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How to record phone calls on an iPhone

How to record phone calls on an iPhone
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Whether it's for recording a work interview or keeping a clip of a touching call with family members, sometimes you'll want to know how to record phone calls on an iPhone. However without a readily available app within iOS, it's not obvious how to do it.

You have plenty of choices available for recording a phone call from an iPhone, but you'll need to pick carefully based on what you have access to and what you want to record. Fortunately for you, we've got a run-down of your best options right here.

After making sure you're legally in the clear to record your conversation, you can use apps, dial-in services or some extra hardware to make your recording. Read on to learn more about all of these methods.

How to record phone calls on an iPhone

BEFORE YOU START: Is recording your call legal?

Depending on where you live, the laws concerning recording conversations differs. In most U.S. states, "one-party" rules apply, where as long as one person involved is aware of the recording (in this case you), then you're fine to hit the record button. However, it's good manners to still give your contact the heads-up first.

In 11 states (California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington), however, two-party rules apply, meaning you need all participants' agreement to record. In Connecticut, all parties must be made aware of electronic recordings, with certain exceptions.

If you're in the U.K., you are allowed to make recordings for personal use only without disclosing the fact you're doing so to the other callers. Sharing or publishing the data without permission is not permitted, however, and informing the other caller(s) of what you're doing is always going to be the best decision. If you're not in the U.S. or U.K. then you should check the law where you are before you start. 

Recording apps

You may think that "there's an app for that" when you notice there's no native method to record iPhone calls. However it's not quite as simple as you'd hope.

One of the best options around is Rev Call Recorder. It's ideal for most users, since it's free to use and doesn't limit recording lengths. It also lets you pay to have the call transcribed within 12 hours, if you want a text copy. However, this app only works when registered with a U.S. phone number, so it's no good for you if you're one of our readers living beyond the United States.

Rev Call Recorder

(Image credit: Rev)

That said, there are plenty of other well-reviewed apps to choose from if you simply search the App Store. Just be aware that most will require some kind of in-app purchase if you want to use their full feature sets.

Google Voice

The easy-to-use Google Voice service offers you a number you can access on your iPhone as well as other devices, but is also a limited method of recording any calls you receive.

Google Voice

(Image credit: Google)

After setting up your account, go to Settings, then Calls and Incoming call options. Here, you can enable a toggle switch that lets you turn recording on and off by pressing the '4' key on your number pad in calls. The recording gets forwarded to your email after you're done, or can be found amongst your voicemails in the app.

The major limitation here is that it only records inbound calls, so you'll have to ask the other caller to make the initial connection. Also, an automated voice will clearly announce when recording is started and stopped, which you might find disruptive.

One handy bonus feature is Voice's voicemail transcription service. If you happen to miss a call but need to keep a record of it, you can get a text version or the audio version without a fuss.

Other call recording services

If you don't want to use an app, for example because you also record regularly from landline numbers, then you can set up a separate service such as RecordiaPro or Recordator

Both offer pay-as-you-go packages depending on how long you plan to record for and both let you dial a number, either before a call or during, to add a recording participant to your calls. When you're done, you log into the respective online services to access your recordings, with the option to request transcription if you wish.

External methods

If you're unimpressed with the software methods, then now's the time to resort to something clunkier, but possibly more reliable: separate hardware.

If you aren't fussed about quality, you can just put your phone on loudspeaker then switch on another device to record it. You can probably do this already, assuming you own more gadgets than just your iPhone. A quiet space to set this up is a must, though, unless you want external noise covering up your conversation in the playback.

Olympus TP8 telephone pick-up microphone

(Image credit: Olympus)

If you don't mind spending a little more, you could invest in an in-ear microphone, such as the Olympus TP8 telephone pick-up microphone that I personally use. It plugs into the microphone port of your computer or a dictaphone, and lets you hold the phone to your ear normally while recording everything you and the other callers say. 

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