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Apple Watch voice memos not syncing to iPhone or iCloud? Try these tips to fix

Apple Watch Voice Memos

Have you noticed that your Apple Watch voice memos are not syncing to your iPhone or iCloud? Well, you’re not alone. Many Apple users have experienced this issue as well. 

Ideally, when you use the same Apple ID for your Apple devices, including Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and Mac, all your recorded Voice Memos should sync from your watch to all your Apple devices. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way!

While Apple has not come out with a fix for this issue, we have discovered ways to resolve the matter. Please keep reading to see our solutions.

Suggested reading:

Voice Memos app works one way on Apple Watch Apple Watch Voice Memos app

If you want your voice memos to sync from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your Apple Watch, you are sadly out of luck!

The Voice memos app on your Apple Watch automatically syncs any voice memos recorded on your Apple Watch to your iPhone, Mac, iPad, and any iOS devices that use the same Apple ID.

It does not sync memos recorded on iPhone, Mac, or iPad to your watch. That’s because your watch has limited storage, and Apple does not want to use that storage for voice memos created on other devices.

So, while you can listen to voice memos recorded on your Apple Watch, you cannot listen to voice memos recorded on your iPhone, Mac, or iPad on your Apple Watch.

Try uniquely naming all of your Apple Watch voice memo recordings

By default, when you record voice memos on your watch and other Apple devices, it names and numbers them generically as Recording, Recording 2, and so forth.

Now, if your iPhone (Mac or iPad) also has a recording with the exact same name (i.e., Recording 2), it often causes problems with syncing those memos via iCloud (because the names are the same!)

The fix is to create a unique name for all your voice memos! To do this on Apple Watch, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Voice Memos app on your watch. Voice Memos app Apple Watch unnamed recordings
  2. Tap to open one of the unnamed voice memos. Playback options for voice memos on Apple Watch
  3. At the bottom, tap the three-dot More button.
  4. Choose Edit Name (pencil icon.) Apple Watch voice Memos app edit name of voice memo
  5. Scribble, type, or tap the microphone icon and speak the new name. 
    1. We recommend speaking the name as it’s easiest, given the small screen size. options to name a voice memo on Apple Watch
  6. Tap Done to save the updated name. Save updated name for a voice memo on Apple Watch Voice Memos app
  7. Repeat for all unnamed voice memos!

Once you rename all your Apple Watch voice memos, wait a few moments and see if they now show up in the Voice Memos app on your iPhone, Mac, or iPad. 

Check iCloud Settings

First and foremost, if you are experiencing this issue, you must check your iCloud settings. 

For your Apple Watch voice memos to sync to your iPhone, you must have iCloud Syncing turned on. If it’s not on, then that’s the reason why you are experiencing this issue. 

apple id in settings app

  • To turn on iCloud Syncing, open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Click on your Apple ID information and then select iCloudicloud settings vm
  • Then scroll down to Voice Memos and make sure it is turned on.
    • If it is off, toggle the switch and make sure it is green.
    • Or, if it’s already on, toggle it off and wait for 20+ seconds before you toggle it back on.
  • Once you do that, wait a couple of minutes. That way, it gives your device some time to sync your voice memos. 

Also, make sure you have enough iCloud storage available. If there is not enough storage room, your device cannot sync your voice memos. storage for iCloud and Apple ID

You can always clear some space by deleting things you don’t need backed up to iCloud or purchasing additional GBs from Apple

Another thing to check is that the Apple Watch and iPhone use the same Apple ID. 

  • On your Apple Watch, open the Settings app and tap the name at the top. This is the Apple ID that the watch uses. 
  • On your iPhone, open the Settings app and look at the name at the top–this is the iPhone’s Apple ID.

Now, if the Apple IDs are different, you need to decide which Apple ID to use, sign in, and use the same Apple ID for both devices.

If you already have iCloud Syncing enabled and both the watch and iPhone use the same Apple ID, follow these additional tips. 

Make sure Background App Refresh is on

Many users noticed their voice memos were not syncing because they had Background App Refresh turned off.

Some users keep this setting off because it drains the iPhone’s battery. But if you want your voice memos to sync, it needs to be turned on.

But the good news is you don’t have to have Background App Refresh on for every app, and you can have it on for the Voice Memo app.

background app refresh settings

  • To turn on Background App Refresh, go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Select General and scroll down to Background App Refresh
    turn on background app refresh
  • Then scroll all the way down to the Voice Memos app and make sure it is turned on. If it is off, toggle the switch and make sure it is green.
    • If it’s already on, try toggling it off, then wait at least 20 seconds before you toggle it back on.

Restart or forced restart Apple Watch and iPhone how to restart the apple watch (not forced restart)

Whenever you experience any kind of glitch, sometimes restarting your devices can do the trick.

  • To restart your Apple Watch hold down the side button and slide the power off button.
  • To restart your iPhone, press and hold one of the volume buttons and the side power button until the power off slider appears. slide to power off your iPhone

When restarting your Apple Watch or iPhone, you should turn your device off for a minute or two and then turn it back on.

After restarting your devices, try syncing your voice memos again. 

Now, if restarting did nothing, try a forced restart of both your iPhone and Watch.

  • To force restart your watch, press both the side button and Digital Crown until the Apple logo appears on the watch’s screen. Use buttons to force restart your Apple Watch
  • To force restart your iPhone, press and immediately release the volume up button, press and immediately release the volume down button, then press and hold the side button. Keep pressing the side button until the Apple logo appears, then release it.iPhone force restart

Reset Apple Watch sync data

If your Apple Watch voice memos still aren’t showing up in the Voice Memos app on other devices, then let’s try and force your iPhone and watch to re-sync.

  1. Open the Watch app on your paired iPhone and choose the My Watch tab.
  2. Choose General and scroll down and tap Reset.
  3. Tap Reset Sync Data. reset options like reset sync data for Apple Watch in the Watch app on iPhone

When you reset the sync data between your watch and phone, it erases certain data from your Apple Watch and then re-syncs and refreshes it from your iPhone.

Unpair and re-pair Apple Watch

unpair apple watch iPhone

If you’re still having issues, you should try unpairing your Apple Watch from your iPhone and then pair it again. When you unpair your watch from your phone, it automatically backs up almost all of your data, including any voice memos. 

However, many of our readers tell us that they lost all their Apple Watch’s voice memos when they unpaired and repaired their watches to their iPhones.

So if you have any important voice memos saved on your Apple Watch that are not saved elsewhere, please do not follow these steps if you cannot afford to lose those voice memos!

  1. To unpair your Apple Watch, go to the Watch app and select All Watches.
  2. Tap on the “i” information icon next to your watch.
  3. Then you click on Unpair Apple Watch. 
  4. For GPS + Cellular models, choose to keep or remove your cellular plan. 
  5. After you confirm you wish to unpair, your iPhone creates a new backup of your Apple Watch.
    1. Use this backup to restore your Apple Watch. 
    2. If asked, enter your Apple ID password to disable the watch’s iCloud Activation Lock.
  6. Once your Apple Watch unpairs, your watch shows a Start Pairing message. 

Once unpaired, you’re going to want to pair it with your iPhone again and restore from that recent backup by tapping the option to Restore from Backup.

While this trick does work, it is also just a temporary fix. Sometimes the issue can reoccur.

Offload the Voice Memos app from your iPhone

Sometimes a fresh installation of the app does the trick. The first thing we’re going to try is offloading the Voice Memos app from your iPhone.

When you offload an app, it removes the app but keeps all of its documents and data. So for the Voice Memos app, your iPhone should retain all your stored voice memos!

Unfortunately, when you offload the Voice Memos app from your iPhone, it also removes the app from your Apple Watch AND erases any recording not already synced to your iPhone or via iCloud.

So again, if your watch has important voice memos not stored elsewhere and you cannot afford to lose them, do NOT follow these steps to offload the app.

To offload the Voice Memos app, follow these steps

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Select General > iPhone Storage. iPhone Storage settings with Voice Memos and Contacts apps
  3. Scroll down the list of apps and tap Voice Memos.
    1. You can also tap the magnifying glass and search for the app.
  4. Tap Offload App and confirm.offload Voice Memos app from iPhone
  5. Wait for your iPhone to offload it, then tap Reinstall App. iPhone reinstall voice memos app
  6. Open the Voice Memos app on your iPhone and enable iCloud syncing. Voice Memo app iCloud syncing
  7. Open the app on your watch and run a test recording.

Delete and reinstall the Voice Memos app 

If your iPhone is still not syncing your Apple Watch’s voice memos, then you may have to delete the Voice Memo app and reinstall it.

Many users have reported that deleting the app actually helped resolve the issue. But it comes at a price. This deletes all the current voice memos you have in the app. So you should only do this step as a last resort.

remove voice memos app

To delete the Voice Memo app, open your iPhone and find the Voice Memo app. Press down on it, and a menu bar appears. Click on Remove App. 

delete voice memo app

Then a message asks if you want to delete the app or remove it from your home screen. Select Delete App. Once you do that, the app is no longer be on your iPhone. 

reinstall voice memo app

  • Then to reinstall the app, go to the App Store and search for the Voice Memo app.
  • Tap on the cloud button to put the app back on your iPhone.

Once you do that, it redownloads onto your phone and your Apple Watch.

Are you not seeing your voice memos from other devices on your Apple Watch?

We get asked a lot of questions about why you don’t see your voice memos from other devices, like your iPhone, in the Voice Memos app on your Apple Watch.

While voice memos you record on your Apple Watch automatically sync to your iPhone and other Apple devices signed in with the same Apple ID, they do not sync from those devices to your Apple Watch. It’s a one-way road!

If you want to play a voice memo recorded on another device on your Apple Watch, send it to yourself as a text message. Then open the Messages app on your Apple Watch and play it there.

How to share a recording from the Voice Memos app with your Apple Watch

In the Voice Memos appyou can share one or more recordings with others (or send it to your Apple Watch using Messages (or Mail.)

Share a single voice memo with your Apple Watch

  1. In your Voice Memos list, tap a saved recording and the More button (three dots.) share a voice memo from iPhone to Apple Watch
  2. Tap Share, choose the Messages app (or Mail), select yourself, and then in the Messages app, tap the Send button. Send a voice memo using Messages app from iPhone
  3. Open the Messages app on your watch to play the voice memo there. Play voice memo sent via Messages app on Apple Watch

Share more than one voice memo with your Apple Watch

  1. Above your Voice Memos list, tap Edit.
  2. Select the voice memos you want to share. Select more than one voice memo to share or delete on iPhone
  3. Tap the Share button, choose the Messages app (or Mail), and select yourself. Voice Memos app share sheet
  4. In the Messages app, tap the Send button.
  5. Open the Messages app on your watch to play the voice memos there.

Final Thoughts

Finally, remember to update your watchOS and iOS to the latest version available for your devices–this can fix issues with many of Apple’s apps, including voice memos.

We hope these tips helped you. Have you experienced this bug? What did you do to resolve the issue? Let us know in the comments. 

I'm a content writer with a passion for all things lifestyle having earned my Bachelor of Science in journalism from St. John's University. I was born and raised in Southern California. My Apple Watch never leaves my wrist, but I also adore Fitbit. I love all things health tech, including fitness and self-care apps. When I'm not writing, I enjoy traveling, reading, and drinking iced coffee!

4 COMMENTS

    • Hi Jose,

      Are you trying to get your voice memos from your Apple Watch to show up on your other Apple devices using the same Apple ID or vice-versa (memos from other devices synced to your Apple Watch)? At this time, voice memos only sync one way–from the watch to the iPhone or other Apple devices. Memos do not automatically sync from those other devices to your Apple Watch.

      If you want those watch voice memos to sync to your other devices, first close the voice memo app on your watch. To close a watch app, tap the side button, scroll and locate the voice memo app preview, then swipe on the voice memo app from right to left and tap the large red X to close it.

      Once closed, connect your Apple Watch to the same WiFi network as your iPhone (or other Apple device) via the Settings app > WiFi and then open the Voice Memos app on your watch.

      Once open, run a test by recording a sample voice memo. When complete, wait a few minutes and check your iPhone or another Apple device signed in with the same Apple ID. Hopefully, your test voice memo automatically syncs to your iPhone, Mac, or iPad signed in with the same Apple ID.

      If it doesn’t show up after a few minutes, wait another 30 minutes and check again.

      If it’s still not there, verify that you use the same Apple ID and that you toggled on Voice Memos in the device’s iCloud settings. Also, open the Settings app on your Apple Watch and tap your Apple ID user name. Scroll down, and check that all your Apple devices signed in with the same Apple ID display in that list.

      If the Apple ID and iCloud settings are correct, delete the Voice Memo app from your Apple Watch (press and hold the icon on your watch’s home screen until all apps wiggle and tap the x on Voice Memos to delete it.)

      Then, open the App Store on your watch and search for Voice Memos. In the results, you may need to scroll down to find the Apple app. Tap the cloud icon to reinstall it on your watch. Once reinstalled, run through the steps to test it again.

    • Hi Mad,

      When you unpair your watch, it should automatically create a backup of everything that’s on your watch, including any voice memos. When you re-pair your watch, you want to make sure you choose that backup to restore from.

      Also, open your iPhone’s iCloud Settings and make sure Voice Memos is turned on. And if you have any other Apple devices, like an iPad or Mac, make sure Voice Memos is turned on in their iCloud Settings as well.

      Any Voice memos you record on your Apple Watch are supposed to automatically sync to your Mac, iPad, and any iOS devices signed in with the same Apple ID.

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