Recording on your phone is sometimes a necessity. If you’re on the go, struck by sudden inspiration, recording podcasts or video audio, or just need a compact and portable recording system, and have nothing else to hand, a smartphone might be the best option.
So, if you’re asking, “How do I record on my phone?”, this guide is here to give you some tips and recommendations for getting the most out of smartphone recordings.
If you’re in a rush, here’s a quick guide to recording on your phone with an external mic. If you’re using your smartphone’s microphone, just simply go to your recording app and hit record.
- Choose the right microphone for you (we’ve listed our favourites at the end of the article)
- Connect your mic to your smartphone
- Open your smartphone’s recording app
- Connect some monitoring headphones to the microphone
- Hit record!
How do I record on my phone?
Method 1: Use your smartphone’s microphone
While this method won’t give you ideal sound, sometimes it’s the best or only way to capture a moment. Smartphone microphones are generally pretty poor quality as they’re typically designed to be as cheap as possible whilst sounding passable enough to transmit your voice when on a call. They’re not really intended for audio recording.
They’re often noisy, or just lack detail, and are extremely vulnerable to handling or weather noise. However, it’s a fast, convenient, and instant way of recording, which sometimes just wins out.
The microphone is usually located on the bottom of the phone, so position it in front of the source you want to record, find your phone’s recording app, and hit record! Keep your hands out of the way of the microphone and you’ll have your audio. It’s really that simple.
Method 2: Use an external microphone
Using an external microphone obviously sacrifices some convenience and it does increase costs, however, it significantly improves audio quality. For a lot of contexts, this trade-off is more than worth it.
Great for podcasts, instrument recording, field recording, foley, videos, and live streaming, using a portable, phone-compatible mic can really push your audio goals further.
We can’t tell you exactly which mic would suit all of these contexts best, but it’s worth looking into which microphone speaks to you the most. Consider the most fitting polar pattern, the connectivity with the devices you want to use (or whether it’s wireless or not), and the audio quality that you want.
Once you connect the microphone, open your phone’s recording app as you would with the internal microphone. Before you record, connect your headphones ideally to a headphone output on the mic to prevent latency, and listen back as you hit record.
Our top tips
- Consider using aeroplane mode or do not disturb mode on your phone to prevent calls or texts from interfering with your recording
- Make sure you set your gain levels correctly! You might need a compact mixer for this, an app, or onboard controls on the mic itself
- When monitoring, try to use the headphone output on the microphone itself to reduce latency
- Be mindful of microphone positioning; try to put it directly in front of and at least a few inches back from what you want to record
- Try to do some test recordings before capturing what you need; check your mic position, gain settings, and headphone volume, and if there’s any background noise to contend with
Our recommendations for a good smartphone setup
Sennheiser MKE 400
The Sennheiser MKE 400 Camera Microphone and Mobile Kit is an all-inclusive package for audio recording needs. Its precision and directional capabilities, alongside integrated windscreen and shock absorption features, assure high-quality sound capture. The kit includes TRS and TRRS cables for easy connection with various devices.
The additional Mobile Kit offers a robust tripod and smartphone clamp, an extra windscreen, and a storage pouch. The tripod’s design ensures stability, while the smartphone clamp provides flexibility in orientation. This comprehensive solution promises convenience, flexibility, and superior audio quality for every recording requirement.
Shure Motiv MV88+ Video Kit
The Shure Motiv MV88+ Video Kit is a comprehensive package for high-quality content recording. The ultra-portable microphone, compatible with Lightning or USB-C devices, simplifies the recording process. With the ability to transform any smartphone or tablet into a mobile recording studio, it puts superior sound recording at users’ fingertips.
Included in the kit is the industry-leading tripod, complemented by a phone clamp and shoe-mount mic clip. These provide a sturdy platform for both handheld and desktop use. Post-recording, all components can be securely stored in the provided roll-up bag. This kit offers an all-inclusive solution for on-the-go content creators, making it an excellent choice for quality audio and video recording.
IK Multimedia iRig Mic Video Bundle
The IK Multimedia iRig Mic Video Bundle is a combination of the Mic Video microphone and the iKlip Grip Pro camera grip. The Mic Video, a digital shotgun microphone, is designed for clear audio in audio/visual applications. Compatibility with numerous devices such as smartphones, tablets, and DSLR cameras is ensured by its versatile design.
Included in the bundle is the iKlip Grip Pro, a compact video handle with an ergonomic grip, an onboard Bluetooth shutter controller, 360 degrees of rotation, and a 90-degree adjustable holder angle. When combined, these products provide an ideal solution for recording on the go.
SubZero Wireless Lavalier Mic
The SubZero Wireless Lavalier Mic with USB-C and Lightning Connections is a state-of-the-art wireless microphone system, designed to offer professional audio recording capabilities to Type-C interface devices. It provides a seamless setup process, courtesy of its plug-and-play functionality, and exceptional features that make it suitable for a vast range of applications.
The wireless receiver can be connected simply to the USB-C or Lightning port of one’s device, paving the way for high-quality audio recording. With no complex configurations or additional software installations needed, the system is straightforward and user-friendly.
Professional standards for audio recordings can be achieved using the SubZero Wireless Lavalier Mic. Its reliability, ease of use, and superior sound quality make it an indispensable tool for content creators, educators, and presenters, among others.
Rode Vlogger Kit USB-C Edition
The Rode Vlogger Kit gives you everything you need for a high-quality filming setup. It includes the Rode Me-C mic, which has a condenser capsule and a cardioid polar pattern, meaning only the audio you want to be picked up will be picked up. Any undesirable noise, like background chatter, will be reduced. The mic also has a high-frequency response, guaranteeing every sonic detail is relayed.
Plus, there’s a handy wind clip, so you can record outdoors without the sound of wind ruining your audio. And there’s a MicroLED for professional lighting – because you need to look as good as you sound!
Rode AI Micro Compact
The Rode AI Micro Compact Multi-Platform Audio Interface is a portable, ultra-compact solution designed for high-quality sound recording. It features dual auto-sensing inputs for microphone connection and a high-powered headphone output for sound monitoring. It has been designed for compatibility with various devices, making professional-grade recordings possible on the move.
This interface is ideal for live streamers, podcasters, and musicians, offering zero-latency monitoring and playback. Compatibility with Rode applications, including Rode Connect, Rode Central, and Rode Reporter, is provided for expanded functionality.
Rode Wireless ME Compact
The Rode Wireless ME, an ultra-compact wireless microphone system, has been designed for public speakers, content creators, and interviewers. The box contains a receiver, transmitter, lightning cable, USB-C cable, two furry windshields, a carry case, and a TRRS and TRS 3.5mm cable. A high-powered omnidirectional condenser microphone is located within the transmitter and receiver.
The Wireless ME features Series IV 2.4GHz digital transmission with 128-bit encryption and can provide a connection up to 200m away. It’s also compatible with all free Rode recording apps. The Rode Capture app allows control over your microphone and includes versatile video features such as dual camera mode.
Roland Go:Mixer Pro-X
The Roland Go:Mixer Pro-X Audio Mixer is a compact, portable device that enhances audio in music videos, live streams, and podcasts created with mobile devices. Suitable for individual artists or groups, it allows connection of up to seven audio sources, including professional XLR connections, guitar and bass inputs, and stereo inputs.
High-quality sound is captured with precision and detail, surpassing the capabilities of most smartphones and tablets. Despite its small size, this device combines multi-channel mixing and monitoring. It can operate on four AAA batteries or 5V USB power from a tablet or smartphone.
Compatibility with both Android and iOS devices is ensured by the inclusion of USB Micro-B and four-pole TRRS analog jack cables. The Roland Go:Mixer Pro-X also functions as an audio interface for apps like Roland Zenbeats or Garageband, enabling laptop-based recording and editing. In conclusion, this product offers versatility, portability, and superior sound quality, making it a valuable tool for modern content creators.
Does my phone have a voice recorder?
Most Android devices and all iPhones have a voice recording app by default. If your phone doesn’t have one, or the built-in app doesn’t have the more advanced features you want, there are plenty of third-party options on Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Some external microphones may come packaged with their own apps for phone recording with extra features too.
How do I record audio on my phone?
Point your phone’s microphone, located on the bottom of the phone, at the source you want to record. Make sure your hands are out of the way from the bottom of the phone to ensure your recording is clear. Find the recording app on your phone’s home screen, and hit record.
How long can I record on my phone?
The recording length on your phone depends on the built-in storage on your phone. For example, a 32 GB phone with nothing on it will give you approximately 2000 hours of audio or 62.5 hours per 1 GB of storage. Check your available storage in settings to see how much memory you have to calculate how much recording time you have.
Find out more
It’s pretty simple, really. For crystal-clear on-the-go audio recorded with your smartphone, connect a good-quality external mic. This will block out any external noise and give you a much more detailed, focused recording. If you want to record quickly when inspiration strikes, and it’s purely to get an idea down, your smartphone’s built-in mic will probably suffice!
Now that you know how to record on your phone, why not check out our list of the best microphone brands? And for excellent audio, invest in the type of headphones that suit your needs best. You can also check out our list of our favourite headphone brands here.