[KB] Android 9 (P) Call recording issues

Issue #2418 new
copluk
repo owner created an issue

We would like to inform our users that there will be no call recording workaround on Android 9 and above. No 3rd party call recording app will be able to do so.

Please note that this only applies to Android 9. You can download ACR from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nll.acr if you are still using Android 5, 6, 7 or 8.

However, it may be possible to record from the internal speaker with some clarity on some phones such as Huawei or Pixel phones. See "Best possible solutions in the meantime?" section below


A quick history

Official call recording API was discontinued on Android 6 by Google (see https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/37094464 ) on the grounds of user privacy. (Google encourages users to lower their security by getting root access which they need to unlock this feature. Rooting also voids device warranty.)

Luckily, few developers found a workaround and it worked up until Android 8.1. Sadly, we have learnt that Google has closed that workaround on Android 9.

Future

There will be no call recording possibility on any Android 9 phone. No app will be able to record calls properly.

Many are affected

A quick search on the Google Play Store shows more than 200 million total installs for over 200 call recording apps. It is clear that there is a legitimate need for call recording support. We alone received many thank you emails from our customers telling us how call recording helped them to win legitimate court cases, recover financial losses, listen to voice of loved ones who are have passed away or even save their lives!

What can be done?

We believe removing call recording support on privacy grounds does not make sense. It would be trivial for Google to create a special permission where call recording apps would request and access call recording API is user grants the permission.

A glimpse of hope?

In fact, there seems to be some work being done related to call recording by Google (see https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/110433612 ). Unfortunately, there is no detailed information about this nor it is available to developers yet. Even if there is any update, it would take another Android version to roll such support. However, we think, call recording support could be part of Google Play Services and rolled out quickly if wanted.

Are you affected?

We believe not having access to call recording will affect millions of people. Unfortunately, we developers can no longer help you with call recording fixes. You might want to contact Google if you are affected by this . Many people already have at Google's official issue tracker. See https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/112602629

Best possible solutions in the meantime?

  • Try setting Audio Source to MIC and Recording format to MP3, M4A (not mp4), OGG or FLAC and set Gain to 10-14. This may help capturing other party's voice on some phones such as Huawei and Pixel where echo cancellation algorithm is not aggressive.
  • Turning loud speaker on while in a call would work on most phones.
  • Rooting your phone and using a call recording app that supports root methods. We do not advice or recommend rooting your phone. ACR does not support root methods at the moment. Rooting might void your warranty and prevent usage of some apps such as online banking or payment apps.
  • Some manufacturers provide built-in record buttons on phone dialer. You might want to ask your manufacturer if they do so.

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Comments (65)

  1. Jeff Owens

    Greetings I have been active on this issue for some time On 28 March with no apparent warning my ACR stopped recording calls My phone is Galaxy note 9 SM-N960F I have kept the v8 operating system 8.1.0 i.e. have not changed to pie I have kept the ACR software v 31.4

    My SD card had got rather full but I have now deleted a lot of older files

    Any ideas? regards

    Jeff Owens

  2. Maxim Zyatnin

    @copluk why not to release unofficial version that would still work on a rooted device?

    I'm a paid user and even considering rooting my device since accidentally updated it to 9, as the call recording is nearly the only feature that holds me on android. You have already done similar thing with Galaxy Store (with call log permissions) - I switched to that version. So pleeeeease, make another version - a single APK for rooted devices.

  3. copluk reporter

    As I have explained few times, root development is not a simple thing and not something can be learnt easily. We are of course exploring possibilities and would update our users as and when we have root version

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