• You can save audio messages on your iPhone by tapping “Keep” under the message in your Messages app, or export them by using the “More…” button to select a message.
  • By default, audio clips sent to you using iMessage expire and disappear two minutes after you listen to them for the first time.
  • If you want to always save audio clips, turn off the expiration option in the Messages app’s settings. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

One of the perks of using iMessage to chat with another iPhone user is that you can send audio messages in addition to text, emoji, and photos. 

But Apple treats these audio messages like top secret communications — by default, they expire and are permanently deleted two minutes after the first time you listen to them, with no option to get them back. However, it’s easy to preserve them longer.

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How to save audio messages on iPhone

When you receive an audio iMessage and play it for the first time, a clock starts counting down from two minutes. When the timer runs out, the audio clip is unceremoniously deleted without warning. 

But you can save it — after you listen to it, tap “Keep” under the message. When you keep it, it’ll always be available in Messages for playback. 

How to save audio messages on iPhone

Tap “Keep” to prevent an audio clip from auto-deleting.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

How to stop audio messages from expiring on iPhone

Rather than using the “Keep” button to save audio messages, you can change the Messages app’s settings so audio messages no longer expire after two minutes and will always stay available in the Messages app.

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap “Messages.”

3. In the Audio Messages section, tap “Expire.”

How to save audio messages on iPhone

Find the Expire option in the Messages app’s Settings.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

4. Tap “Never.” 

How to save audio messages on iPhone

You can keep audio clips forever by turning off the Expire option.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

The “Save” button in Messages no longer works, but you can export audio messages with the “More…” button 

You might have discovered that you can tap and hold an audio message, which opens a pop-up menu with a “Save” option. Prior to iOS 12, selecting “Save” would put a copy of the audio message in the Voice Memos app, where you could share and email it. 

Starting with iOS 12, though, the “Save” button no longer saves the audio clip and doesn’t, in fact, appear to do anything at all. This might be a bug that Apple will eventually fix, but as of iOS 13, it continues to no longer export the audio. However, there is a way around this by exporting it to an email address.

1. In your Messages, open the conversation containing the audio message that you’d like to save.

2. Press down on the audio message until a menu pops up. Tap “More…” from the menu.

How to save audio messages on iPhone

Since iOS 12, the Save button hasn’t allowed you to export audio out of the Messages app.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

3. Select the arrow icon in the lower-right corner.

4. Select “Mail” which will open a pop-up window to compose an email.

How to save audio messages on iPhone

Select “Mail” to send an email with your audio message attached.
Isabella Paoletto/Business Insider

5. Enter an email address, subject, and message if you want to.

6. Tap the arrow in the upper-right corner to send your message.

How to save audio messages on iPhone

You will now have an email containing the audio message you want to save.
Isabella Paoletto/Business Insider