5 Voice-Recorder Apps for Oral History Interviews

By Gena Philibert-Ortega Premium

It wasn’t so long ago that recording an interview with a relative required a tape recorder and actual cassette tapes. Now, thanks to mobile devices, you have the ability to voice-record interviews and oral histories at a moment’s notice and load these crystal-clear files to your computer.

Here are some voice-recording apps to consider for your next oral history interview:


Apple and Android (Free)

  • Rev works as both a transcription service and voice-recording app
  • Recording files can be trimmed
  • Files can be sent through email and saved in Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive

Tip: A great feature includes the app’s ability to record in the background.

Skyro Voice Recording

Android (Free and Paid versions)

  • Instantly sync recordings to Dropbox
  • Tag recordings by keyword or location
  • Record in uncompressed WAV or MP3 format, from 64kbps (kilobits per second, a measure of data transfer speed) to 320kbps

Tip: You can’t record audio during phone calls, so set your phone to Do Not Disturb mode while recording.

Voice Memos

Apple (Free)

  • Trim recordings while saving the original
  • Send files through Airdrop, email or text
  • Save files to Google Drive or Dropbox

Tip: Voice Memos files can also be added, copied or shared to other apps such as Todoist, Slack, Signal and WhatsApp.


Apple and Android (Paid)

Tip: Files recorded with Evernote can’t be edited or sent.

iRecorder Pro

Apple (Paid)

  • Record for hours
  • Start recording with just a tap
  • Download recordings with Wi-Fi sync

Voice Recorder & Audio Editor

Apple (Free and Paid versions)

  • Free version includes as much storage as allowed by your device
  • Share recordings through email, text, and social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter
  • Paid version includes adding notes, no ads, and speech-to-text transcription

A version of this article appeared in the December 2014 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Updated November 2020

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