Transcribe voice memos to text on iPhone

The inbuilt voice recorder, Voice Memos app, on iPhone iPad records voice via internal microphone and saves them as audio files in .m4a format. This audio recorder however doesn’t support audio transcription. As a result we need to manually transcribe audios, play the audio from iOS device and type in a text editor like Microsoft Word, Notes or Notepad on our computer. Is there an app to convert those voice recordings to text automatically? Dictation software, smart audio recorders with automated or machine transcription can help us digitize what we say in real-time. See this tutorial to transcribe voice recordings to text on iPhone using Just Press Record app.

In this quick guide, we will show you how to make use of this third-party sound recorder for iOS to quickly transcribe existing voice memos, verbal notes, speech recording, lecture recording captured using the stock Voice Memos app on iPhone. Note that this is not a free app, it costs $4.99, one time fee.

just press record app logo
just press record app logo

As we mentioned above, this voice recorder app convert voice into text in real-time, it does not allow us to import existing audio recordings from third-party apps or other recorders to transcribe them. A workaround is to copy your voice memos or speech recordings from the Voice Memos to the output folder of the Just Press Record app, then use its machine transcription to transcribe them. See more details below.

Step 1. Change storage location from iPhone to iCloud

Run Just Press Record. Tap Settings from the bottom right corner, find Storage Location and change it from This iPhone to iCloud Drive.

Step 2. Set transcription language & auto transcribe

Also on the same screen as shown above, you need to choose the transcription language; It supports for over 30 languages, independent of your device’s language setting.

Optionally set auto transcribe: All Recordings, Short Recordings or Never.

When you have changed the above three options from the Settings of this app, tap Done button to save the changes you have made.

Step 3. Copy voice memo to iCloud Drive

Try to record a short voice clip using this recorder app. Then tap Browse button at the bottom to view all folders with recordings saved in them on the iCloud Drive. As you can see from the folder list, the first folder was created today 2022-10-21. Other two folders were created when we used it to transcribe voice memos two years ago. By the way, we are still using an old version (Version 35.1) of this app which was released two years ago.

Then open the stock Files app on your iPhone. Browse to iCloud Drive > Just Press Record, you can now see a new folder with the current date as the folder name, 2022-10-21 in this case. What you have just recorded is saved in this folder.

Launch the Voice Memos app, find the recording you want to transcribe. Tap on the recording name to reveal more options, choose the More menu(three dots inside a circle) and choose Save to Files from there. Then browse to iCloud Drive, select the above output folder of the Just Press Record app and save the voice memo to it.

select, copy voice memos, audio recordings to Just Press Recorder folder on iCloud Drive

Step 4. Transcribe voice memo in the Recorder app

Bring the third-party recorder app to the front. You should find the iPhone voice memo from the Recents tab or switch to Browse tab to access the output folder in iCloud Drive and find the imported voice memo or sound recording. Tap on the external recording file to reveal the toolbar below it. Choose Transcribe to convert the voice memo or sound recording into searchable text. Long press on the transcribed text, you can select, cut, copy, lookup, translate or share the text.

iPhone voice memos transcription tips

  • Connect your device to the internet during the transcription process to use its machine transcription to transcribe your voice memos and recordings online.
  • Make sure to select the correct transcription language from the recorder app’s settings. Otherwise your voice, speech can’t be transcribed accurately.

Update Oct 2022: add more screenshots to make the steps easier to follow.

6 thoughts on “Transcribe voice memos to text on iPhone”

  1. Great tutorial:
    I was just able to move a Watch voice recording (recorded yesterday with the original Apple app) as a file to the “JustPressRecords” folder on iDrive then open it in JustPressRecords and have it transcribed, works fine.
    You just have to follow all the steps exactly as described. (IOS 15.6.1, watch OS 8.6)

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