How do I send a voice message on iPhone and Android?

Voice messaging is an alternative to voice calls or text messages.  Just like text messages, voice messages get instantly sent in a voice mail.  Recipients can access them via a smartphone.

These short audio clips, exchanged over text threads, whether in iMessage, Android Messages, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram or Instagram, are very intimate as they convey your tone better, which is often difficult to achieve via a text message, or when trying to focus on more than one task.

This communication channel has gained popularity among millennials and many other users because it’s quick, convenient and easy to use – particularly if you’d like to send a long message but cannot be bothered to type. It also helps you to express yourself, is more reliable than dictating to Siri, and is a great way to communicate when multi-tasking.

On popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and even  Instagram, this functionality is very similar to leaving a voicemail with the main difference that the recipient cannot interrupt the message by picking up the phone to chat.

The popularity of this technology has soared. According to Facebook, voice messages are now the second most popular files shared through its Messenger platform, after images. However, voice messaging in itself isn’t new – the service has been widely used in China as a result of the popularity of WeChat and the app’s extensive support for voice messages.


What tech is behind voice messaging features?

Voice message use two key types of technology to function. The first is Audio Messaging Interchange Specification (AMIS), a standard used in voice and call processing. It enables the transmission of voicemail messages between voicemail systems of different vendors. Prior to the Audio Messaging Interchange Specification, devices made by different manufacturers could not communicate with each other.

In short, Audio Messaging Interchange Specification provides all the necessary steps to network voice processing applications, irrespective of the manufacturer.

The second piece of technology is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This is the technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. It’s the reason why voice notes on apps that don’t use minutes up of your contract can be sent in an instant whenever you are connected to the internet.


How do I send a voice message?

Firstly, it’s important to highlight the fact that there is a difference between voice memos and text-to-text massages. The latter allow you to dictate text messages to your phone’s mic and the text message is typed out for you, whereas the former lets you record and send audio clips of your voice.

Voice messaging on iPhone: Recording and sending voice messages can be done directly in an iMessage chat on your iPhone. When you open a conversation, just touch and hold the microphone icon in your text box and start speaking. When you’re done speaking just lift your finger off the screen to stop recording. You’ll then be given the option to play your message back, delete it, or send it to the person or group at the receiving end of the chat. Voice messages disappear in iMessage chats after two minutes. Although you can save them for longer if you choose by going to Settings > Messages > Audio Messages > Expire.

Voice messaging on Android: Android phones support similar functionality through the Messages app. Before you start recording your messages, if you own a device that supports Android 6.0 and up, you’d need to give Messages permission to access your mic and to send and receive files. Sending a voice message is easy: Open the Messages app > Open or start a conversation > Press and hold Mic  > Record your message and tap send . If you don’t want to send the voice memo, simply swipe left on the chat or close the message.

The process of recording and sending a voice message using WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or other messaging apps is very similar to the ones outlined above. You just need to open a conversation, tap and hold the mic and start speaking. The difference with WhatsApp is that the message will automatically send once you’ve removed your finger from the mic. While recording a voice message, you can swipe left to cancel it.

It’s important to remember that audio messages have an accessibility problem because they cannot be captioned. This means that the feature isolates people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Therefore, try to carefully consider the recipients of each voice message before sending them.


What about audio-social apps?

2020 also saw the launch of audio-social apps like Clubhouse, Wavve and Spoon, as a result of mass social isolation and screen fatigue caused by the pandemic. These apps don’t require any scrolling on a screen, meaning that you can participate in the conversation while you’re on your daily walk or driving to the nearest store. Once you are into one of the rooms in Clubhouse for example, you can just sit back and listen, or participate in the conversation, without needing to call a specific person and wait for them to answer the phone. Furthermore, you get to talk to different people which is something we’ve all missed during the pandemic.

Interested in finding out more about how messaging apps work? Read some of our other articles here: