How-To: Record live Beats 1 radio shows on your Mac for free


Apple’s Beats 1 global radio station went online this week, and its programming is already grabbing plenty of headlines. The challenge: just like conventional radio, the station doesn’t (yet) offer on-demand recordings of complete past shows. If there’s a DJ, specific artist, new show, or interview you’re really interested in hearing, you’ll need to tune in live… or, if you have a spare iOS 8.4 (or soon, iOS 9) device, you can use this handy guide to record Beats 1 shows using OS X’s free built-in app QuickTime Player. Read on for the details…


Start by turning Auto-Lock off on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch by going to the Settings app, then General > Auto-Lock > Never. Next, open the Music app on your iOS device, go to the Radio tab, and hit Listen Now on the Beats 1 radio station. Then, once the station is playing, plug your device into your Mac.



Load QuickTime Player on your Mac, go to the File menu at the top of the screen, and pick New Audio Recording. When the window (above left) pops up, click on the little V mark next to the circular recording button and select your connected iOS device, with Quality on High. You’ll notice the gray audio level bars turning white to indicate that the audio from your device is being heard by QuickTime.

beats1recordHit the recording button (initially marked with a red circle) to start the Beats 1 recording process, then hit the same button (marked with a gray square) to stop it.



When you stop recording, the window will change to a playable preview, which you can save by going to File > Save at the top of the screen. You’ll get a m4a-format MPEG-4 audio file, playable in iTunes. At this point, you can re-enable Auto-Lock on your iOS device if you want.

Another free alternative, albeit lower quality, is to use QuickTime Player to record Beats 1 indirectly from iTunes on your Mac using the Mac’s integrated microphone as a source. There are other methods to re-route a Mac’s audio to create a cleaner audio source for QuickTime to discover, generally using paid software, but this one is free, and as simple as plug and play.

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  1. massive unread mail :) thanks for the how-to!

    • TfT_02 - 8 years ago

      Lol yeah, what is up with that Jeremy?

      • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

        Let’s just say I get a lot of unwanted email.

  2. tdgeditor1 - 8 years ago

    You can do this without iphone. Install free app soundflower. And record soundflower on quicktime app. Voila!

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      Soundflower seriously messed up the audio settings on a couple of my Macs years ago, and I haven’t gone back to it since. But it looks like Rogue Amoeba has taken responsibility for the app, and may have cleaned it up, so if someone wants to try it, it’s here.

  3. Spark - 8 years ago

    On iOS you can click on the top Beats 1 banner to pull up a list of upcoming shows. Below this list are recordings of past shows. Don’t know if it is all of them, or how long they will stay available, but the fact is that you CAN hear pre-broadcast shows. I haven’t yet found the same function on the Mac version.

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      They’re playlists from the shows, not the shows themselves.

      • pdjhh - 8 years ago

        Yeh but I can’t find them on the Mac either, only the phone. Do you know if they are there?

  4. Joel Reeves - 8 years ago

    There is another paid app called AirplayRecorder that allows you to fool iTunes into thinking the app is a set of remote airplay speakers, while it saves the stream as a file that you can later add to your iTunes Library. Turn on the iTunes radio and it records away, skipping adds because they are too short. You can turn off the local speakers and let the recorder run all day in the background

    • NQZ (@surgesoda) - 8 years ago

      Does this work even though Beats 1 purposely disables AirPlay support on OS X?

      • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

        It doesn’t. Tried it before putting this article together. Apple found a way to totally break it with Beats 1.

      • Joel Reeves - 8 years ago

        I know it still works with iTunes radio in 12.2, haven’t tried Beats Radio yet. I wonder why they would lock up Beats, without the rest of the Radio function.

  5. archie4oz (@archie4oz) - 8 years ago

    Then there’s the grand daddy of them all, Audio Hijack…

  6. NQZ (@surgesoda) - 8 years ago

    Do you know what ROI stands for? Yeah, that’s right… Radio: On Internet — LOL

  7. jkruehne - 8 years ago

    never thought about that.. good idea.

    but something totally different:
    beats 1 and apple music doesn’t work. loading spinner are the only active ports on screen
    (except “new” and “connect” category… looks like a great >service< …

  8. frikova - 8 years ago

    Isn’t this illegal?

  9. Chris - 8 years ago

    You could just hold your tape recorder in front of the speakers on your radio like we did with the charts on a Sunday night back in the ’80’s!

  10. Thanks Jeremy. Awesome out-of-the-box thought solutions appreciated, yet I admit it cracks me up to remember the very 1st time I recorded music from old radio (over-the-air) positioning a tape recorder in front of my parent’s stereo. Like BBC, KCRW and tons of podcast providers AppleMusic needs to assure that Beats1 can store podcasts for all shows for various weeks. Digital migrants or natives, we’re all used to a healthy combo of live web radio, streaming services, podcasts, satellite, cable, online, on-demand, anytime, and old media.

    Clearly some of us are media junkies (mainstream and niche content) regardless most people are using at least two types of content sources. Like millions, I look forward to #Beats1 #OnDemand pronto!