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

This entry was posted in In Real Life, iPhone, Tools I Use, Videos I made, Your Data on by .

About Adria Richards

Adria Richards is a developer and entrepreneur focused on digital equality. She has worked in the tech industry since 1998 solving big problems for companies of all sizes. Embracing her inner nerd, Adria moved moved to San Francisco in 2010 to pursue her passion for technology. Previously she has worked in technical and training roles for enterprise, nonprofits and startups; from Apple to Zendesk. Adria is a popular speaker and gives talks about culture, communication and diversity. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, yoga and bacon; not necessarily at that order. Her Twitter account is followed by President @BarackObama.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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?

  5. 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

  6. Danny

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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! 

  9. 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. :)

  10. Emily :)

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Sylvia

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

  14. 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?

  15. 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”

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

Comments are closed.