I came across this post describing a journalist’s preference of using her iPhone to record interviews in secret. In dangerous situations where the sight of a microphone can give the journalist or their interviewees away, using someone as common and ordinary as a mobile phone can be a life saver. And still get an important story out to the world.

I can attest to this. I’ve relied on using my iPhone to record interviews and podcasts in the field. I also comes in handy for spontaneous recordings.

And how many times have I had an interview unintentionally interrupted by a passerby who didn’t notice the iPhone? Since I never stop recording, the snafu also makes for some great ambience. The listener is brought right among us in the moment.

Being a cellphone, it’s also great as recording distant sounds. Place it on the table and you can have a fireside chat. I’ve had interviews come out clearly in a noisy pub!

I use the Voice Memos app to record then transfer it over to my Mac for editing. The only shortcoming is the app records for thirty minutes. You have to tap the record button in order to record another thirty minutes. Another shortcoming is you can’t name your files. You can only categorize them.

Still not a bad app for my needs.

Do you use your smartphone as a recording device? Which apps do you use?