How to Quickly Record Audio on Your Mac Using Built-in Apps

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Need to record audio on your Mac? Here are the easiest ways to do it without third-party apps or external microphones.


Person speaking into a microphone connected to a computer.

A Mac can be a great machine for creative work. Whether you want to record podcasts or create a quick explainer for a presentation, your Mac can handle it. There are various built-in apps you can use to record crisp audio on your Mac, which we’ll cover today.

Do you need an external microphone?

All Macs have an internal mic that works great for basic tasks, such as FaceTime video calls or Zoom meetings.

However, if you plan to record professional-quality sound, perhaps for a podcast or voiceover, it is advisable to get an external mic. An external mic can cost as little as $ 50 these days. However, be sure to do your research to choose one that meets your specific recording needs. Microphones designed to record music, instruments, vocals, podcasts, and voiceovers can be quite different in terms of quality and price.

Recordings made from USB microphones generally sound better than other microphones, unless you have a dedicated audio interface. The reason is that the conversion of analog audio to digital audio is done by the USB microphone itself, which leads to more refined and better sound quality.

Related: How to Adjust Mic Sensitivity on Your Mac

There are several apps you can use on your Mac to quickly record audio. We’ve covered some of these apps below.

Go to System Preferences> Sound> Input to select your internal or external microphone.

Record audio using voice memos

Voice memos are the primary interface for recording audio on your Mac. It works the same as the Voice Memos app on your iPhone or iPad. To use it:

  1. Go to Finder> Applications on your Mac.

  2. Open up Voice memos.

  3. If this is your first time opening the app, you can choose whether or not to enable voice memos for iCloud, which allows you to sync your recordings to your device.

  4. Once you are ready, press the red button to start recording.

  5. You can choose to pause your recording if you need to review something or repeat something for later.

    Record audio using voice memos

  6. When finished, click on the pause button followed by Ended. This will end the recording.

  7. Double click on the recording name to rename it to your preference.

That’s it! You can choose to edit or cut the recording later. The Edit The option allows you to replace a specific part of the audio with a new recording, which is great if you made a small mistake and want to change it. The Accompaniement The option, as the name suggests, allows you to mute the audio from the beginning or the end. Both options can be located by clicking on the recorded audio file while holding down the Control key.

Edit the recording in voice memos on your Mac

You can also choose between recording compressed or lossless audio in voice memos. To do this, open the Voice memo preferences in the menu bar and make your choice.

Related: How To Record Audio From Websites On Your Mac

Recording audio using QuickTime

The second option to record audio on your Mac is to use QuickTime Player. QuickTime Player is Apple’s default app for video playback, but it can also be easily used to record fast audio.

Here is a step by step guide on how to record audio with QuickTime on Mac:

  1. Open up Quick Time Player of Applications case.

  2. Open To file in the menu bar and select New audio recording.

    New recording in Quicktime

  3. Choose the quality of your file and the desired microphone by pressing the button down arrow next to the red record button.

    Record audio in Quicktime

  4. Hit it red record button to start your recording.

  5. When you’re done, press the same button to finish and record your audio.

One advantage of QuickTime Player is that it lets you select the microphone of your choice from within the app, instead of using the system’s default microphone, such as voice memos. However, it doesn’t offer to edit audio like voice memos do, which can be a vital feature.

Audio recording using third-party software

In addition to these built-in default software, there are several third-party options for recording your audio. One example is Audacity, which provides more advanced tools for recording and editing audio for free. You can also choose to use GarageBand, which has a bit of a learning curve, but can be very useful once mastered.


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