How to use an iPhone as a microphone

The days of convergence are upon us and the way in which people utilize their iPhone continues to astonish. As someone who has covered trade shows, I’ve found that you can use an iPhone as a microphone, removing the need to carry an extra piece of equipment. There are a few options, so let’s break them down.

Use iPhone as microphone

Apple’s Voice Memos
Your iPhone comes with an application titled ‘Voice Memos’ that resides in the Utilities folder. While it may be hidden, this app packs a punch, offering a number of valuable features.

Voice Memos iPhone

The red button to the left allows you to start recording. Apple includes a audio level meter, helping you monitor your levels. Keeping levels below ‘0’ is recommended for the best quality audio. Going past this could result in distorted audio.

iPhone microphone

As you record, you can pause if you would like one long segment that includes the occasional pause in recording. Pressing the stop button concludes your recording.

From the main window, the menu icon on the right will bring up all of your audio recordings. You can share these via email or messaging. The resulting audio file is an .m4a format. This is a compressed audio file, similar to an .mp3, but they use Apple’s lossless compression format.

Share audio

Tip: The microphone on the iPhone is at the bottom left, adjacent to the dock connector and speaker.

The Voice Memos app is minimal in its features, but does the trick and it’s completely free.

Expanded Voice Memo Features
If you are looking for similar, but more robust features in a voice memo app, consider Recorder Pro. This app allows you to organize your recordings by categories you create. You can also record in a variety of formats that include AIFF, AIFC, CAF and WAV. This app also includes easy transfer via iTunes, WiFi Sync and sharing via email.

Recorder Pro iPhone

Output your iPhone microphone to a PA system or mixing board
If you are looking for more options, then you should check out VonBruno Microphone Pro. Where as Voice Memos simply records your audio, this app allows you to utilize your iPhone as a microphone, in the traditional sense of the word. The audio from the microphone travels through this app, to either your external speakers or the headset jack. Theoretically, you could connect the 3.5mm headset jack on your iPhone to a mixing board, utilizing the microphone in amplify your voice through a PA system.

VonBruno microphone

VonBruno Microphone ($0.99) is available in the App Store.

They also offer VonBruno Microphone Pro ($4.99), which is optimized to “provide the lowest latency possible on your device while providing crisp and clear CD audio reproduction”.

Given the price variance, select the app that makes the most sense for you depending on your needs.

Microphone for iPhone
If you are looking for an actual microphone to plug-in to your iPhone, the iRig Mic retails for $59.99. This comes with a jack that connects via the 3.5mm headset jack and works with an assortment of apps.

iRig mic

Using your iPhone as a microphone is just one in a long line of amazing things that can be accomplished with the iPhone. Whether you are creating voice memos, talking to a live audience over a PA or singing and recording your next big hit, leave your microphone at home and use your iPhone.

  • Dan

    Which devices work with Bluetooth (i.e., to a Bose wireless speaker)?

    • paula

      So did you ever manage to do this? I am trying to do it at present myself without success, can do it with a samsung mobile but not with the iphone. Feeling very frustrated at present. Would love to hear how you went, and what you did.

  • http://gravatar.com/minorbob minorbob

    Would love to know if there’s an answer to Dan’s question.

    • http://www.everythingicafe.com Christopher Meinck

      I haven’t done any testing yet of Bluetooth as a mic. You could check our forums and see if anyone has had any success, along with what models they have used. Thanks for commenting and visiting the site.

  • Jerome Henwood

    Buying a Bluetooth headset /mic I let ya no if I can use I phone 4s as a mic for headset via Bluetooth the disabling mic boom on headset may be a problem? I will be happy to keep ya posted with my armor otter box if am concerned of audio quality so hence the Bluetooth headset but thinking at mt age a voice mic might be handy keep the hearing aid at bay..

    Jah light

  • Ward Simmons

    I’m also looking for a way to use my iPhone as a mike in conjunction with a Bluetooth speaker. I’m eager to hear if anyone has had success.

  • http://www.paulakoda.com Paula

    Just an update on my efforts to use the iPhone 4S with Bluetooth bose wireless speaker and plantronics earpiece as a small PA system to a live audience. Still no success, having spoken to the apple store people and the tech staff, it appears this is not yet possible on an iPhone. The Von Bruno app developer has also confirmed that this is not yet possible with the iPhone either. So off to buy an android, as it does work on both I have tried.