There are plenty of reasons why someone would need to backup their voicemails; perhaps for legal purposes or to save the voice of a deceased loved one. Whatever your reasons are, this guide will show you two ways to backup the voicemails from your iPhone in MP3 format.
Note: This tutorial is for Windows. The same concepts will apply for Mac operating systems but not all of the programs mentioned here are built for a Mac. You can still use this article as a guide but will not be able to follow it exactly.
There are two different methods we suggest as the best ways for backing up your iPhone voicemails. If you have iTunes installed and are able to sync your iPhone, you’ll be able to get 100% quality voicemail backups and preserve them in MP3 format. If you don’t have access to iTunes or are unable to sync your iPhone for any reason, there is another method available that takes a little more tinkering and produces near-transparent quality backups.
Recovering Deleted Voicemails
Before we begin with the guide, are there any voicemails you have received and then accidentally deleted from your iPhone? There’s still a chance that they can be recovered, so read this section before continuing with the guide, as proceeding will destroy any chance at recovering deleted voicemails.
If you had a voicemail on your iPhone, synced your iPhone to your computer while the voicemail was still on it, deleted the voicemail from your iPhone since then, and have not re-synced yet, the voicemail can be easily recovered.
Let us say this just for clarification: Do NOT plug your iPhone into your computer if you are trying to recover a voicemail. Doing so can erase your older backups, thereby deleting any instances of the voicemails you are trying to recover. As long as you aren’t trying to recover a deleted voicemail, proceed with this guide as normal. If you are, still proceed, but disregard steps that tell you to sync your phone.
Converting Voicemails to MP3
If there are no deleted voicemails that you’re trying to recover, we recommend the following steps. On your iPhone, permanently delete any unimportant voicemails. There is no way to distinguish between different voicemails on your computer, so getting rid of the irrelevant ones will save you time in the future. After that, sync your iPhone to your PC so there is a fresh backup made of all your current voicemails.
You will need two programs in order to preserve your voicemails in MP3 format. Download iBackupBot and AMR Player. Installation is straight-forward on both programs. You can just install both of them with all of the default settings.
Once the programs are installed, run iBackupBot (there should be a shortcut on your desktop). iBackupBot will scan your iTunes backup folder for any iPhone backups you have on your computer. It lists the backups it finds under “iTunes Backups” in the left column. In the screenshot below, iBackupBot has found iTunes backups for a phone named ‘howtogeek’ which we’ve selected:
Scroll down until you find your voicemails. They will be in the format of “Library/Voicemail/xyz.amr” (xyz being some number). It’s impossible to know which voicemail is which, so you’re best off to just select all of your voicemails (click the check box next to each one):
After you have selected the voicemails, go to File > Export.
Choose to only backup the selected files, and uncheck the box that backs it up with import information (unless you are actually planning to put these voicemails on another iPhone).
After clicking OK, it will ask you where to place the voicemails. Choose the location, click OK, and your voicemails will be exported there. Great, so we have our voicemails, but they’re in this ugly amr format. Now open up AMR Player (if there isn’t a shortcut on your desktop, go to Start and type AMR Player).
Once AMR Player is open, click on “Add File” and select the voicemails. You’ll need to repeat this step until every voicemail has made it into the queue.
After all the voicemails have been imported into AMR Player, highlight them one at a time and click “AMR to MP3”. It’s inconvenient that this has to be done one at a time, but it’s a free and easy way to preserve these voicemails that can sometimes be priceless.
If you are in a situation where your iPhone can’t be synced to your computer, or you don’t want to install iBackupBot and AMR Player, you can use an auxiliary cable and the Sound Recorder application built into Windows.
The auxiliary cable will need to be plugged into the microphone jack on your computer.
Once you have your iPhone hooked up via the auxiliary cable, open Sound Recorder by going to Start and typing “Sound Recorder.”
Play the voicemail on your iPhone and hit record on Sound Recorder as soon as you do. When the voicemail is done playing, hit “Stop Recording” and select where you would like the file to be saved. Sound Recorder will save the file as WMA, which is more widely used than AMR, but still not a good file format for archiving your voicemails. To convert the WMA file to MP3, there are a variety of free programs you can use, such as Switch. Instructions are very similar to those for AMR Player.
Note: There are alternatives to the programs mentioned here, but iBackupBot and AMR Player are some of the most lightweight and bloat-free programs available for performing these tasks. Feel free to look around at alternatives, as the instructions for using them are likely similar.
Korbin Brown is an IT enthusiast with a passion for writing. He enjoys troubleshooting complex Windows, Linux, and networking issues and sharing his experiences with fellow geeks.
- Published 03/25/13