How to Record an Interview on Your Smartphone

By Sunny Jane Morton

Sign up for the Family Tree Newsletter Plus, you’ll receive our 10 Essential Genealogy Research Forms PDF as a special thank you!

Get Your Free Genealogy Forms

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Mobile apps make it easier than ever to record interviews on the go and share them with family members. Some platforms even allow you to save oral history interviews to your online trees. Follow this quick tutorial to record and share family history interviews on your smartphone.

Need inspiration for your family history interview? Here are a few questions to get started.

record interviews on your smartphone
Record family history interviews on the go by recording and sharing them with your smartphone.

1. Open your preferred voice recorder app.

On an iPhone, tell Siri to “open voice recorder” to get to the default recorder. (You may need to download an audio recording app to your Android device; on a Windows device, open OneNote and open a new note.) You can also record audio within ancestral profiles in the FamilySearch and MyHeritage apps.

2. Begin recording.

Tap the appropriate icon to begin recording. In the iPhone voice memo, it’s a big red button. In OneNote, tap the microphone icon within a new note.

3. Direct your device’s mic toward the speaker(s) for best sound quality.

4. Ask simple, engaging, open-ended questions.

For ideas, check out our resource list for oral history interviews.

5. Tap the appropriate icon to pause the recording, if needed, and to stop it when finished.

Follow the prompts to save the file and, if possible, name it.

6. Use free audio-editing tools such as Audacity to polish your recording.

Transfer the completed file for long-term storage. If appropriate, share the recording on your online family tree.

A version of this article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Be ready for your next family history chat with a relative by downloading and learning to use one of these handy voice-recording apps.
Use this form to record pertinent information about oral history interviews you conduct.