How to record voicemail to laptop without line-in audio jack

My mom died in February, trying to record her voicemail from my iPhone 4S to an ASUS Q501L laptop running Windows 10 using Audacity 2.1.2.

Connected my iPhone to the laptop using a 1/8th to 1/8th stereo cable. Made sure “Software Playthrough” is checked. However Audacity is only recording external noise such as the TV, not the actual voicemail. Audio host is set to “MME.” Only options given under recording device drop-down menu are “Microphone - Realtek High Definition” and “Microsoft Sound Mapper - Input.” Tried both and Audacity still recording only external noise, not iPhone.

Not sure what the problem is. I borrowed the audio cable from someone, perhaps it’s the problem? Maybe it’s because the audio port is a mono port only meant for microphones? Not sure how to workshop this. Any suggestions welcome.

You have Windows routing problems and I’m not a Windows elf, so we need to wait for one of those.


Connected my iPhone to the laptop using a 1/8th to 1/8th stereo cable.

It doesn’t always fail, but it fails most of the time. Unless your laptop has a blue connector or says Stereo Line-In, it’s not designed for a high volume, stereo connection. Stereo is a bit of a red herring. The important point is the volume of the sound on that cable is far larger than many Mic-In connections can handle. It’s a very common problem. Far and away the best solution is do it in software as that Apple posting suggests.

The other way is to add a stereo USB adapter such as a UCA-202.

I’m guessing this is the proper interconnect cable.

The iPhone socket isn’t a straight stereo connection, but I think this works.


Exit Audacity. Right-click over the speaker icon by the system clock, then choose “Recording Devices”. Right-click anywhere inside the Recording tab and choose “Show disabled devices” then right-click again and check “Show Disconnected Devices”. This should show you an External Microphone if it is not already showing. Right-click over the external microphone and choose “Enable”.

Otherwise there is software you can buy that makes it easy to transfer the voicemails rather than record them in real time. (this one might let you have some features while still a trial).

If you are comfortable with using the “file” command with the command-line, you can do this for free, following to find all the the “.mddata” files, amongst which are the “.amr” voice messages you want.

If you install cygwin with appropriate utilities, I think you can find files with AMR content and rename them to AMR thus:

file * | grep 'Adaptive Multi-Rate Codec' | awk '{ FS = ":" } { print $1 }' | xargs -I file mv file ./vm/file.amr