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Record, summarize, and transcribe audio with Apple Notes on iOS 18

The built-in Notes app can now record and transcribe audio in iOS 18

Apple's Notes app just got a huge productivity upgrade with iOS 18 thanks to new audio recording, transcription, and summarization tools.

On Monday, at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple showcased a variety of different features and OS enhancements. During the event, it was announced that the Notes app would receive audio recording and transcription capabilities, along with summarization made possible by Apple Intelligence.

AppleInsider exclusively revealed the new audio recording, transcription, and summarization features of Apple's app Notes months before the official announcement. In our reports, we presented an overview of the app's new features with potential use cases and comparisons to existing products.

Although it was previously possible to add audio recordings to a note after the fact, the latest version of Notes lets users record audio directly within the application. Audio recordings get embedded within individual notes, meaning that users can also add additional material of their choosing, such as images, tables, or text.

When a recording is finished, Apple Intelligence generates a summary, letting users recall the key points with ease. Recording, transcription, and LLM-powered summarization will also be available in the Phone app - while the Voice Memos app has only gained audio transcription.

It's worth pointing out, though, that Apple Intelligence - and the related summarization features - will only become available later this year, on devices with an A17 Pro or M-series chip. This ultimately means that users will need either an iPad or a Mac equipped with an M1 or newer chip, or an iPhone 15 Pro to experience Apple's latest AI software.

iPad displaying a notes app with text about architectural features in Mughal and Rajasthani buildings. Play and done buttons are visible at the bottom.
Apple Notes will be able to generate summaries through Apple Intelligence in iOS 18

Apple Intelligence will also bring with it a host of other improvements, including AI-powered image generation via the new Image Playground tool. Once the feature officially launches, it will become possible to include AI-generated imagery alongside audio recordings made in Notes.

Additional enhancements for the Notes app include Smart Script, which can mimic your handwriting on iPadOS 18, and Math Notes, which introduces support for mathematical notation. AppleInsider broke the news on Math Notes in our earlier reports, such as the one detailing Apple's new universal Calculator that features the exact same functionality.

These latest enhancements will make Notes a true note-taking powerhouse - as a wide array of users will now be able to record and transcribe a multitude of different things on iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia.

Who will benefit from these new Notes features?

Students will be able to record classes or lectures, and include whiteboard pictures or relevant links alongside their recorded audio. Since such recordings can sometimes include large amounts of data, such as definitions, examples, and complex theoretical principles, Apple Intelligence will help bring clarity at a glance by generating a brief summary.

A screenshot of Apple Notes with a summarization window open
Elevating Notes with more tools helps everyone

The new features within Notes will undoubtedly serve to benefit users who regularly attend business meetings, seminars, and virtual conference calls - all of which often contain a variety of information. This includes different statistics, dates, schedules, business proposals, and plans for the future, which Apple's on-device AI will be able to summarize and condense into key data points.

Creatives such as authors or screenwriters will now have the option to record story ideas and concepts, and listen to the recorded audio or skim through a transcription. The LLM-powered summarization feature will make it even easier to find the most relevant information such as core concepts, character names, and locations.

At the same time, journalists now have a more efficient way of recording and transcribing lengthy interviews, all while preserving the privacy of everyone involved. While third-party products such as Otter already have similar audio transcription features, Apple's Notes app handles everything on-device - meaning that no sensitive data is transmitted in the process.

By adding in-app audio recording, transcription, and summarization to its default Notes application, Apple likely sought to compete with, and reduce users' reliance on, third-party products such as Microsoft's OneNote or the previously-mentioned Otter app.

Apple's latest enhancements will make Notes the go-to note-taking app for nearly every type of note and every type of user. A single note will be able to contain much more than ever before - everything from recorded lectures and meetings, to story ideas with AI-generated images.

The upgraded Notes app was previewed at WWDC alongside major upgrades to applications such as Mail and Safari. Later this year, Mail will receive on-device email categorization through machine learning, while Safari will introduce a new Highlights feature that provides key information and summaries of webpages.