How to Record Skype Calls for Free on a Mac

JustinComputer24 Comments

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to record Skype calls for free on a Mac, which worked for me on OS X 10.8.4. FYI, it may be illegal to do so in your area without notifying the other parties.

The basic issue is you need to mix both the OUTPUT from skype and the INPUT from your microphone and send that to your recording program, but you want to send only the OUTPUT from skype to your speakers/headphones. Here’s the simplest, most failsafe way I was able to find to do that for free. For what it’s worth, you can also just pay for a program like Piezo that does all this automatically.

1) Install Soundflower. Open up Soundflower Bed, the menu bar Application that comes with it, and click None (OFF) under both the 2ch and 16ch entries. We’re using soundflower to turn outputs back into inputs, and all the rest of the magic happens in the mac Audio MIDI Setup application.

2) Open up the Audio MIDI Setup application (comes with your mac) and make sure you see the Audio Window (Menu -> Window -> Show Audio Window). We’re going to create two virtual devices.

3) In the bottom left click the + sign, and then click “Create Multi-Output Device”. Click on the device on the left to rename it something like “Multi-Output: Built-in Output AND Soundflower (2ch)”. On the right, click the “use” checkbox next to Built-in Output and Soundflower (2ch).

4) In the bottom left click the + sign, and then click “Create Aggregate Device”. Click on the device and rename it something like “Aggregate Input: Inputs AND Soundflower (2ch)”. On the right, click “use” next to Built-in Microphone and Soundflower (2ch).

Now we just need to hook up Skype and our Audio Recorder — I use Quicktime (set the recording quality to “high”, not “maximum” or you’ll get huuuge files). 

5) Open up Skype (if it was open, close and reopen it to refresh the list of devices). Go to Menu -> Skype -> Preferences, then to Audio/Video and where it says “Speakers:” select “Multi-Output: Built-in Output AND Soundflower (2ch)”. The nice thing about this is if Soundflower ever has a problem or is not loaded, the sound will still go to the speakers.

6) Open up Quicktime and on the menu click File -> New Audio Recording. Click the little triangle on the right of the window that pops up, and under “Microphone” select “Aggregate Input: Inputs AND Soundflower (2ch)”.

That’s it! Now when you record with Quicktime, it’s bringing in both the skype output and the microphone, which are mixed via the Aggregate Device we created. We needed to create the Multi-output device and install Soundflower because otherwise OS X has no way to hook up the OUT of the Multi-output device into the IN of the Aggregate Device — that’s what soundflower does.

For the visual learners among us, this is what we’ve set up:

E4B9F9ENXb0e7JB847LQfhdL

FYI: It’s possible to do this without the Multi-output device — just by selecting Soundflower 2ch as the output device in skype and then in the Soundflower Bed menu selecting “Built-in Output” under Soundflower 2ch. I opted not to do that in case there are any issues with soundflower (ie that output option resetting, the driver not working). I’d rather still be able to hear the skype call and not be able to record than hear nothing from skype at all.

The one thing to watch out for if you’re doing it the way I describe is that if “Built-in Output” is checked in Soundflower Bed under Soundflower 2ch, you might get a funny echo since the audio would be coming from both the multi-output device AND soundflower 2ch simultaneously.

Let me know if this is helpful in the comments below!

24 Comments on “How to Record Skype Calls for Free on a Mac”

  1. @mdvfunes

    This seems to be working really well. Thank you. I will tell you for sure tomorrow when I record my interview!

  2. wayne

    Thanks for the tip Justin. It worked well for me. Any thoughts on how you would bring in system audio into the recording? It should be in audible in Skype for the other callers. I’m going to experiment a bit to see if I can figure it out.

  3. Roam

    will it interfere with regular skype calls because i cant hear my friend when i call him
    do i have to recored to hear there voices

  4. Max

    Please help I tried this many times and it wont work for me i’m using quicktime player and i cant find the Aggregate option help me please.

  5. rrich

    It IS working for me, now, thanks! BUT in the aggregated device i had to uncheck the internal mics “mute” button which, for some reason yet unknown to me, gets activated during creation of the device. i’m on mavericks, maybe that’s an issue?

  6. Mr Anon Y. Mous

    It doesn’t work for me… I can’t hear me, my friends or the game. I’ve followed the steps, I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong

  7. Mau

    This is such a neat idea. I have used SoundFlower in the past to record to MP3 but never though of it as an aggregator for Skype recordings. Will try it out as of now. Thanks a lot mate!

  8. Garth Bard

    Simply, the bets explanation for how to use soundflower with skype. If you could add a second video that helps people navigate the rather user-unfriendly process of downloading and enabling soundflower first that would be equally awesome.

  9. sid

    Hi, I used the directions to set up and use soundflower. Whilst I guess the set up is fine, I cant hear the recorded files on Quicktime or my folder. Do I change the settings again for it to be accessible? Can’t review the files, please let me know.
    Thanks

  10. Mitch O'Hearn

    Hey Justin,

    This was a great tutorial. You really nailed it, thanks. I have a new challenge. How can you do the same thing with FaceTime? Seeing as though you don’t have “Speaker” options in FaceTime like Skype, is this even possible?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Mitch

    1. Justin

      Hey Mitch,
      In the latest version of Facetime that I’ve got (Version 3.0 on OS X 10.11.3), you can change the audio output device by going to Video -> Output on the menu bar. This should work with just that change if you’ve followed the instructions for the Skype setup.

      For what it’s worth, you can also change the *system* output device to the “Multi-Output Device” we created, either in System Preferences -> Sound -> Output, or by holding the option key and clicking the volume icon in the OS X menu bar.

      Hope this helps.
      Justin

  11. David

    This had been stressing me out so bad. Thanks! You by far gave the best, simplest, easiest to understand explanation. Again… infinite thanks!

  12. Jon England

    This is brilliant thanks!

    It’s been awhile since this was first compiled and things have moved on, if only a little.

    I’m running 10.10.5 with Soundflower v2.0b2 (https://github.com/mattingalls/Soundflower/releases/tag/2.0b2). Soundflower Bed has been depreciated (apparently a new version is being worked on) so i didn’t click ‘None’ for both 2 and 64 channel entries. Other than that I followed these instructions and it worked like a dream. Oh… FWIW – Skype Version 7.33 (206)

  13. Thomas Kilroy

    Fantastic post, really brilliant use of the OS and the first class soundflower, thanks Justin!

  14. Peter Neslon

    Thank you for these instructions, really helpful!! I used to record skype calls with acethinker screen recorder, works pretty well. It is a free web-based tool that lets you record your screen right from your browser. You don’t have to install any additional plug-ins or add-ons. Share it here as an alternative

  15. Erik

    Great post! Working with OSX Sierra (10.12.4), Skype (7.48) and using it with a headset (logitech g930). For step 1 I did not mute any channels for SoundFlower 2ch/64ch. I initially muted the master volumes but then I could only hear my own voice, not the system sounds. For step 3 & 4 I selected my headset instead of the ‘built-in’ options.

Leave a Reply