Live Captions FI

How to Transcribe Audio on the iPhone

The Voice Memos app doesn’t have a built-in way to take a voice recording and turn it into text on a screen. But using Live Captions, an accessibility feature, you can transcribe audio and read what it says on your iPhone or Mac.

You can use Live Captions if your device language is set to English and you are using an iPhone 11 or newer running at least iOS 16. Live Captions is also supported on the iPad 8 or newer, iPad Air 3rd generation or newer, iPad Mini 5th generation or newer, iPad Pro 11 inch all generations, and iPad Pro 3rd generation or newer. All iPads must be running at least iOS 16.

Use Live Captions to Transcribe a Voice Recording

Live Captions is an accessibility feature that uses on-device processing to convert spoken dialogue into real-time text displayed on the screen. It can also be used to transcribe voice notes and take FaceTime calls so you can see what other people are saying.

Live Captions on the iPhone or iPad

To Turn on Live captions on your iPhone or iPad:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap Accessibility
  • Scroll down and tap Live Captions
  • Toggle on the switch for Live Captions (Beta)

Once toggled on, you can change the appearance, leave it as the default settings, and customize it later.

Using Live Captions to Transcribe Voice Memos

Once you have Live Captions turned on:

  • Open the Voice Memos app on your iPhone or iPad
  • Locate the recording you want to transcribe and hit the play button.

The Live Captions feature will take your voice clip and transcribe audio on the screen of your iPhone or iPad. If you prefer to read the voice recording, turn the volume to zero, and only the Live Captions will be on the screen.

Once you are done, tap on the back arrow in the Live Captions box to minimize it. You can also turn off Live Captions by returning to Settings>Accessibility>Live Captions and toggle off Live Captions (Beta).

Bonus Tip: Use the Translate app or Messages to read what a person is saying

The following tips will help if you’re hard of hearing and want to see what a person speaking to you is saying.

Using the Translate app

  • Open the Translate app
  • Be sure the Translation tab is highlighted
  • The top language needs to be English or the language you understand.
  • Tap the Microphone button and ask the person to speak.

The transcribed audio will then appear on the screen so you can read it.

Using the Messages app

  • Open the Messages app
  • Start a new conversation with yourself as the contact
  • Tap the + button and choose Audio
  • Now, hold your iPhone near the speaker and have them speak. When they finish, tap the stop button and send this voice note.
  • What the voice recording says will appear under the audio.

To save a voice recording, push and hold on to the audio and save it to Voice Memos.


While the Voice Memos app lacks a direct transcription feature, Live Captions, an accessibility tool, allows users to transcribe voice recordings on iOS devices. By enabling Live Captions in the device settings, users can effortlessly convert spoken dialogue into text in real-time, providing accessibility and convenience. Additionally, leveraging Live Captions for Voice Memos and bonus tips like the Translate or Messages app offers a comprehensive solution for transcribing and understanding spoken content on iPhones and iPads.

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