Move voice memos to a Mac

Memos be­come even more use­ful when not ma­rooned on your iPhone

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Memos be­come even more use­ful when not ma­rooned on your iPhone

The Voice Memos app is one of the un­sung he­roes of iOS. It’s in­cred­i­bly use­ful for mak­ing notes while you’re out and about with­out hav­ing to tap them into the Notes app. It is also the go-to app if you want to make an au­dio record­ing of a meet­ing.

Once you’ve made a record­ing, it’s stored in the app and can be played back, edited or deleted. But what if you want to use it some­where else? Say, on your Mac for ex­am­ple. You’ll need to get the memo off your iPhone.

There are a num­ber of op­tions for achiev­ing this, in­clud­ing sync­ing with iTunes. Many of us, how­ever, pre­fer to use iTunes as in­fre­quently as pos­si­ble, or avoid it al­to­gether if we can. Thank­fully, there are sev­eral al­ter­na­tive routes to mov­ing your memos to a Mac, although some of them re­quire you to be run­ning iOS 8 on your iPhone and OS X Yosemite on your Mac.

Voice memos are saved as MPEG-4 au­dio files with a .m4a file ex­ten­sion. They’ll play in any ap­pli­ca­tion that sup­ports the for­mat, which means most apps that sup­port au­dio play­back, in­clud­ing Quick­Time Player. So you can edit the au­dio file in Au­dac­ity, say, or im­port it to Ever­note and play it back from there. If you dou­ble-click the file on your Mac, though, it will be im­ported to iTunes and played back from there. So if you don’t want it in iTunes, don’t dou­ble-click it. (Al­ter­na­tively, if you never want to im­port .m4a au­dio files into iTunes by dou­ble-click­ing on them, se­lect a file of that type in Finder, choose File > Get Info, ex­pand the Open With sec­tion of the win­dow that opens, choose your pre­ferred app and then click the Change All but­ton.)

If you’re run­ning older ver­sions of the op­er­at­ing sys­tems, fear not. There are still non-iTunes op­tions avail­able, they’re just not as el­e­gant. Out­lined be­low are three sep­a­rate meth­ods for ex­tract­ing voice memos from your iPhone and putting them some­where more use­ful in­stead. Kenny Hemphill

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