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How to record a phone conversation on an Android phone

How to record a phone conversation on an Android phone

There are a number of legitimate reasons why you might want to record a phone call. For example, when you talk to a medical professional about, say, test results, you may want to make sure you get all the information correctly. Or if you are interviewing someone for an article or a job position, you may want to make sure that you remember the conversation accurately. Or if a senior in your family suddenly started a story about one of your grandparents, it might be a good idea to have a record of it.

Unfortunately, it has become almost impossible to record a phone call. As I explained in a previous article, US federal law states that you can legally record a telephone conversation but only if you are participating in that conversation. State laws vary. While most states generally follow federal guidelines, some require all parties to consent to registration, rather than just one. You know how, when you call a company, you get a recording that tells you that your call might be recorded? For this.

As a result, if you are on a call and try to use a recording app to record that call, it probably won’t work. (There may still be some Android apps that claim to be able to record your calls despite Google’s protective technology, though most are no longer available. Some use workarounds like creating a third “caller” that is actually a cloud recorder. If you’ Try one out, go ahead, but make sure you’re on a free trial.)

But don’t despair – there are some strategies you can use if you really want to record a call. It’s awkward and not always convenient, but at least it gives you some options.

Quick note: Whatever method you use, the ethical (and often legally required) thing to let the other party on the call know that you’re recording the conversation. I’m just saying.

Google Voice has been around for quite some time now; It is a free service that gives you a virtual phone number that you can use in place of the number provided with your SIM card. I am quite familiar with it; I’ve been using Google Voice for years because it made checking phones easier – if I wanted to use a new device for a week or more, I could simply enable my Google Voice number and not worry about switching SIM cards. (This was before eSIMs became a thing.)

One feature that Google Voice still has is the ability to record an incoming call. This is not a complete solution, of course, because it will not record outgoing calls. But if you’re anticipating a call that you want to record, it can do it for you. (By the way, this is also available for iPhone users.)

Here’s how to set it up:

  • If you don’t have a Google Voice number, first set up one.
  • Download the Google Voice app to your phone.
  • Open the app, tap the menu icon (three parallel lines) in the upper left corner, and go to Settings.
  • Scroll down and switch to Incoming call options.

The settings menu for Google Voice shows a toggle

Now, when you’re on a call, if you tap 4 on the dial pad, the recording will start (and everyone on the call will hear an announcement to that effect). If you click 4 again during the call, it will stop (and again, there will be an ad). Once the call ends, you will find your recording in the voicemail tab of the application.

If you are in a place where you feel comfortable using your speakerphone and you have another device with a recording app, you can use it to record the call. (And no, your phone’s built-in recording app won’t work, even if you have a call on speakerphone.) This is something I often resort to, using an older phone as the recorder. You can use an Android recorder app or a third-party app like Otter or Temi; All three will automatically provide you with transcripts as well. (You can also use any other recording app you like, of course.)

Since the pandemic began, conferencing apps like Zoom have become more familiar as ways to communicate — and many allow you to record a session.


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