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Recording Voicemail from an iPhone to an Apple MacBook Pro 13″

May 24, 2014

**Note – this post was originally written in 2014.  Since then Apple has released iOS9 which allows you to easily share voicemail messages. **

 

  • Open the Phone app and tap on the Voicemail tab.
  • Tap on the voicemail message you want to share.
  • Tap on the new Share button.

 

My cell phone contract recently expired and although it is easy to back up photos, music, and apps – voicemail messages are lost when you switch carriers.  I wanted was looking for a way to export my voicemail.

The problem is that my Apple MacBook Pro 13″ with Retina Display does not have a line-in port.  A line-in port is required to record audio from another device. Instead of a line-in port my MacBook Pro has a combination headphone/microphone port.  The Apple Support Article MacBook and MacBook Pro (13-inch): How to use the combination audio port for an audio input device suggests that it is possible to use the combination port as an input device.  However, when I plug my iPhone into the combination port with a mini-stereo plug cable, the “Use audio for: Sound Input” selection does not appear.  Why?  Because that capability was discontinued on MacBooks manufactured after 2012, the article is outdated.

Today you can find a few iPhone Apps available in the iTunes Store that can help you extract voicemail messages from your iPhone to your computer.  Unfortunately many of them appear to be expensive or complicated to use.  Reviews also indicate that some apps do not function as advertised.  Furthermore these apps are specific to saving voicemail messages and offer no other functionality.  But don’t despair….

There is a more seamless, low-cost, hardware solution that will help you save voicemail messages from your iPhone to your computer.

Here is what you will need to purchase:

I chose the lower cost Plantronics USB Audio adapter which was bundled with an old headset because it was readily available to me.

The Plantronics USB Audio adapter does not require a driver or any additional software, once it arrives follow these steps:

  1. Plug the Plantronics USB Audio adapter into an available USB port on your MacBook.
  2. From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences.
  3. Choose Sound from the View menu.
  4. Click the Input tab.
  5. From the Select a device for sound input: menu, select the C-Media USB Audio Device

Next, take the 3.5mm Male/Male Stereo Audio Cable and plug one end (it doesn’t matter which end) into the headphone jack of your iPhone, and the other end into the mic input on the Plantronics USB Audio adapter.  When you are done it should look like this:

PLANTRONICS

Now you are ready to record your voice mail messages!

Follow these instructions:

  1. Launch Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 11.19.24 AM it should already be installed on your computer and is located in the Applications folder.
  2. Once QuickTime Player has launched, create an audio-only recording by choosing File > New Audio Recording.
    Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 11.21.56 AM
  3. Click the circular record button once to start your recording, then immediately play your voicemail from your phone.  It will take a little bit of practice to synchronize the timing of pressing the play button on the iPhone voicemail and the record button in QuickTime Player.
    Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 11.23.06 AM
  4. When your voice mail has ended, to stop recording, click the stop button in the menu bar.
  5. When you close the recording window it will give you an opportunity to save it.Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 11.26.32 AM

I hope this post has been helpful.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    May 24, 2014 8:58 pm

    I ran into the same problem but found a different solution.

    I got Airserver for OS X. It lets your Mac act like an Apple TV. Swipe up to reveal control center on your iOS device and select your Mac as the output device. You can do video plus audio or just high quality audio. Then I used something to record Mac audio. I tried QT but for some reason it came out tinny so I used SnapZ Pro which I already had installed.

    Nice thing about this is it is wireless and once it is installed on your Mac it works with all the iPhones and iPads in your house.

    It is a funny feeling to see your iPhone screen on your Mac. Very cool. I also use this for iPad training. I can record videos of my actions on the iPad or I can show the iPad screen during an online session.

    • May 25, 2014 7:23 am

      Thanks for the feedback John, I have used Airserver but I haven’t had a chance to check out SnapZ Pro (I will now!).

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