How to save audio messages on your iPhone, and change your settings so audio messages won’t delete after 2 minutes

It's easy to save audio messages on your iPhone, no matter whether you sent or received them.

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It’s easy to save audio messages on your iPhone, no matter whether you sent or received them.
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Shutterstock
  • You can save audio messages on your iPhone by changing your voice message settings in the Settings app so the messages never expire.
  • If you don’t change these settings, any voice message on your iPhone will expire two minutes after you first listen to them.
  • You can also save audio messages to your computer by emailing them, or by linking your iCloud account to your Mac.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

One of the perks of using iMessage to chat with another iPhone user is that you can send audio messages in addition to text, emoji, and photos.

But Apple treats these audio messages like top secret communications – by default, they expire and are permanently deleted two minutes after the first time you listen to them, with no option to get them back.

However, it’s easy to preserve them for longer. Here’s how.

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How to save audio messages on iPhone

When you receive an audio iMessage and play it for the first time, a clock starts counting down from two minutes. When the timer runs out, the audio clip is unceremoniously deleted without warning.

But you can save it – after you listen to it, tap “Keep” under the message. When you keep it, it’ll always be available in Messages for playback.

Tap

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Tap “Keep” to prevent an audio clip from auto-deleting.
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Dave Johnson/Business Insider

How to stop audio messages from expiring on iPhone

Rather than using the “Keep” button to save audio messages, you can change the Messages app’s settings so audio messages no longer expire after two minutes and will always stay available in the Messages app.

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap “Messages.”

3. In the Audio Messages section, tap “Expire.”

Find the Expire option in the Messages app's Settings.

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Find the Expire option in the Messages app’s Settings.
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Dave Johnson/Business Insider

4. Tap “Never.”

You can keep audio clips forever by turning off the Expire option.

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You can keep audio clips forever by turning off the Expire option.
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Dave Johnson/Business Insider

If you don’t trust your phone to keep the audio messages for as long as you’d like, you can also import them onto your computer. However, the methods to do this are a bit complicated.

The “Save” button in Messages no longer works, but you can export audio messages in other ways

Prior to iOS 12, you could export a copy of the audio message to Voice Memos app, where you could share and email it. Starting with iOS 12, though, this doesn’t work.

To truly save an audio message in iMessage, you’ll instead need to get the message onto your computer first. Here’s how to do that.

To save audio messages that you’ve received

If you have a Mac computer, you can send the voice messages you’ve received to your Mac. Once there, you can save the files anywhere on your hard drive.

1. First of all, set up your iCloud account so your iMessages show up on both your iPhone and Mac. For information on how to do this, follow the steps in our article, “How to set up and use iMessage on a Mac computer, and sync it with your iPhone or iPad using iCloud.”

2. Open the messages app on your Mac, and go to the conversation that has the voice message you want to save.

3. Find the voice message and right-click on it. In the right-click menu that opens, hover your mouse over “Services,” and then click “Show in Finder.”

Once someone sends a voice message to iMessage on your Mac, you'll be able to save it.

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Once someone sends a voice message to iMessage on your Mac, you’ll be able to save it.
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William Antonelli/Business Insider

4. The voice message file will be added to a folder called “Transfers,” which will then open. Click and drag that file to your desktop, documents, or any other folder.

Every audio file you save will have the same name:

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Every audio file you save will have the same name: “Audio Message.”
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William Antonelli/Business Insider

The file will be in either .caf or .amr format, which can be opened by the default audio player on your Mac, along with several other popular media players, like VLC.

You can also save voice messages that you’ve sent in the same way. However, if you’re trying to export and save your own voice messages, there’s an even easier way.

To save audio messages that you’ve sent

1. In the Messages app on your iPhone, open the conversation containing the audio message that you’d like to save.

2. Press down on the audio message until a menu pops up. Tap “More…” from the menu.

Since iOS 12, the

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Since iOS 12, the “Save” button hasn’t allowed you to export audio out of the Messages app.
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William Antonelli/Business Insider

3. Select the arrow icon in the lower-right corner.

4. This will bring up a new text message page, with a blank recipient. Instead of typing in a phone number, type in an email address that you have access to.

Make sure that you type your email address correctly.

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Make sure that you type your email address correctly.
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William Antonelli/Business Insider

5. Make sure you’re connected to the internet (either with Wi-Fi or mobile data), and then tap the send button (an upwards pointing arrow) to send the email.

6. Wait a few moments, and then check your email for a message with “No Subject” from your phone number. The voice message file will be attached.

You can download the file like you would any other.

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You can download the file like you would any other.
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William Antonelli/Business Insider

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