Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


This MagSafe accessory lets you use iOS 18's most underrated feature before it's released

Recording calls can be as easy as snapping this accessory to the back of your iPhone. And you don't have to download any software updates to use it.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Magmo Pro Magnetic Snap-On Call Recorder for iPhone
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Magmo Pro Magnetic Snap-On Call Recorder is available on Amazon for $129 in Starlight (white), Navy, and Space Black. 
  • If you want to record phone calls without relying on a third-party app or waiting until iOS 18 finally launches, this gadget will get the job done.
  • The device excels at recording, not transcribing, so depending on your needs, it may not be worth the investment. 

Recording a phone call can be handy in many instances, such as conducting an interview or collecting evidence. However, on iPhones, there is currently no native or easy way to record phone calls. This gadget can help.

Users have highly requested the ability to record calls on an iPhone, so much so that at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) this year, the company unveiled a feature that uses Apple Intelligence to record, transcribe, and summarize iPhone calls.

Also: Apple's iOS 18 will let you record phone calls without a third-party app

However, iOS 18 will not be released until the fall, and not all iPhone users will be eligible for the full iOS 18 experience. Many advanced Apple Intelligence features require the A17 Pro chip, which is currently only found on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone Pro Max. 

Until then, users interested in recording calls will either need to record from a separate device or rely on third-party phone call apps that usually conference into the call and let the parties know it is present, ruining the discreetness factor. That is where the Magmo Pro iPhone Call Recorder can help. 

View at Amazon

I first encountered the gadget at CES, which was recognized as a CES 2024 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Mobile Devices, Accessories & Apps category. The gadget uses MagSafe to snap on the back of your iPhone and record calls for you. Sound too good to be true? Well, I put it to the test. 

In the box, you get the accessory and a USB-C to USB-A charger. The charger is impressively thin at 6.88mm, much thinner than any of my MagSafe power banks, and very light, weighing only 50g. It takes no time to fully charge.

Magmo Pro Magnetic Snap-On Call Recorder for iPhone
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Once you snap the device onto the back of your phone, follow the directions on the screen and pair it to Bluetooth. Then, you can set the device in Auto mode, which records every call you get automatically, or manual mode, in which you move the toggle to record a call. I started with auto mode. 

The first call I recorded was promising but could have been better. The device started recording automatically when I got the call, which I loved. However, the other person on my call sounded very distant, and you could hear some muffling from me accidentally placing my hand on the mic. 

Also: How to record a call on your iPhone (and check if it's legal in your state)

In the next call, I made the volume as high as possible and held my phone so that my palm didn't block the microphone. You'll want to be mindful of this for the best results. The quality of the call was significantly better, and when I played it back, the call sounded as if it had been recorded natively, even though it wasn't. 

Despite accomplishing its recording function well, there are downsides to the device, including the fact that the battery life dies quickly when it is in Auto mode, which it even warns you about, as seen below. I don't find this to be a deal breaker because I can't think of many situations where you'd need every call to be recorded for long periods.  

Automatic Call Recording Enabled
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

There's also a manual mode that greatly reduces battery consumption, and it worked as advertised. You simply switch the toggle on the back of the device when you want to start recording. Even if the accessory isn't paired to your phone at the time of recording, it still syncs the on-device recording to your app once you do.

One downside is the app's user interface, which looks like something I would have found on my iPod Touch in 2009. It isn't intuitive, looks clunky, and is unnecessarily difficult to complete simple tasks. 

Also: Don't wait for iOS 18's AI. ChatGPT offers these same 4 features now

For example, to listen to your recordings, you first need to refresh your app, click on the recording you need to download, click through several popups, and then download it to give it a listen. Again, this isn't a dealbreaker for me because all I want is the ability to listen to crisp phone call recordings and export them. 

Lastly, the app's transcription feature, which is still in beta, shows promise but is unreliable. To power the AI transcriptions, the application uses "Apple's very own API to transcribe audio to written text," as stated below. As a result, the transcriptions are just as unformatted and jumbled as the ones found on your iPhone's Voicemails. Here's to hoping they'll improve with time.

Magmo Pro
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

The biggest problem with the Magmo Pro is that, at the moment, the device doesn't transcribe the entire call but rather just a paragraph. Magmo says the recorder will be upgraded shortly, but it may not be suitable for you if you want a transcription first, recording second device.

ZDNET's buying advice

If you need to record phone calls daily, whether for professional or personal reasons, the Magmo Pro Call Recorder can help you do so discreetly. Of course, you would still have to check your state's laws to see if it is legal to record another party without disclosing the fact.

As a reporter, I am excited because, typically, I would have to record phone interviews on another device, such as my iPad or Mac, and now all I have to do is slap the recorder on the back of my phone. However, if you buy it for accurate transcriptions, as advertised, you may want to reconsider because the technology is not ready yet. 

Editorial standards