How To Convert iPhone Voice Memos to MP3 [VIDEO]

Here’s my process for taking Voice Memo recordings off my iPhone and editing them before I post them the the internet.

How I edit Voice Memos after MP3 conversion

  1. In iTunes, select the voice memo you want to edit
  2. Go to “Advanced” and select “Create MP3 Version”
  3. Right click on the newly created file to view the file location
  4. Copy the file into Audacity for editing

The audio recording quality of the iPhone 3G S has been beyond wonderful and enables me to capture my public speaking events quickly and easily. I just hit “record” and put my iPhone on the speaking table. This time, I asked the other speakers if it was okay first as I want to respect people’s choices. I then email them once I finish uploading and we all benefit from having working samples!


Not sure how to get the MP3 option to show up in iTunes?

I’ve made a video for you!


Instructions can be found on the new blog post showing how to change your iTunes settings to allow new imports and conversions to happen in mp3 format

80 thoughts on “How To Convert iPhone Voice Memos to MP3 [VIDEO]

  1. TxGeorod

    Thanks, I had to set the import settings in itunes preferences to the format i want to create….Yea for you!!! ButYour A Girl……;)

  2. Andrea

    How do you get the voice memos INTO itunes? That is what I cannot figure out…it seems it would be a sync of an application but I cannot figure out which one without the warnings iTunes is going to over-write my data and applications in my phone. Hrmpf.

  3. dlc

    found you by googling. I'm trying to convert my voice memos to mp3 but there is no setting in itunes as you have described. Is it the difference between the 3G and 3Gs? or PC and Mac difference?

  4. Buffy Hamilton

    I don't have the “convert to MP3″ option in iTunes either, and I have the latest version of iTunes (PC). I am thinking this only works for the very latest iPhone 3Gs, not for those of us with 3G. This royally bites—how can you edit the longer voice memos without the MP3 option to pull into Audacity?

  5. adriarichards


    The “Convert to MP3″ will not show up until you make the change in iTunes to
    have “mp3″ be your conversion preference.

    It doesn't matter if you have an iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone 2G, iPhone 3G or
    iPhone 3GS.

    You need to go into the iTunes settings and change the conversion preference

    Making a video now

  6. Pingback: iTunes Convert To Mp3 iPhone Voice Memos From M4a | But You're A Girl

  7. pavansura

    It's little confusing. In window's, from itunes top menu, go to Edit -> Preferences -> General Tab -> Import Settings -> Import Using… Select “MP3 Encoder from the dropdown. Save changes.

    Select your memo and now you can see “Create MP3 version” under the Advanced menu option.

  8. Tammie

    Thank you, this was exactly what I needed.
    Now to figure out why my friend who I email his song to can not open the MP3 on his PC. He thinks it is an Apple/PS incompatibility. I think he is missing the right program. If anyone knows…. please enlighten me.

  9. adriarichards

    He should be able to open an .mp3 just fine. Make sure before you email it,
    it has the proper file extension of .mp3. Sometimes Macs will forget. He
    can also download the file and add the extension.

    To play an .mp3. He simply needs iTunes, VLC or Winamp.

    Good luck!

  10. Mark H

    Thanks! Converted over an hour of toads singing in our back yard. We have over 20 this year and it's amazing :) Nice sleep aid recording!

  11. J.J.

    Thank you so very much! I was getting very frustrated at not being able to transfer all my voice memos to a workable format. Awesome help! You made my day! No, make that my month!

  12. Cris

    I'm using the QuickVoice app to record some classes and I also have a U2 concert. how can I access the recordings?
    I would like to transfer all the recordings to my computer as a mp3 file.
    Thanks for your help!

  13. newerahats

    Fantastic website ( I will bookmark it and come back later. Thanks for posting this. Very nice recap of some of the key points in my talk. I hope you and your readers find it useful! discount new era hats Thanks again
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  14. Ada

    Thank you Adria! This is very helpful!

    But I have this problem where, after i convert to mp3, the mp3 file disappears immediately — i can see it existing in the folder WHILE it is being converted, but then it simply disappears — as soon as the conversion is finished — before I can open it in audacity. I wonder if this has ever happened to you, or if you have any advice…?

    Thank you in any case!

  15. Ada

    ignore the above comment, i solved the problem. it was moving the mp3s to a different location for some reason, and i found them.

    Thank you so so very very much for doing this! This will change my life.

  16. Wzr675

    Your videos are the most informative, easy to understand, to the point tutorials I've ever seen! Thanks!

  17. flowergirl

    When I changed the setting to mp3, an error message showed up that I did not have authorization to do this. I hit ok, and it seemed to work anyway. I converted my voice memos to mp3 files, but when i closed itunes and then tried ti reopen it, the same error came up and now i cannot open itunes at all. I am going to try and reinstall it. Anyone have this problem???

  18. DentedSoap

    Read ya article, saw the vid, determined ya voice was sexy,
    Beauty and brains taught me how to covert mp3s, test me!
    So this goes out to you girl! tweet first then text me!
    Cuz you so fly flavor and impressive, nestle

  19. Gisborne

    This is how I solved it: I simply found the file “voice memos” in my computer (Music -> iTunes -> iTunes Media -> Voice Memos , but you can try “search” as well) and converted them to mp3 in Format Factory (I think you can use no matter which converting software). ;)

  20. Mo

    I am still having issues just getting the voice memos on my iphone to sync with my computer. There is no option or toggle on the iphone in itunes to include voice memos at all.

  21. Omied D

    Can you tell me how to get the old voice memos from my iPhone (3GS 16GB – with new itunes) It’s a nightmare. some peoples systems seem to work differently. On mine, when I go to > Iphone > Music > Sync (etc) It deletes all audio on my iPhone, including the voicemails I want to save!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You would think this basic function would be simple for the user.

  22. garg

    Hi, I have changed settings to convert to mp3. But it is in disabled form. I am able to see this option but can’t use it. I am trying to use it with my Ipod touch. Plz suggest. Thanks

  23. garg

    Hi, Thanks a lot for this wonderful video. I have changed settings to convert to mp3. But it is in disabled form. I am able to see this option but can’t use it. I am trying to use it with my Ipod touch. Plz suggest. Thanks

  24. arzu

    I’m having trouble with converting a cda “file” to mp3. It’s a lecture recorded on an iphone and my friend emailed me the cda file, but I cannot open it and can’t even save it in itunes. i have windows vista. i know that cda is not really a file nor has anything on it, but how can i hear the lecture, there must be a way to convert it. would she have to do it directly on her iphone?

  25. Swonyoo

    What i was supposed to do before watching your youtube was find the converting program
    but your instruction was really helpful :0
    Thanks again

  26. Danny

    My itunes advanced menu does not show “convert to mp3″, only “convert to AAC”. How can I fix this?

  27. Robyn

    Adrian, thank you SO much!! I was going crazy the last 2 hours trying to figure this out, then I found your video. Many blessings to you!

  28. Howard

    Hello Adria… For some reason even after reading your article, watching the video, and following the steps (my import preferences are set to MP3) the ‘Convert To MP3′ is still grayed out.  I’m using a Mac with an iPod Touch (4th Generation) and the latest version of iTunes.  Any help is appreciated.  THANKS! 

  29. Emily :)

    Hi. This is a great video btw, and perfect for me, since i really want to change my voice memo into mp3 so that i can edit it in audacity.. yet, I have tried this, and, it seems to not work. whenever I go into looking at the file info, there is nothing about there is nothing under the kind/size etc to begin with about it being an mp4 file (but i presume it is since it is a memo straight from my iphone), the space is just blank. And when i click ‘advanced’ after doing what you said, the convert to mp3 is there but its faded out so i cant click on it. Anyway, so when i did what you said, the ‘convert to mp3′ still wouldn’t let me click on it.. Any ideas? Thanks. :)

  30. Emily :)

    just realized you had the answer to my question lol.. But, when i do this, how do i find ‘Format Factory’? Thanks :)

  31. Rebecca Laffarsmith

    Dear Adria, I’m also getting the warning that Syncing will delete what is on my iPhone and only add things from my iTunes library. I recently changed computers and may not have Synced on this computer before. I have a lot of things I add to my phone that are not necessarily replicated on my computer so I’d rather have my phone tell my computer what information it has on it and I select what to transfer from my computer to my phone. I wish I could just use a File Manager to move files around between phone and computer. Will telling a new computer to Sync my iPhone erase the information on my phone? If so then I need a way to get the voice recordings OFF my phone before I Sync my new computer to it.

  32. Rebecca Laffarsmith

    Well, after all the fuss I found out that when you sync it doesn’t delete anything from your phone. Which is good, very good. But it’s kind of silly that it says it will erase the phone.

  33. Sylvia

    voice memo is still grayed out. everytime i go check, the settings is done for mp3 but still won’t work. :( help :(

  34. eleonore

    i did this once before and it worked fine…I have converted the file about three times now from itunes to mp3 selecting advanced convert to mp3 and when i right click the file it still shows it as an m4a…and when i go to itunes folder its an m4a in there as well…any one can help?

  35. adriarichards

    Hi Eleonore,

    You need to make sure your import settings are for MP3. The location on my PC on iTunes
    10.5 is under “Edit > Preferences > General > Import Settings”

  36. Ekeith

    I just got an iPhone 4s and have tried this…   Using iTunes 10.5 and cannot get this to work.
    1. Preferences are under the Edit menu.
    2. The “create MP3 version” option is available for music files, but it is greyed out for Voice Memos.

  37. Ekeith

    I did similar….

    Found the files on the disk and copied them to the Music library in iTunes… Then the create mP3 version is not grayed out.

  38. Marie

    Just wanted to say a quick thanks Adria for the above – so simple, yet so useful! Don’t think I would have worked it out on my own!

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