[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 call 3rd party recording app such as ACR 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.


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! You can see the following Reddit discussion about what people are saying https://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/97cdo3/android_pie_blocks_all_nonroot_call_recording/

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? You contact Google

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 Google has an issue tracker located at https://issuetracker.google.com/issues?q=componentid:190923%20status:open.

Best possible solutions in the meantime?

  • Turning loud speaker on while in a call would work on most phones.
  • Setting recording format to MP3, M4A (not mp4), OGG or FLAC and setting Gain under recording settings might improve things
  • Rooting your phone and using a call recording app that supports root methods. We do not advice or recommend rooting your phone. 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 (56)

  1. RYU HAN SEUNG

    I remember that you had suffered similarly when Samsung's Galaxy S9 released, but before long, you got a solution for that soon. I thought that the solution exploits some glitches of Android, so why don't you apply the same solution to Android P? Is there any big difference between Android O and P's recording features, and is it really unsolvable?

  2. copluk reporter

    Currently we have no plans to support root recording. We have no experience with root methods. However this does not mean we won't in the future.

  3. Jeff Owens

    I understand that in New Zealand ACR currently works on s9 and note9 using Oreo (Android 8 or 8.1) are those phones likely to to move to android 9 and thus have call recording blocked? If so would it be possible to not accept that software change and stick to Oreo? If I did that is a future upgrade to Oreo still carry a risk that ACR is blocked again? If that is a risk then I propose to get an earlier galaxy eg s7 Any comments?

  4. Janet Stockley

    I updated to Android 9 on my Google Pixel XL on 5th September and just noticed today your Message within ACR App about no support call recording. Just letting you know it is still fully working for me 100% YAY. I am in Australia.

  5. Jeff Owens

    Does anyone happen to know whether the s9 or note 9 have been updated to android 9 and whether ACR works on those phones. Would be good to get a response from someone in Australia or New Zealand so we are talking the same hardware

  6. copluk reporter

    Tatum, it is not real call recording. Like any other call recording apps, ACR picks up the other side from your earpiece speaker

  7. Xiaojie Lee

    Right now i'm using Pixel 2 XL on Android 8.1

    To verify whether changing record method could still working, i have changed the audio source from 'VOICE_COMMUNICATION‘ to 'MIC', recording format to MP3, and calls can be recorded with a little sound quality decline(not turn on loud speaker), but acceptable.

    Does this method also work with Android Pie?

  8. Vitaly

    This is false information. The VOICE_CALL API is still there in Pie and if a system app requests the CAPTURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT permission, it can record calls like it has always been able to. Why are you spreading false information like if the API was removed altogether from the system?

  9. Vitaly

    @copluk

    It reads "Not for use by third-party applications"

    That's exactly what I was talking about. If the app is a system app, it is allowed to request that permission and use VOICE_CALL thereafter.

    You're essentially claiming that Google removed the VOICE_CALL/API COMPLETELY from the code of the OS which is not true. You're deluding people into thinking that no app on Android 9 can record calls including vendor-provided system apps.

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

    This is false. System/Vendor stock apps will be able to record calls properly.

    Official call recording API was discontinued on Android 6 by Google

    It's not discontinued, it's still there, it's just only available to system apps.

    And by the way, one of the competing apps is already able to record calls properly on Android 9 if it is granted root.

  10. copluk reporter

    No, it is not false information. No 3rd party app can record anymore. This is simple as that.

    We are not talking about system or manufacturer apps. Information provided above is clearly explains the history and details.

    You don't bring anything useful to the discussion by grossly exaggerating a simple mistake to spreading false information. We never claim that call recording will not be possible by system apps. Rest assured that I'll make sure I make information clearer.

    However, this does not change the fact. I don't know if you are a developer but, I fail to understand why you got offended by this.

    There won't be any 3rd party app call recording. We are 3rd party developers. Availability of protected system APIs that we don't have acces does not help us.

  11. Vitaly

    @copluk I'm only here because I'm growing tired of arguaing with people who claim that no call recording (vendor or 3rd party) will be possible on Android 9 as Google have removed the API altogether from the OS and they all refer to "the developer of ACR" as the source of information.

  12. copluk reporter

    Which is correct. No 3rd party appc an record. This article explains it. It does not claim about system apps.

    There will be no 4rd party call recording app.on Android 9

  13. Janet Stockley

    Just an updated post for copluk and users of ACR. Back on the 5th September 2018 I updated to Android 9 on my Google Pixel XL. 5 days ago there was another update for my Android 9 and, yes, awesome, it is still working 100% on my Google Pixel XL. I am in Australia.

    I just want to thank you so much again copluk for this awesome App. :)

  14. Yonatan Back

    Will this affect one-side voice recording? Meaning recording only the side of the conversation which the app is installed on (i.e. accessing the microphone during a conversation)

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