iPhone Recording Options
March 22, 2013 7:57 AM   Subscribe

I have a need to record phone conversations that occur on an iPhone. What are my options?

This can be software or hardware. I am looking for the best quality and prefer the expense to be reasonable. To preempt any ethics debate these conversations would be informed consent interviews. I'd like the solution to be fairly easy to use. I have read the previous questions, but the landscape has changed, so I am hoping there are better options available now.
posted by cjorgensen to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is not the answer you are looking for, probably, but when I record interviews, I put the phone on speaker and set a hand held digital recorder on the desk or in my hand. Google "digital voice recorder" and there are models with all different capacity, features and cost. Works great for me.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:55 AM on March 22, 2013

One option is to route your calls through a Google Voice number. Then (assuming it's enabled in your online account), you just hit "4" and it will record the whole call for you (or until you hit "4" again).

One unfortunate limitation is that it only works in incoming calls. . .
posted by Betelgeuse at 12:24 PM on March 22, 2013

I recommend the Olympus TP7, which is a microphone that sits in your ear, and a proper digital recorder such as this one. iPhone software does not have access to the audio stream from a phone call. If you want a really high quality recording, use a setup like the one I just described. This is the sort of gear used by semi-pro and professional journalists and persons in the legal profession. The TP7 in-ear recorder method works equally well for recording from any cellphone, face to face conversations and POTS phones. If you hear it, it gets recorded.
posted by thewalrus at 1:36 PM on March 22, 2013

Here's what Mac 911 suggests.
posted by bearwife at 5:39 PM on March 22, 2013

So the simplest possible answer is to start the call, then set the iPhone to "speaker", set it down, and have a mic nearby. If that's good enough quality-wise then go for that. Piece of cake.

That said: I had a situation where I needed to record an iPhone conversation to my computer, but I needed to record my voice and the other guy's voice to separate tracks. The catch was I really wanted to do this without putting a mic to a speaker which is gonna degrade the quality. Especially with the dinky iPhone speaker. So what I wanted to do was patch straight from the iPhone headphone jack to the audio-in on my laptop.

If this is what you want to do, the best solution I came up with was under $15 and more than met my needs. I needed:
- an inline mic adapter
- an everyday M/M Stereo minijack cable
- the mic on my laptop & a pair of headphones

So what you do is, you connect the mic adapter to the iPhone headphone jack, and the M/M stereo cable from that to the audio-in on your computer/sound card. Clip that little mic to your shirt. Set your software to record to track 1 from the line-in and to track 2 from your computer's (built-in or external or whatever) mic. Have it pass through track 1 (or both) to the headphones.

What'll happen is when you speak, your voice gets picked up by the inline mic adapter (so the other person hears you) and the computer mic (so you get recorded to track 2). Your sound quality on the recording is as good as the computer mic dictates. When the other person speaks, it gets recorded to track 1 and passed through to your headphones. Their sound quality is as good as the call quality allows, not limited by the iPhone speaker.

The software I used was Logic Express 9, so send me a message if you want tips on that side of it. You should be able to do this with pretty much any recording software though.

Good luck!
posted by churl at 11:15 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

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