- 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.
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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 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."
4. Tap "Never."
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.
3. Select the arrow icon in the lower-right corner.
4. Select "Mail" which will open a pop-up window to compose an email.
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.
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