Sometimes, it’s good to be able to keep a record of a phone conversation. Whether it’s dealing with organisations or individuals that have a tendency to say one thing then do another or preserving an ideas session with your friends and colleagues, the ability to record a phone call can be very useful.
We’ve already written about how to record calls on an iPhone, but if you need to do this on an Android phone, here's how it’s done.
Is it legal to record phone calls?
This is obviously a key question when you’re considering recording a conversation. The truth is that it varies depending on where you are. In the UK, the rule seems to be that you’re allowed to capture telephone calls for your own records, but sharing the recordings is illegal without the permission of the other person.
In other parts of the world, you may need to tell the person at the beginning of the conversation that you will be recording or not be required to give any warnings at all. We are not legal experts, and suggest that you check the laws in your region before hitting record, as we take no responsibility for any issues you may run into down the line. Learn the laws and abide by them and you won’t get into trouble.
Do I need an app to record calls on Android?
There are two main methods for recording phone calls on your device: apps or external hardware. If you don’t want to faff around with microphones and such, the app route is simple and makes it possible to record any call no matter where you are.
If you prefer the straightforward approach of putting your device on speaker mode, then there are many devices that can make recordings, whether a dictaphone, a second phone with a voice memo app or even your laptop or PC, so long as it has a microphone.
Using an external recorder such as these devices is the safer option if you want reliable recordings, as the app route can often encounter problems when Google updates Android, sometimes rendering the other person on the call silent, which is the exact opposite of what you want.
Of course, using hands-free modes can signal to people that you may be recording the call, not to mention this makes it difficult discussing sensitive information in more public settings.
You can buy specialist recorders that act as intermediary devices so that you don’t have to use hands-free mode.
One such option is the RecorderGear PR200 which is a Bluetooth recorder through which you can route your calls. This means that the phone sends the audio to the PR200, which records it, and you use the mini handset to chat to the person on the other end. It’s like a remote control for phone calls. We’ve haven't tested one, but the reviews on Amazon suggest that it’s a reliable way to make recordings.
As the external recorder route is pretty self-explanatory, we’ll now concentrate on the app method in this guide.
How to use an app to record phones calls on Android
Searching for Call Recorder on Android will turn up a surprising number of options, as the Play Store is host to quite a few apps in this department. It’s a good idea to check the reviews, as Android updates have a habit of breaking some of these apps, with the developers then needing to scramble to fix them.
If you’re unsure which version your phone currently uses, take a quick look at how to find out which version of Android you have, and you’ll be able to work it out in a few seconds.
Another consideration is the permissions many of these apps require in order to install. Obviously, you’ll need to grant access to calls, microphones and local storage, but some go well beyond that to the point where we question what possible reasons they can have for demanding such comprehensive access to your system. Be sure to read through the descriptions so you know what you’re getting into.
At the time of writing, some of the most popular call recording apps on the Play store were:
but there are plenty of others to choose from. For this tutorial we’ll use Cube ACR, but the methods should be pretty much the same across the board.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed your recorder, it’s time to set up the recording features. After granting the various permissions required, we encountered a page where Cube ACR informed us that due to Google prohibiting cases to the call log for all call recording apps, we would have to enable the Cube ACR App Connector in order for the app to work. Tap the Enable App Connector button then tap the Cube ACR App Connector option in the Installed services list so that it reads On.
Once all of the permissions and other services have been enabled so that the app can records calls, you’ll want to give it a test run. So, tap the Phone button to get things rolling.
Either type in a number or select one from your Contacts list and call them as normal. On the call screen you’ll notice that there is now a section on the right-hand side that shows a highlighted microphone, this signals that the app is recording.
You can tap it on and off throughout a call, which will stop and then restart the recording as necessary. There’s also another icon to the right of the microphone which has a person silhouette surrounded by curved arrows. This enables or disables the option to automatically record all calls with that specific person.
When the conversation is complete. Hang up and go to the Cube ACR app where you’ll find the recording. Tap on one and you’ll see the play controls appear, allowing you to listen to the conversation once more.
That’s it, you should now be armed with all the knowledge you need to be able to record voice calls on your Android phone.