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When I open a renamed voice memo file (macOS or iOS generated) in VLC, the playlist name shown is the one generated by Voice Memos (usually the last know location of the machine on which the memo was recorded*). When changing the filename of the memo, the playlist name stays the one that was generated by the Voice Memos app.

Checking the metadata with various standard terminal tools†, does not show the Voice Memos generated name (which I thought should be a metadata) from where VLC fetches the playlist name.

Here is how to reproduce the "issue":

  1. Record a voice memo with the iOS Voice Memos app°;
  2. Transfert the file to a Mac (e.g., with AirDrop);
  3. Rename the file to whatever you wish;
  4. Open the file with VLC;
  5. In my case, in VLC, the playlist name of the Voice Memos will be the one given by the Voice Memos app for iOS and not the filename.

My questions:

  • Where is the name given by the Voice Memos app (which should be a metadata) stored?
  • How can I change above-mentioned metadata so it is reflected in VLC's playlist name?

*That option can be changed in Preferences (macOS) or Settings (iOS).

†I did not test with exiftool because it is not standard on macOS.

°In macOS voice memos are stored in ~/Library/Application\ Support/com.apple.voicememos/Recordings


System used:

  • macOS Monterey 12.4
  • Voice Memos 2.3 for macOS
  • iOS 15.4.1
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  • I found exiftool to be much more helpful when analyzing metadata issues than any of the options macOS offers out of the box. So installing it and then analyzing the file might be a useful next step.
    – nohillside
    Aug 1 at 13:57

1 Answer 1

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Thanks to nohillside's comment here are two step-by-step guides to both see the requested metadata and how to change it (these processes assume you are using zsh):

To see the metadata:

  1. Record a voice memo with Voice Memos app
  2. If recorded with an iOS/iPadOS device transfer it to a macOS device
  3. Open Terminal
  4. Install exiftool (brew install exiftool)
  5. cd to the directory/folder where the memo can be found
  6. exiftool name_of_the_file.extension
  7. Look for Title (towards the end of the output)

To change the Title metadata to (for example) the creation date of the file:

  1. Record a voice memo with Voice Memos app
  2. If recorded with an iOS/iPadOS device transfer it to a macOS device
  3. Open Terminal
  4. Install exiftool (brew install exiftool)
  5. cd to the directory/folder where the memo can be found
  6. exiftool '-Title<$CreateDate' name_of_the_file.extension
  7. exiftool name_of_the_file.extension

I heavily used exiftool's forum pages to generate the command lines.


As an added bonus, thanks to the folks at exiftool.org (forum thread), for those who are interested in batch changing the filenames to the files creation date & time (with & without timezone shift), here are the exiftool commands to issue:

Batch change without timezone shift:

  1. cd to the directory/folder containing the files to rename
  2. exiftool '-FileName<CreateDate' -d '%Y%m%d %H%M%S.%%e' .

Batch change with timezone shift (in this case GMT+02):

  1. cd to the directory/folder containing the files to rename
  2. exiftool '-FileName<CreateDate' -GlobalTimeShift 2 -d '%Y%m%d %H%M%S.%%e' .

System used:

  • exiftool version 12.42
  • macOS Monterey 12.5 (Intel)
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  • 1
    Thanks for coming back with a detailled answer. I've removed the prompts because people tend to copy/paste and then wonder why the % command is not found.
    – nohillside
    Aug 2 at 14:58
  • Hope that the bonus material is not too off topic... if it's the case, let me know and I'll delete it.
    – pdeli
    Aug 4 at 11:56
  • 1
    Answers hardly ever can be off-topic (well, they can totally miss to answer the question asked) :-)
    – nohillside
    Aug 4 at 13:02

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