Voice mail file extension .smil

Basem Khawaja
Basem Khawaja used Ask the Experts™
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I have many voicemails that I transferred from my Android phone Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with a file extension .smil. that I can not listen to . Can you advise me on what to use in order to listen to them? Also, why does the voice mail gets recorded in this file extension not other ones like .avi or .mp3?  Thank you
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Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
Do you need something that plays these on Android?
In Windows you can play .smil streams using RealPlayer, QuickTime or MediaPlayer Classic which all natively containing the .smil codecs
There are 4 different specifications for the .smil standard but they should all be backwards compatible.

You may need to ask Samsung why they chose this format but likely it's because .smil also supports encryption of the file.  You probably don't want to secure a music .mp3 on your phone but you might want your voicemail to be protected.
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi Basem,

I suspect you're going to copy those audio files back to your computer and convert them to a more universally supported format like .mp3. The question of why the .smil format was used could only be answered by the creator of the software (or phone) who decided to use such a proprietary format. What is creating these files? As in which model phone or software?

Either way, if you are able to upload one of those .smil audio files that does not contain any sensitive information, I'm pretty confident I can find a tool that will convert the lot into a more supported format. If audio files are still being created in that format, then there should be be a way to get whatever is creating them to save as mp3 instead as well.

Need more information here.

Regards, Andrew
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
MASQ
I have Media Player Classic and it does not open .smil

Andrew
If it can be converted to .mp3 that's great but main goal is to be able to listen to it . I will download Real Player and see if that works. I do have VLC, Groove and WMP but they don't work .
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Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Basem, Once converted to .mp3, you will most certainly be able to listen to them.

The other part of the question though is how to ensure future recordings are made in a compatible format such as MP3 - for that, we need to know what exactly, is creating the .smil files in the first place :)

Regards, Andrew
Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
You cannot do anything with your .smil files.

Why?

The .smil is only a very small file like a HTML file for web browser and they can only be opened in the voicemail app of your carrier.

When the . smil file is opened and you click the Play button, the voicemail audio is just streamed from voicemail server of your carrier. If your carrier allows your voicemail audio to be downloaded, you need to download them within a few days as the voicemail audio file will be removed from the server.

How can I confirm the above?

Use notepad in your Windows PC to open your .smil files and you will see that they are only text files.
 
Or you can upload one of them and we can show it to you.
10.1.1.122.3565.pdf
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
But .smil files contain the URL for the media stream.  This is what the players (that do support container files) pick up and re-direct to.
Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
If there are voicemails url, my wild guess is that the url for the media streams for voicemail audio are no longer there and it is the results of "not open" and  “don't work" when you try to open then from media player like vlc.

Do we expect cellular service providers to keep voicemails for a long time more than a week?

No. Unless your cellular service providers explicitly agree to provide you such service.

What you can do?

If the voicemails are critical, ask your cellular service provider to see whether they do have a backup for the voicemails audio media files.
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
So I take it as I will not be able to listen to those voice mails with the smil. file extensions. How can I save them in the future from my cell phone? Thank you.
Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
So I take it as I will not be able to listen to those voice mails with the smil. file extensions. How can I save them in the future from my cell phone? Thank you.

Which company is your cellular service provider?
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
The pragmatic solution would be to save them locally as you receive them.  As Jackie says, if you open the .smil html you'll find the path to the cell provider's voicemail store and your message.  Because your provide can encrypt the audio to only open on the phone that has the matching number you may need to record real-time as you play back.  Otherwise you could reverse engineer the path to your file and try to listen to other people's voice messages.

Easiest test is to send yourself a voice message from another phone then try copying and playing the .smil on your PC while you know the message is still accessible on their servers.  If you still can't play it back (and you know it is present) it's likely it's encrypted.
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Jackie Man:
I have AT&T.

MASQ:
How do I do the copying of the VM and play it on my PC?  ""Easiest test is to send yourself a voice message from another phone then try copying and playing the .smil on your PC while you know the message is still accessible on their servers.  If you still can't play it back (and you know it is present) it's likely it's encrypted.""
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
I'm assuming from your original question that you have all the .smils for your VMs
If you leave yourself a message then another one should appear, you'll know that message is available in your AT&T account and one of the media players listed should be able to play that using the .smil file to point to the audio file ( or you can use the path in the .smil HTML to go to it directly

If it doesn't playback it's locked to access only over AT&T's network and tied to your number.
Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
I have AT&T.

Are you using AT&T Visual Voicemail app to play the voicemails?

If yes, you need to open AT&T Visual Voicemail app to check whether there is an option to save the voicemail in your local storage.

I have never been to the United States. The above advice is what I got from my Google search.
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Let me take a look at the Visual Voicemail and see if I can save it. Also can you please tell me how to do this in a simple manner? ""should be able to play that using the .smil file to point to the audio file ( or you can use the path in the .smil HTML to go to it directly"".

Thank you,
Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Also can you please tell me how to do this in a simple manner? ""should be able to play that using the .smil file to point to the audio file ( or you can use the path in the .smil HTML to go to it directly.

No. It is unlikely that you can save the audio file with a third-party app. The connection to the voicemail server is encrypted and you cannot save the audio file with a third-party app.

If anyone with your .smil files can access your voicemail audio, there is no security in place at all.

You need to look within the AT&T Visual Voicemail app.
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
Try opening one of the .smil in Notepad
You'll find a URL pointing at the associated VM
Point your player at that address (that's what the .smil is doing)
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
I give up there is no url when I opened it with notepad. This is what shows up in notepad after I click on the file open with


<smil><head><layout><root-layout width="1845px" height="1080px"/><region id="Text" left="0" top="972" width="1845px" height="108px" fit="meet"/><region id="Image" left="0" top="0" width="1845px" height="972px" fit="meet"/></layout></head><body><par dur="5000ms"><text src="cid:text_0.txt" region="Text"/><img src="20140127_092813.jpeg" region="Image"/></par></body></smil>
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Commented:
That's not the .smil for an audio file it's an MMS message - no wonder you're not getting anywhere with it!

It's possibly a text message notifying you of a waiting voice message.
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Thank you All.

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