[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 spaker 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! 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?

  • 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 (41)

  1. Helton Minardi

    Hi, I noticed that when we're using earphones in any call, the app records perfectly. This not happens when we're in a call without earphones... Any preview of solution for this? (Motorola G6 Plus)

  2. Anthony Ames

    I just got a pixel 3 xl, got it up and running and the first call I made, before even knowing about the pie issue, recorded fine. I did no tweaking to any settings. Is it a fluke?

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