem to do this)
    But the 1 new voice memo that I need to sync is not transfering to the computer. And I have to send this by mail.

    Does anyone has any solution to this?

    thanks! regards,

    • farmnwife

      I was able to send it to another phone thru messages. then sent it to dropbox

  • karah

    This is so easy…this should have worked for me. For some strange reason I cannot get a single new voice memo off my phone for a few months now.

    • concretetundra

      Same here. itunes is an awful program.

  • Jack Lee

    I cannot possibly describe how much I hate and detest iTunes. I have voice recordings on my phone, and it seems a ridiculous thing that I have to jump through a thousand hoops to transfer them to my computer.

    I’ve followed all the steps, but they just aren’t there. What about drag and drop, ffs!

  • Fred Arcoleo

    Can someone help me? I am trying to get voice memos off my phone, but–due to a prior hard drive crash–the phone has been synched to a different iTunes library, so iTunes is prompting to erase the old phone. I just want to get those voice memos off the phone, then it can erase all it wants. Does anyone know how? Please help! ; )

    • farmnwife

      I was able to send it to another iphone thru messages. it was 23 minutes long.

  • Bobbie á Deild

    The device is not in the sidebar because apple is overrateds SHIT!

  • rogerashman

    You can just email the memo to yourself then save it to file. Much easier than the faf, especially if youre using a computer you are not synced to.

  • Jacob Quinones

    sadly it just downloaded the voice memos from my mac to my iphone. the opposite of what i wanted to do

  • Kim Norberg

    Great! Now all my music and all my voice memos are completely deleted. I just want to sit down somewhere and cry right now :'(

  • NoMoLies

    Apple Sucks! This is but one of the reasons I am bailing out of the Apple IOS world. In two weeks I am replacing all of my family’s cell phones with Samsung Galaxy Note 4’s. I am so fed up with Apple that I sometimes want to scream. I have not been able to get my voice memo’s off my phone for years. They do eventually appear in iTunes so I can save them, but it may take weeks before I see them. I can;t record one and do anything that will make them appear the same day so I can save them to my computer. Like I said, this is but one of many idiocies I have had to bear with my iPhone. Apple Sucks! I had to replace my son’s screen a month ago and Apple refuses to sell replacement parts. Not even the businesses that repair iPhones can buy the parts from Apple. Apple Sucks! We are forced to resorting to paying Apple $200 to exchange the phone, or buy some unknown brand of component and take your chances. The second screen I bought finally worked. BTW, the same $200 applies if you simply want to get a new battery in your phone or replace a button that costs $3. Apple Sucks! The standard apps that you use every day on the iPhone are minimalist at best. Apple refuses to sell in their store replacement apps with cool features that make every day use a lot easier and more productive, so I always had to resort to Jailbreaking our iPhones so I could buy apps in the Cydia store. Of course, Apple does everything they can to thwart this. Big Brother Apple wants to tell me what I can and can’t use on my phone. Apple Sucks! Bye-bye Apple. Apple Sucks!

  • Holly T.

    For some reason… this isn’t working for me. I’ve never had a problem transferring them in the past. Now IOS8 has to go and mess everything up. grrr.

  • Doreen

    I sent a voice memo to my daughter’s cell phone. Then I went to her text, held down over the voice memo until the menu popped up, clicked “more” then clicked the arrow at the bottom left, and I was able to email the file to my email. A lot quicker than the iTunes route.

    • Doreen

      I’m sorry, the arrow was at the bottom right.

  • Derek Williams

    Same issue if you try emailing it – too big for email.

    • vvoiceofreason

      I found I have the same problem and have sensitive memos I would like to get onto my compute. did you resolve this?

  • Jacky T

    I still have an old voice memo on my MacBook, but since upgrading to IOS 8 the new voice memos stay stubbornly on the phone, and will not transfer onto my MacBook. I have followed all the instructions exactly. Bring Back IOS 6!

  • Sophias

    This time, I have only 1 new voice memo to sync, but it says it was over
    200mb and it was not possible to sync. So I erase some of the voice
    memos in itunes so it wouldn’t be trying to sync EVERYTIME with EVERY
    voice memo that I have. (since I have back up of each of them, it wasn’t
    any problem to do this)

  • Stevercc

    Just one problem… you can’t sync ONLY voice memos. You have to sync the whole music playlist along with the memos. This is a problem because I manage my list manually and also use two different computers (with two different music libraries) with the same phone. As usual, Apple makes it nightmarish to just simply move something from phone to computer or vice versa. Can’t use Google Drive, can’t use DropBox, or any other convenient data transfer. Just Message and Mail (which are completely inadequate for anything but brief memos).

  • Niloo

    Can some one please help?

    my voice memo “exists” when I check on my iPhone, But after connecting it to PC , is not in the list :(

    as Jo said before [ when I click on this “Sync Music” box, a window from iTunes pops out with these 2 statements………”Are you sure you want to remove existing music, movies, TV shows, books, and tones from this iPhone and sync with this iTunes library? And a 2nd statement that says “Music, movies, TV shows, books, and tones synced to “so-and-so’s iPhone” from other iTunes libraries will be removed and items will be synced from this iTunes library. At the bottom, there are 2 buttons “Remove and Sync” and “Cancel”.]

    is a very important voice memo, I don’t want to loose it …..Please help

  • Nvupaann

    Transfer iphone data is very easy,if you use Coolmuster iPhone iPad iPod to PC Transfer software.Now Coolmuster company to celebrate 2014 Christmas ,many of hot products has a 30% discount.

  • Ken

    Weird problem. This technique worked for the first voice memo, it was downloaded to the PC without problem. However the second voice memo was not downloaded to the PC despite several attempts and rebooting both the phone and the PC. suggestions?

  • Sara

    I’ve done everything from above and only my newest voice memo gets synced. I have about 15 more old memos that wont sync, why??

  • Me

    just do this:

    -connect your iphone to computer

    -go to itunes

    -on itunes click on your iphone

    -go to music

    -under Sync Music
    -click “selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres”

    -click “include voice memos”

    -under Playlists – click “voice memos”

    -on the bottom right side of the page click “Apply”

    to see files:

    -go to your music (from your itunes, not music under your iphone)

    -go to “Playlists”

    -go to “Voice Memos”

  • William Donelson

    Does not work.

  • trinity otness

    i have a lot of voice memos on my phone and only 2 of them went through ://

  • Andy Shirey

    i just tried this, and it copied some voice memos alright – from my laptop to my iPhone, deleting the voice memos from my iPhone in the process. be careful out there kids. hard to believe in 2015 Apple still doesn’t let its users drag and drop files between Apple devices. instead we’re asked to trust Apple’s black-boxey “device synching” process, where you basically give up control and hope for the best. even more insane for this use case, since obviously anything recorded on a voice memo is original content – not something to be freakishly protective over with some archaic DRM-protection workflow.

  • Mehdya Be

    Do you know why when I download the memo on my computeur it is : the name of my record .m4a ? I need a mp3 or mp4 cause I need to insert my record on my blog/website and it never works :s

  • mayjohnson

    If you’re not on your primary computer for iTunes syncing or you’d just prefer not to use iTunes, there’s a far simpler, easier way to get your memos onto your computer: FonePaw iOS Transfer. Make sure connect your iPhone and start the program, then do what you want.

  • Kathy Mack

    I was able to transfer my voice memos into iTunes but how can I then take them from iTunes into windows? What I am trying to do is upload one to YouTube or some other website that will allow other people access to it. Thanks

  • mimi

    Will the voice memo stay on my iPhone to manually delete later, or when I sync to iTunes does it auto delete from phone.

  • mimi

    Also other than audacity, which you later have to convert and not very user friendly, can you merge voice memos?

  • concretetundra

    If it was that simple there wouldn’t be 64 comments here. iTunes is SO over rated and still, after all these years, so fuckin’ buggy. I give up.

  • Alex M. Frankel

    iTunes is good for renting and occasionally buying movies on my laptop. That’s all I use it for. For music, iTunes is much simpler on the iPhone than on a laptop, but streaming is the way to go nowadays..

  • Minez Ibanez

    Thank you for this, it was really helpful….however, how can i save my voice memos on a USB so that i can listen to them on another device

  • Paul Chris Jones

    After you’ve synced your phone, your voice memos will be on your PC at C:Users(your username)MusiciTunesiTunes MediaVoice Memos

  • Parveen

    It is very easy, after the first 5 steps (syncing memos). Just go to iTunes – > Music then Right click on your Audio recording and Select Show in Windows Explorer. It will open a following path: C:UsersXXXMusiciTunesiTunes MediaVoice Memos, highlighting your memo file.

    Note: file is this folder will not have the same name which you see in iTunes though.

  • Kimia Fard

    How can I sync them and then save them into a flash drive instead of itunes?

  • PasoAPaso

    Following these instructions i lost all my music which I had stored in playlists.
    Please add how you can avoid loosing those.