Free Video Tutorial: Tip - Voice Memos on Mac & iOS - Apple Mac, iPad & iPhone Tutorials from ScreenCastsOnline

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Tutorial Description

A quick and easy way to create voice memos or any audio recordings and have them sync across your iPad, iPhone, and Mac.

Voice Memos has had a full redesign and is now available on all of your devices (except Apple Watch!).

Video Tutorial Comments

(7 comments posted)

Jim Leff

The problem with many stock Apple apps is that their priorities are to

1. Look good in demos
2. Offer impressive-sounding features (regardless of practical upshot)
3. Adhere to over-arching precedents of design and features (again, regardless of practical upshot)

Recording voice memos is a highly practical task, which puts Apple's choices in particular conflict with real-world needs.

So I use a third party iOS app called RecUp ( by Irradiated Software (which offers many clever, streamlined, apps for iOs and MacOs...and I'm just a happy customer with no skeevy promotional agenda). RecUp is designed ENTIRELY for practical upshot, and it feels like it.

To record with Apple's Voice Memos, you hit a smallish red button, and (on iPad, at least) a second smallish white button to finish. Looks attractive, but it's horrible design, given that you're almost surely recording voice memos on-the-go, i.e. walking around or even while driving. RecUp offers you a huge red blot to mash on to both start and stop. It's the entire interface, really. And if even that's too much of a work flow, you can config the app to start recording upon launch. You really don't want failure in this task, and RecUp's design ensures no-fail recordings (and cessation of recordings)

It sounds great to have all your voice recordings synch via iCloud so they're easily available on all devices, but this is not like GarageBand creations or iBooks titles. I don't want to have super fun playing with my long list of hastily-recorded on-the-go missives. Wrong model! My top priority is to ensure that the very latest memo (or batch of memoes) catches my attention once I'm back home. The smooth integration (and relatively chintzy disk allowance) of ICloud is unnecessary; DropBox works just fine (RecUp uses DropBox), and it also allows me to set up an IFTTT so that every time a new RecUp recording appears in DropBox, I'm sent an email reminder. Unlike GarageBand, I'm not happily building queues here. I want to avoid that sort of thing - mouldering notes, ideas remaining lazily unnoticed or untranscribed, etc.. RecUp +IFTTT is much more sensible (BTW, I've suggested an IFTTT screencast in the past; it's SUCH a useful app/service; I hope you do it).

To transcribe voice notes on my Mac, I use this transcription app:, which I've set up with lots of custom keyboard shortcuts to help me pause, fast forward, etc. without reaching for the mouse). But I can't use it for notes recorded with Apple's Voice Memos because there appears to be no way to export memos as sound files. RecUp files in DropBox are MP3s, easy to open up with a transcription app or any other sound player. Far more versatile/practical, even if a bit less glossy and futuristic.


Don McAllister

Thanks so much for the comment - a lot to digest plus some great recommendations. I have to say that I tend to cover the built-in Apple apps for completeness more than anything - certainly not as a recommendation. Invariably there are always more competent third-party apps that do a better job - as you have pointed out here.

I'm not sure if I would want to give alternatives each time I describe the built-in apps - perhaps I should!

The aim of the episode was to make people aware that it exists and to give some basic guidance on how to use it.

Really do appreciate the feedback though - I will check out the other apps you suggest.

Jim Leff

Your commenting s/w should be intelligent enough to liven a URL even when enclosed in parentheses. That's such a 1996ish oversight it nearly makes me nostalgic.


Don McAllister

Agreed Jim, will ask Jamie to take a look an fix that!

David Bennett

I have used voice memos on my phone and I saw the app on my Mac and never really thought about it. This tutorial saves me lots of 'how do I do this?' minutes.


Jim Leff

Don, I wasn’t finding fault with your reviewing of the Apple app; not at all! Nor can we possibly expect you to be aware of the universe of alternatives within every sphere!

That wasn’t directed at you, specifically; just trying to be helpful for others reading along. An active comment environment would be a good thing for all of us (and help cover that universe of alternarives)!


Don McAllister

Hey Jim, Absolutely. I really appreciate any feedback and as I said, some fine suggestions made.

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