Record-Audio-Almost-Hands-Free

I love listening to audiobooks and podcasts. But I hate that I can’t record audio memos handsfree to refer back to later without having to stop what I’m doing. I used to carry a little notebook and a pencil, but this system has obvious drawbacks (like scribbling notes while walking two dogs in the freezing cold). However, I have finally figured out a system that makes this problem obsolete.

System for Recording Audio Memo While Listening to Podcasts

Imagine being able to just press a button on your watch to begin recording an audio memo on your iPhone. When you are done speaking, press another button and the audio resumes right where you left off. When you are ready to process your audio notes, just open Google Drive and they are all waiting for you!

Disclaimer:

The system is definitely on the nerdy side, but it works well! It does require more technology than the average person has, but it may inspire you to invest in some new tools. The system requires a jailbroken iPhone 4s or iPod 4th gen. or higher running iOS 6 and higher, $10.50 for 3 Cydia apps, and a Pebble smartwatch.

Step 1 – Jailbreak Your Device

If you can’t jailbreak, this system doesn’t work. Before you proceed, make sure you have a device (and firmware) that can be jailbroken. If you are unfamiliar with jailbreaking, see this Lifehacker article instructions. If you are concerned, you need to know is that it is not illegal and that it is fairly easy to do. Having said that, know that there is a calculated risk when tinkering with your device since it is possible to brick your device, and Apple advises against it. If you are worried, try it on an older device first.

Step 2 – Get a Pebble Watch

I bought mine on eBay for 90 dollars used, and I love it. I am not going to praise it on this blog post, just Google Pebble smartwatch and you will see why it is the best option in this category so far. Once you have your smartwatch connected to your phone, continue on to step 3.

Step 3 – Install Super Recorder

Once you have the Cydia app store installed, you will need to add a special repo in order to buy the Super Recorder app. Do this by following these instructions:

  1. Open Cydia, tap “Sources.”
  2. Tap “Edit” in the top right.
  3. Tap “Add” in the top left.
  4. Type “http://hacx.org/repo/”

Now tap “Search” and find “Super Recorder.” Purchase it for $3.99. Install and then open the app. You will want to modify your settings to suit your needs, but I recommend having your files automatically upload to Google Drive so that you can easily access them on your computer.

One of the other perks that comes built into this app is the volume amplifier plugin. I recommend increasing the recording volume as much as you can so that you won’t even have to take your phone out of your pocket in order to record.

Step 4 – Install Smartwatch+

In the Cydia app store, search for Smartwatch+. Purchase this awesome app for $4.99. Once you have installed it, open it and go to the “Activator Screen”. Here are my settings for listening to audio:

  • Press top button: Next Track
  • Press middle button: Play/Pause
  • Press bottom button: Previous Track
  • Hold top button: Volume Up
  • Hold middle button: Voice Memo Recording
  • Hold bottom button: Volume Down

Step 5 – Install InfinityTask

Because of the way backgrounding works in iOS you will need to buy one more Cydia tweak called InfintyTask for $2.49. This app allows you to eliminate the ten minute background rule built into iOS which terminates your apps from active memory. Once you have purchased InfinityTask, go to the native Settings page in iOS, find InfinityTask’s settings and follow these instructions:

  1. Tap “InfinityTask Applications.”
  2. Toggle both Pebble and Smartwatch+.
  3. Go back, now tap “Others.”
  4. Tap “Startup Applications.”
  5. Toggle both Pebble and Smartwatch+.
  6. Go back, now tap “Auto Relaunch Applications.”
  7. Toggle both Pebble and Smartwatch+.
  8. Respring.

Test Your System Out:

Record Audio Memos Hands Free
Image from Flickr – Click for Source

Make sure that Smartwatch+ is running in the background. Play some audio, press the button on your Pebble that you set to activate Voice Memo recording for Super Recorder and say something. When you are finished speaking, press the button you set to resume playback. If all has gone well, then you have created the best system currently possible for recording audio memos on the fly.

Final Thoughts:

If we could find a way to automatically record the timestamp in the audio alongside of the audio memo, that would be incredible. The only way I see this working with the current system is to make it so that Activator allowed two actions to happen at once. This might allow us to make the phone begin recording the audio memo and also take a screenshot of the Audio app so that we would know the timestamp in the audio. If anyone has further ideas of how to make this happen, do leave a comment below.

Admittedly, I think this system is ingenious, but I am aware that it is overly complicated. It has too many working parts, and therefore could be broken with future updates to iOS or any of these tweaks. If someone could create an app that has this feature built in, so you could just press the button on the Apple headphones to initiate recording and then to resume playback of the audio, the problem would be solved. As far as I know, there is nothing like this either in Cydia or the App Store. As audio becomes more and more popular, this niche needs to be filled!

How to Record Audio Memos Handsfree
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