With older versions of the iOS software, the iPhone's standard recording app -- known as Voice Memo -- could only record for about 30 minutes. However, the iOS 4.0 removed this time limit, so the only limit on the length of your recording will be the size of your phone's memory.
Every iPhone runs on iOS, or the iPhone Operating System. This operating system is similar to the basic software on your computer -- the standard programs, as well as the hidden files that make the device run. The Voice Memo app is part of the standard iPhone package; it isn't an app that you download separately from the App Store. When it was first introduced, it would only record files up to a specific size, which translated to between 30 and 37 minutes.
Apple removed the file limit from the Voice Memo app with the release of iOS 4.2. Now, as long as you have the latest updates from iTunes for your iPhone, you are only limited by the size of your iPhone's storage capacity. The 3Gs can store either 8GB, 16GB or 32GB. A voice memo generally takes up about 2MB to 5MB of space per minute of recording, depending on the type of file. As long as you have ample space available, you can record for several hours.
The iPhone's standard app isn't the only way to record. Third parties offer apps in the iTunes App Store -- accessible directly from the iPhone's home screen -- that can perform the exact same function. In fact, many of the apps provide specialized recording features, which can be helpful if you want to record music or interviews. Some of the commonly download recording apps include Recorder, FourTrack, iTalk and SpeakEasy.
With the iPhone 3Gs, you can also record high-definition video using the Camera app -- another part of the standard package. Like audio recordings, video recordings are limited by the size of your storage capacity. However, video takes up significantly more space per minute: about 80MB per minute, or almost 5GB per hour. Because some of your storage space will be taken up by other media, you may not be able to hold much video.
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