Monday, October 25, 2010

Create an MP3 of an iOS Voice Memo

Michael Salsbury
Although this isn't strictly a "writing tip", it is a tip that can be useful to writers and non-writers.

I've had an iPod Touch for a couple of years now.  I was always disappointed that it didn't have a built-in microphone because I thought that would make it a very handy voice recorder for taking audio notes, recording meetings or seminars, etc.  Earlier this year, I purchased a "Chill Pill" microphone from  It actually works pretty well.  I've been able to record a number of different speeches and seminars to my iPod and play them back later.  (To be fair, the audio is often weak until I boost it digitally later on, but once boosted it's pretty good.)

Personally, I prefer MP3s to the M4A files that the iPod uses for its recordings.  MP3s are easier to share, there are lots of tools to edit them, etc.  So I searched about for a way to convert the recordings I'd made into MP3 files, only to find that it's built right into iTunes.

The following screen shots and instructions are from the Windows version of iTunes 10.0, but you should be able to do the same thing from the Mac version if you want to.

  1. Connect your iPod/iPhone/iPad and synchronize it with your computer.  Once synchronized, you may disconnect it if you wish.

  2. If iTunes isn't already launched, launch it.  Under the Edit menu, choose Preferences.  Select the "General" tab at the top of the window.

  3. Locate the "Import Settings…" button and click it:image

  4. Make sure the "Import Using" setting is changed to "MP3 Encoder" and the desired MP3 quality level is specified in the second drop-down.  Click "OK" to close the Import Settings window.image

  5. Click "OK" to close the iTunes preferences window.

  6. On the left-hand side of the iTunes main window, locate the "PLAYLISTS" heading (which should be below Library, Store, Devices, and Genius).  In the Playlists menu, locate "Voice Memos" and click on it to select it.image

  7. Click on the Voice Memos that you want to convert to MP3 format in the main iTunes window pane.  Click on the Advanced menu and choose "Create MP3 Version" from the list.image

  8. iTunes will convert the recording, displaying progress in the top, center area of the window.image

  9. To locate the converted files, look in your iTunes media folder under Music, the name of your device (in my case "iPod Touch"), and Voice Memos.  The recordings will be labeled for the date and time on which they started.image

You can copy these MP3 files to another location on your computer, email them to friends, edit them using tools like Audacity, or whatever you like.

About the Author

Michael Salsbury / Author & Editor

In his day job, Michael Salsbury helps administer over 1,800 Windows desktop computers for a Central Ohio non-profit. When he's not working, he's writing, blogging, podcasting, home brewing, or playing "warm furniture" to his two Bengal cats.


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