Just got the best voicemail message ever from my Mom and I want to save it forever. How can I copy or download it from my Apple iPhone onto my Mac?
In general, Apple seems to feel that voicemail messages live in a special little box on your iPhone where they can’t be touched, shared, saved, copied, or much else other than listened to or deleted. Even when you have your smartphone hooked up to your MacBook, iMac or other system and it’s busy sync’ing with iTunes, those voicemail messages are still in that protected box, inaccessible.
But not to third party apps!
Turns out that underneath the shiny interface of iOS, your iPhone has an entire file system and everything saved on it, from text messages to music files, photos to, yes, voice mail, are just files waiting to be accessed.
Now there are instructions online for how to do so from the command line, but really, why go through all the hassle when there are some very slick applications you can download that let you traipse through the filesystem with a pretty user interface? Of those options, my favorite is IExplorer from Macroplant.com.
To start out, download and launch the program, then simply plug your Apple iPhone into your computer. It pops right up:
That’s my phone, all right. I blanked out my cellphone number.
Since we’re looking for voicemail messages, click on the “Data” tab. The result:
See that “Voicemail” button? Easy, isn’t it.
Click on “Voicemail” and it’ll show you every voicemail message you have on the phone, “deleted” or not (they don’t delete the way you think they do), even letting you play them to confirm which is which:
Since I want to save the three most recent voicemail messages on my own iPhone 5s, I’m going to select the first, as you can see above, then shift-click to select #2 and #3.
They can be exported, en masse, by clicking “Export Selected…” on the bottom.
Now you just need to identify the destination directory, as usual:
Click “Choose a Directory…” (a slightly confusing button label, I admit) and in a matter of seconds the voicemail messages are copied onto your computer:
To confirm, check out the files in the Finder:
Notice that the messages are saved as file type AMR (Adaptive Multi-Rate Codec), but that’s no problem. On the Mac side, QuickTime Player, the Finder and VLC all play them just fine. On the Windows side, these files work with File Viewer Lite, QuickTime Player for Windows and VLC. You can also use a free program like Audacity to convert audio file formats if you want, it’s easy: Open the file in Audacity, then “Save As…” and specify MP3.
That’s it. Now why Apple makes it so darn hard to get to our voicemail messages? I can’t really say.