Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Recording Voice memos while Reading Audiobooks


When I’m listening to audiobooks (also when skiing) I’m also making notes using the iPhone’s built-in voice memo application. It’s a fantastic way to make sure no thought gets away and it hardly requires touching the iPhone thanks to the versatility of the iPhone’s headphones and their built-in microphone switch. Here’s how I do it:

Recording Voice memos while Reading Audiobooks

First prepare the iPhone - move the Voice Memos app to separate screen

To make sure I don’t click accidentally on a different app than the Voice memos app, I’ve moved it to a separate screen, it’s really hard to miss it right now and click something else (see screenshot). Also if you’re in the car and want to take notes, go to Settings and disable automatic lock of the iPhone screen.

Now, the entire note-taking process while listening to an audiobook

Step 1 - click on the remote - to pause listening.

When I’m listening to the audiobook and want to pause to take a note, I click on the remote button to stop the audio-reading process.

Step 2 - click on the Voice Memos app to launch it

This is the one time you’ll have to tap on the iPhone’s screen - to launch the Voice Memos app.

Step 3 - click on the remote - to start and stop recording the note

Yes, you can use the remote button to record a note… and click on the remote again to stop the recording. Easy-cheesy.

Step 4 - click on the home button to leave the Voice Memos app

Now you’ll have to click on the iPhone’s Home button to quit the note-taking app. Hard to miss that button, too.

Step 5 - click on the remote - to resume audio-reading

Again our trusty microphone-remote button can be used to resume listening to the audiobook. What would we have done without it?

Real-time usage - in a car while driving.

I listen to the audiobooks while driving and I put the right headphone into my right ear and thus have also my headphone microphone button handy right below my right ear. When I drive, I can listen to the audiobook, pause playback, record note and resume playback hardly looking at the iPhone’s screen thanks to the extensive usage of the iPhone’s microphone button. It’s brilliant and very practical.

This way I’ve read the “Switch” book by Dan and Chip Heath on my way back from Ski holidays while on a 1000 mile drive home. The drive would have been a boring one… but with my audiobook it was really great.

How do you take notes when reading audiobooks?