This is one of the most popular queries we get at the moment from clients – how to effectively record phone calls, interviews conducted remotely by phone and video conferencing. We have written separate guides on how to use Zoom and Microsoft Teams to record your interviews for transcribing, but how can you effectively record audio files made during telephone calls on your iPhone?
Here are four options.
Use Your Voicemail Inbox
This is a very simple solution involving effectively merging a call with your voicemail, which creates a conference call with you, your voicemail, and the other person. After you have finished your call the recording will appear in your voicemail.
- Start your call.
- Tap “Add Call” button and dial your own number – this should take you to your voicemail.
- Add the call.
- Once the voicemail starts recording tap on the “Merge Calls” button to merge the recording voicemail message with the live call in first step.
This will make a recording of the call in your voicemail, which for most iPhone users can be very straightforward, although some providers simply include voicemail as a recording and not as a separate file you can manipulate.
If your voicemail messages are saved as separate recordings and visual files, simply click the share button and either whatsapp, email, dropbox, Google Drive the file across to us for it to be transcribed. The files are usually saved as MP3 files so very easy for us to work with.
If you don’t have visual voicemail you can still record the calls but you will not be able to save, share, or access the call recording as a file on the iPhone. The only option to extract the recording for transcription would be to put the phone on speaker and record the message.
Use an App to Record a Phone Call
There are a large number of apps in the App Store that are available to record phone calls. Most of these have costs involved, whether up front or on a pay as you go basis. If you are recording lots of phone calls you may want to purchase one that has an upfront cost and no on-going charges. However most of them do not work in the UK and it is important to check this out before making any purchases.
Beware – there seem to be a lot of dodgy apps out there that start billing you without any notice, whether you give them permission or not.
Phone Call Recorder App suddenly starts charging you £9.99 per week – lots of reviews warning that this seems to happen without anyone knowing about it!
Call Recorder 24: record calls does the same – £9.99 per week.
Automatic call recorder charges £6.49 per week.
Call Recorder charges, although not clear just how much.
Call Recorder for Phone Calls charges £6.99 a week.
These are the top 5 apps in the App Store and every one has lots of negative reviews warning of sly billing practices.
There also seem to be a lot of problems recording in the UK using any recording apps as some of them appear to be blocked by the mobile companies. Vodafone appears to be the best network for allowing recording, but the others don’t seem to allow it with all apps.
Other Phone Call Recording Apps for the UK
We did a bit of background research and came up with two other options for the UK market.
Just Press Record – £4.99 – no phone calls
This is an audio recorder app offering automated transcription at no extra cost.
This app hints at being able to record incoming and outgoing phone calls and we bought it to test this functionality, but unfortunately it appears to fall foul of the strict iPhone regulations on not being able to record phone calls in the UK at the very least. When you click record on Just Press Record it automatically switches off if the phone is accessed. However – if you have two phones you could put one on speaker phone and use the second one to record the call using either Just Press Record or the built in Voice Memo app.
Just Press Record is a more expensive version of iPhone’s own voice memo, and if you are looking to record phone calls, whether incoming or outgoing, it is not going to be much good. It does offer automated transcription, but as in all other cases, it is not going to provide you with a very accurate record of your call.
TapeACall – Call Recorder for iPhone – £58.99 a year
This is an international call recording app costing £58.99 a year. They give you a very simple app to use (see screenshot above) and it includes transcription as well at no extra cost.
It use three way calling to record incoming and outgoing calls, which does require some getting used to! It also automatically transcribes the calls as well if set up to do this. The transcription function, like many other automated services, is not fit for purpose and appears to have a mind of its own!
You can have a three day trial with this app but they then start taking money off you. This may be the easiest way of getting iPhone calls recorded and stored as audio files ready for transcription, although the audio files did sound a bit muffled when we had a go with it and listened back to them.
If any developers of recording apps want to tell us about an app that works for recording phone calls on an iPhone in the UK, please get in touch.
Use Two iPhones
Very simply – put one phone on speaker and use the other one to record. A bit of a throwback to the 1960s, but this seems to be the most popular way of recording phone conversations on an iPhone. The iPhone Voice Memo recorder will do the job – its very powerful and we don’t think any of the paid for apps do much better.
Ditch your iPhone and buy an Android phone
Android do not appear to have the same issues that iPhones have about any restrictions on the use of the microphone. Websites abound with reviews of fully functioning call recorders for Android. It may be that the best bet is simply to use an Android phone if you regularly record calls. We will review Android phones in a separate article..