My brother and I share a computer and often use the same itunes app for all our music. Something that it does that I hate is it puts all my voice memos in, too. I would rather them not be there because I'm worried my brother will get on and listen to them one day. I try to delete them but it says if I delete them off itunes, it also deletes them off of my iphone which I don't want it to do. What should I do??

  • Can you both use different Apple ID's? This might be the only way to do what you're looking to do. – fsb Nov 12 '16 at 20:25

You are correct. Basically Apple's approach is a case of Better to be safe than sorry.

What I mean is that music originates from your iTunes library (or Apple Music), so you can afford to lose it if something happens to your iPhone. You still have your music on your Mac or in the cloud. Voice Memos, on the other hand, originate on your iPhone. If something happens to your iPhone, they are gone forever. So Apple has designed iTunes to treat Voice Memos differently, and automatically sync them back to iTunes for safe keeping. This is all based on the fact we're more likely to lose our iPhones (or have them stolen) than we are our Macs.

Unfortunately, this approach has frustrated many users as there is no way to manually override this. Apple did create a Voice Memos playlist to help users better manage/navigate their memos, but there's no way to stop them syncing from your iPhone to iTunes on your computer. The only built-in option is to stop it syncing back the other way.

Getting around your situation

There are really only four options to try and avoid your brother listening to your voice memos. These are as follows:

  1. Use separate User Accounts on your Mac. That is, use one for you and one for your brother. Each of you will then have your own instance of iTunes. To set up separate user accounts go to System Preferences > Users & Groups and click on the + sign at bottom left. You may need to unlock the padlock before you can make changes. Also, in your login options you may want to turn off Automatic Login. Basically, using this option means you should not share your password with your brother! :)
  2. Manually delete your Voice Memos from your iTunes Library / Store them somewhere else. The easiest way to access voice memos is to go to the Voice Memos playlist. You can just delete them BUT before you do, you may want to make a copy of the ones you want and store them somewhere else. The easiest way to do this is to right-click on them and select Copy. Then go into the Finder and paste them into a folder somewhere. Once you've done this, delete them from your iTunes playlist. However, this approach does mean needing to keep on top of this for whenever new voice memos are synced from your iPhone to computer.
  3. Use a different Voice Recording app instead of the built-in iPhone app. There are many out there and many also offer ways to sync and back them up separately from the usual iTunes process.
  4. No longer share the same computer. A more expensive option, no doubt! :)

You may want to provide feedback to Apple about this also. My personal preference would be that Voice Memos are handled totally outside the Music Library and have it's own designated category and options. Whatever your preference, you may want to send the same feedback for both iTunes and iPhone.


When you sync iPhone and Mac with iTunes (, voice memos are always copied from iPhone to Mac and never deleted from Mac.

You can delete voice memos manually from iTunes library but this is cumbersome (when you have already deleted from iPhone).

The checkbox "include voice memos" in iTunes does not help (voice memos are always included).

To prevent voice memos being copied to Mac, locate this folder

~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Voice Memos

empty it to trash, change its permission to read only.

Now, voice memos are not synced but, of course, you get a disk write error (ignore it).

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