How to record sound on a mac.

How to record sound on a mac.If you come a Windows PC background, you may be familiar with a handy little Sound Recorder application. So what options do we have on the mac for free and simple sound recording?

Option 1: The easy option


If you have Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later, you may use the built in QuickTime 10 player.

  1. Open QuickTime Player from your Applications folder.
  2. Open the file menu and select New Audio Recording.

    How to record sound on a mac.
  3. You will see a very simple user interface that is similar to Windows Sound Recorder. (Picture above)
  4. You may click on the down arrow to select the microphone input, quality, and save destination.
  5. Microphone volume is adjustable with the slider under the record button.

Note: QuickTime 7 is also built into earlier versions of Mac OS X. However, audio recording was a paid feature of QuickTime Pro.

Option 2: For power users.


You can also try the free and open source Audacity sound recorder. It is a powerful recorder, editor, and converter. You can find a version that is backwards compatible with macs running much older versions of OS X. It has a steeper learning curve than QuickTime’s audio recording feature, but it is far more powerful and better suited for longer recordings where editing is needed.

Audacity user interface on a mac.

You may refer to Audacity’s documentation for an explanation of it’s advanced features.

More great mac tips:

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  • =)

    Thanks, was lookin for some sound recorder. Didn’t know this feature was built into quicktime

  • lrosenvall

    Thanks! that was a huge help!

  • spe11s

    While I was trying out loads of different demo versions of software to record sound from Safari, one of them installed a plugin called Greatdy System Audio which now appears in the drop down audio source menu in Quicktime Player.

    i.e. 1st option is:

    Built-in Input: Line In

    2nd option is:

    Built-in Microphone: Internal microphone

    3rd (new option) is:

    Greatdy System Audio

    If I use this extra option I can record anything on the internet (that isn’t copyrighted of course.)

    This isn’t where I got it from but I guess this should work:

    If this doesn’t work I can post all the different demos that I tried.

    • Guest1111

      Audacity does the same… just select “What U Hear” from the input dropdown menu

  • Bike Pretty

    Just tested the Quicktime Player on my MacBook pro and it worked perfectly for recording a phone interview.
    I put my phone next to the laptop’s microphone on the left-hand side and hit record.
    The quality was actually really great.
    This is going to make conducting interviews so much easier!

    • Samuel Ashdown

      Also a felony if you don’t tell them first, fyi :)

      • Mateusz82

        That depends on the local laws. Some places have “one party” laws, where it’s legal as long as one party is made aware.

      • Bike Pretty

        It was for a magazine profile. Very much on the record.

        • Usedtobe Fishfry

          On the record and very … Hush Hush!

      • gbacoder

        and the US government is not already recording it?

      • tCtree

        dude don’t make blanket statements that make you look ignorant to the law or possibility of differing laws

    • Edward Ebersole

      I just tried mine today and works beautiful. God, you got to sometimes love technology, espcially iMac. It is such a simple and flexible computer.

  • iroq

    My iMac, running OS 10.6, has Quicktime and I used it to create audio files. But the resulting files are .mov, and thus not acceptable for Prezi. How do I convert these files to a format that Prezi accepts: MP3, M4A, FLAC, WMA, WAV, OGG, AAC, MP4, or 3GP ?

    • hello

      Are you sure you didn’t do screen recording?
      If not just go to quicktime and do export as WAV.

      • iroq

        I selected “new audio recording.” What is on my iMac OS 10.6 is QuickTime Player version 10.0. It has no way to export as WAV. Do I not have the right software?

        • JIN

          When you close the recording it will give you a option to save as movie, or audio.. Select audio and hit save it will save to desktop really simple it is.. By the way i just recorded a 6min track dam 30 meg file size is but that’s high quality, anyone know i can i compress it down to 5 meg ?

          • iroq

            Sadly, when I close the recording, it does NOT give me the audio option. That is, the word “audio” is there, but grayed out so I cannot choose it. I cannot use Prezi, although I would like to, because it does not work on my Mac OS 10.6 Quick Time. Still seeking an answer.

          • brit

            Are you sure you’re doing it right?

          • daniel braun
  • King

    Thanks for writing this. Was helpful. Didn’t know the feature was built in.

  • Umair

    Awesome :) thanks

  • pacific

    thank you so much…

  • Horng Jing

    My system is 10.6.8. However when the file save is on .mov extension.
    How can I set to wav or other preference extensions

    • bobjames

      didn’t anybody answer this? How DO you save as wav?

      • Iron Maiden

        Try googling this: change recording from .mov to .wav

        Lots of options here.

        • daniel braun

          just when you save delete .mov and change it to what ever you want like .mp3 or . mov

    • kellygreen

      I also want to record sound for mac, and finally i use a tool, Tenorshare iGetting Audio, it is so helpful for me. I get it from

    • Lily Brown
      This aritcle may help you to download your file with preference extensions.

  • nickbododo

    Garage band?

  • Eddie Callenberg

    I wanna record drum sound from my drum module, will that work with any of those two applications? Eddie.

  • Jake

    Perfect. Just what I needed.

  • Deb

    my quick time has suddenly reverted to QuickTime PLayer 7. And it’s $30 Canadian. Any solutions?

    • vanessa

      Mine did same…have not found solution and do not want to purchase QT Pro…

  • Chris Cotton

    Hi. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. However, when I click on the down arrow, it only has the ‘Built In Microphone: Internal microphone’ option, not the ‘Built In Input: Line in’ option. Anybody know why that might be?

    • Hael

      You might have a mac mini like me, or don’t have the Mactonish monitor (the big white one), I believe the microphone is on the monitor. To solve this problem: Grab soundflower ( and unzip it, yadda yadda, and then when you click on “Soundflowerbed” it should pop up in the corner of your desktop. I have the settings on there on the 2ch to my headset/phones. You also need to open up Sound settings from System Prefs. Have Soundflower as the output and the “Built in input: Line in” as your input in the sound settings. Soundflower should then be an option on Quicktime, select it, and your audio on your desktop should be recorded :)

  • tundern

    I can’t see any save options on my screen, using 10.2 (603.17), or on your screen shot above, and especially in the QuickTime Help. No save = no worth using.

  • Frank

    Audacity is marvelous at one level; a complete pain and irritation at another.

    It does NOT permit spaces in file names– you will forever will be pressing space and the file will start playing! Arrgghh!

    It will repeatedly claim that you have no disk space for saving, even when you have scores of gigs.

    It will balk at exporting files in its different formats–in a seemingly arbitrary fashion.

    It will indicate that a file could not be saved, yet it will change the name of the window you are looking at.

    I finally gave up.

    I had gotten it because I thought I needed some other program to record messages, bird songs, etc.

    No, turns out you do all that through Apple’s own QuickTime Player! Yes, it’s called “player” but it records like a champ. And lets you name files as you want– spaces and all.

    For basic recording, it’s the only way to go.

    For more complex, multi-track adventures, including the ability to trim, etc. Audacity does work, but its peculiarities and irritations outweigh any advantages. I would look elsewhere. I know I will be!

  • John Player

    Thanks :)

  • leslie galvan

    When i was recording on my Mac and i was using QuickTime player and when i stopped recording it kept loading for a day

  • Slender

    It’s said it won’t record

  • helensson

    Line-in-beginners could profit from the simple & costfree AudioRecorder, optionally putting out m4a, aiff, wav, mp3, and mov >

  • Jayelle Kaye

    I just tried it and it worked but where did it store the file? The article says you can choose save destination but I didn’t see that option anywhere. Help, please. I have Mountain Lion.

  • 4N1P

    I might record other sound. Even my voice.

  •  αмяαв∂εℓαzιz


  • thatusernameis

    that was no help at all. There is no obvious way to start and stop the recording and there is no option to save the file. I may have recorded something but I’ll never know where the file is saved, if it even is. God I Hate My Macbook Pro, stupid computer, hate hate hate it

    • Tristan Balfour

      Actually, its a very smart computer – perhaps the problem is the user. Find a Mac user who loves his/her computer and get training. In an hour, you’ll be converted.

  • Pluckyyaa

    You need a useful and powerful converter to convert audio files.Searching from google and choose one good tool !