How Long Can I Record A Voice Memo on iPhone 2021

by Editor

Whether you’re recording a song or simply taking notes, the voice memos app on your iPhone gets the job done for you.

It has helped me on numerous occasions when I had to take note of something important, it’s an easily accessible application and the best part is the files can be shared, modified and even deleted when not needed. 

The only question on everyone’s mind is “How long can I record a voice memo on my iPhone?

Well the answer varies depending on your make and model of iPhone. The thing about voice memos is that the files get stored on the iPhones flash storage. Voice memos are recorded in uncompressed 44.1kHz Stereo audio, this means that 1GB of storage will be required to record approximately 95 – 101 minutes of audio on an iPhone. The more space on your iPhone, the longer you can record for.

Let’s take a closer look at how long you can record a voice memo for on your iPhone.

How Long Can I Record A Voice Memo on iPhone

Recording audio files or a voice memo on your iPhone has been made possible thanks to the numerous applications developed for just this cause. These recording applications can help you at times when there is no writing medium available or when you’re in the middle of a meeting. 

The only problem with these applications is that if you are going to record something lengthy, you’d have to make sure that you have the space available to store such a large file. There are many things you can do from transferring your recordings to an external drive or uploading them to the cloud in order to free up some space on your iPhone. 

These are the factors that play an important role in how long you can record voice memos for.

Audio Format

How Long Can I Record Voice Memo on iPhone

Well, from the previous section you’re able to understand the default recording format, but this is not fixed. iPhones support a variety of audio formats and each format has a different ratio of audio quality to size of the file.

It’s good to note that the length of your recording depends on the quality of the file and the resolution at which your file was recorded. Most file formats offer bit-rate options that can directly affect the size of the recorded file, using lower bit rates such as 128k as compared to 320k will result in lesser storage space being used and you’ll be able to record longer voice memos.

The best thing about the Voice Memos application is that you can tweak the audio quality from the settings app and decide if you’re looking to record a compressed file or an uncompressed one (we’ll discuss more on this later) 

Storage Space

How Long Can I Record Voice Memo on iPhone

Ideally, you’re only able to record a voice memo as long as there’s free space in your iPhone, this is because every audio recording you create gets stored on your iPhones flash storage, thus accumulating space. 

iPhones can record in uncompressed 44.1kHz WAV audio format making it possible to record about 100 minutes of audio per gigabyte of storage available on your iPhone. 

Basically, you’re able to record longer files if you’re using the iPhone 11 256GB than what you would have been able to with an iPhone 6 16GB.

Choosing the Right Application

How Long Can I Record Voice Memo on iPhone

Though iPhones come with Apple’s native Voice Memos app and Voice Recorder, these applications have a slight issue with processing audio files that are longer than an hour, but there have only been a few cases reported.

The other option available to iPhone users is GarageBand for iPhone that can record for longer only if the overall tracks BPM (beats-per-minute) is set at a lower range. 

Lastly, there are third party applications out there that claim to provide unlimited recording time but all that depends on the format of the file and storage space available in the Phone.

Recording Length of Voice Memos for different iPhone Models

How Long Can I Record Voice Memo on iPhone

As I had explained earlier, every iPhone has storage variants and this means that the recording length of your voice memos will vary depending on the variant of iPhone you own. 

For example, iPhones utilize approx 5GB of the total storage space solely for iOS, apart from this in order to update your iPhone you’d require another 3-4GB of space for the update to be installed  successfully. This ultimately means that those using an iPhone with 16GB storage space will not be able to record long voice memos. 

To make it simpler to understand, I’m going to give you an approximate duration of the voice memos you can record on your iPhone based on the storage space available, while using uncompressed WAV audio format.

Let’s break it down based on the following iPhone models:

  • iPhone 8/8 Plus
  • iPhone X/XR/XS/XS Max
  • iPhone SE (2nd Gen.)
  • iPhone 11/11 Pro/11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12/12 Pro/12 Pro Max/12 Mini

All the above models support either 64GB, 128GB, 256GB or 512GB storage variants and each variant can store a different number of voice recordings. In total, each variant can hold a certain number of hours worth of voice memos based on the available storage. 

Your storage capacity will vary depending on the number of applications, photos, songs, videos and other data you have on your iPhone. I managed to arrive at these values by using stock iPhones with absolutely nothing installed or saved in the phones memory.

  • 64GB: approx 50-60 hours
  • 128GB: approx 190 hours 
  • 256GB: approx 420 hours 
  • 512GB: approx 800 hours 

How Do I Change the Audio Quality of my Voice Memo App?

Changing your audio quality settings will allow you to save more recordings by simply switching the audio quality level from uncompressed to AAC (advanced audio coding). AAC was brought around as the successor of MP3 files with better sound quality at lower bit rates. 

You can choose either between uncompressed WAV or AAC depending on what type of quality you’re looking for. To achieve this you’d have to

  • Start by opening the “Settings App” and tapping on “Voice Memos
How Long Can I Record Voice Memo on iPhone
  • Now Scroll to the “Voice Memos Settings” section and click on “Audio Quality
How Long Can I Record Voice Memo on iPhone
  • Here you’d have two options to choose from, AAC/Lossless (smaller file size) and Uncompressed (Larger File Size). Pick the desired format and head back to the voice memos application to begin recording.

What Must I Do if I Run Out of Storage Space?

This is a predicament we all face when using our iPhones, luckily there are a number of ways you can free up space on your iPhone so that you can record for longer. 

With the iPhone you’re able to transfer files to your Mac/PC, upload them to the cloud, or simply share them with your friends and delete the file once done. 

Transfer files to your Mac/PC

If you’re looking to transfer your voice memos to a PC or Mac you can do so either through iTunes, AirDrop or via an email. 

  • For iTunes, you’d have to make sure the “Sync Voice Memos” box is checked in the music options. Unless you check the box, iTunes will not sync your voice memos every time you connect to your PC/Mac.
  • You can also AirDrop your voice memo file to your Mac by tapping on the recording you want uploaded and clicking on Share, you’ll now be provided with the available methods by which you can share the recording. Click on AirDrop and have the file transferred to your Mac.
  • For old time users and by far the easiest method on the list is to send the voice memo via an email to yourself and later access the same mail on your PC/Mac and have it downloaded from there.

Uploading your Voice Memos to iCloud

You can store your voice memos directly to iCloud by tapping on the specific recording and hitting the share button. Here you’d be able to select “Add to iCloud” which will have the file sent to your iCloud account. 

The alternate method is to keep Voice Memos Enabled in the iCloud settings page of the Settings App. This will have your memos uploaded to your iCloud account automatically at the end of every day.


Recording voice memos may not be for everyone but it surely gets the job done.It can be used in different scenarios like taking note of something important or recording a song to be played again at a later point in time. Voice Memos are a great tool to use but the only drawback is the size of the files that are generated.

Keep in mind that though there’s no limit on how long you can record a voice memo for.

As you are aware of what factors play a role in how long you can record for, it is best to make sure you have adequate storage space and have the audio quality levels set accordingly if you really want to take full advantage of this app. 

So go ahead and start using voice memos, I’m sure you’d enjoy having a portable recorder with you everywhere you go.

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