The Free Way to Save iPhone Voicemails on Your Mac
Voicemails are like chores for me. I have to listen to them, but never really feel like doing it. When I finally do, most of them get deleted right away, but every so often they'll be one I save and listen to over and over again, whether it's a cute birthday wish from grandma or a hilarious joke from my friend.
When you come across a voicemail that you want to keep forever, transferring it over to your computer makes total sense, but it's not a simple task to do if you have an iPhone. While there are apps like iExplorer and PhoneView, they cost too much to use just for a voicemail here and there.
Instead of handing down any cash, I'm going to show you how to extract all of the voicemails on your iPhone to your computer and convert them into shareable files, all thanks to a few Terminal commands.
Don't worry, the process might sound tedious, but it's straightforward and simple enough to understand as long as you follow the steps below.
Step 1: Back Up Your iPhone
If you want the voicemails from the iPhone you're currently using, you'll need to backup your device through iTunes—not via iCloud. Do so by connecting your iPhone to your computer, opening iTunes, and clicking on Back Up Now from your iPhone's Summary page. If you want to pull voicemails from an older backup, skip directly to Step 2.
Step 2: Find the Backup Folder
After the backup is complete, you'll need to find the folder where the iPhone backup is stored.
Press and hold down the Option key.
Click Go in the menu bar.
Go to Application Support -> MobileSync -> Backup.
All of your iTunes backups will be in the Backup folder. Show all of your items in List View so that you can see the date for each backup. That way you'll find your most recent backup or older ones that you want to pull voicemails from.
Step 3: Copy & Rename the Backup Folder
Since you don't want to mess up your backup (for future purposes), we're going to make a copy of the folder and paste it onto your desktop. Simply right-click on the backup folder and select Copy "Backup Folder Name".
Now right-click on an empty space on your desktop and select Paste Item. Since these backups are pretty large, it might take a few seconds for the folder to copy over to your desktop.
Rename the folder to something easier than those mess of letters and numbers by right-clicking on the folder, selecting Get Info and entering a name into the Name & Extension: box. Let's use iOSBackup as the name, to make things simple.
Step 4: Use Terminal to Find Voicemails
Since all of the files in the backup folder are gibberish, we need to find which ones are voicemails. To do this, we'll need the help of Terminal. Open up Terminal and change to your iOSBackup folder by entering:
Now you'll need to enter the following command to identify which files are voicemails:
file * | grep GSM
A list of files will begin appearing, all of them voicemails.
Step 5: Copy These Files to Your Desktop
While this may seem like a hassle, you'll need to copy the 40-digit alphanumeric name for each file and enter them into a search box individually in your Finder to easily locate them. Drag each file to your desktop so you have them all in one place.
If you guys can come up with a better, faster way to do this, we're all ears!
Step 6: Rename Files with .Amr File Extension
Now that you have all your voicemails in place, right-click on each one, select Get Info, and add an .amr file extension to the end of the long name. Close the Get Info window and click on Add when it asks you if you want to add the file extension.
Step 7: Play & Convert in QuickTime
Doing this will convert your files so that you can play them using the QuickTime Player. When you find the ones you want to keep by listening to them in QuickTime Player, go to File, click on Export and select Audio only....
Now press Save and your voicemail will be saved in an .m4a file that you can share and upload on the internet. And that's all there is to it.