How to use Music Memos on iPhone and iPad: The ultimate guide

Music Memo
Music Memo (Image credit: iMore)

Music Memos, an app straight from Apple that's available on the App Store, was designed to help singers and musicians quickly and easily sketch out their audio ideas on iPhone. It's like Voice Memos, which was introduced with iOS 3, but offers additional features specifically for music.

You start by recording your music through the iPhone's built-in mic. You can record any instrument, and your iPhone will save it in a high-quality, uncompressed file that you can tag, rate, and add to your library. Over time, you can build up a collection of ideas around a single song or group of songs.

Apple showed Music Memos to acclaimed singer, songwriter, and producer Ryan Adams, who had this to say:

Sometimes ideas come faster than I can get them into my notebook so I've used Voice Memos and Notes to quickly capture songs before they're lost. Music Memos is like if those two apps came together to form some kind of superpower for songs. It quite literally blew my mind how Music Memos could transform a single guitar idea into a whole composition with a virtual drummer loose enough that it felt like you were having your mind read by some A.I. musician and a choice of stand-up or electric bass accompaniments.

Apple's new Music Memos lets you record and analyze song ideas on your iPhone

Music Memos (Image credit: Apple)

Music Memos will also analyze the rhythm and chords of certain instruments, like acoustic guitar and piano, and let you instantly add virtual backing in the form of drums and a bass line that fit right in with your recording. Basic chord notation is also available.

Thanks to iCloud, Music Memos are available in GarageBand for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and Logic Pro X on Mac, so you can take them from ideas, through development, and into finished material. Artists and bands can even share them with fans through Apple Music's Connect.

Music Memos is available for free on the App Store and compatible with iPhone 4s or later and iPad 2 or later.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.