Record phone calls on a smart­phone

Android Advisor - - News -

You might think record­ing calls on your smart­phone would be a rel­a­tively easy task. Af­ter all, most new mod­els ar­rive with some sort of voice record­ing app al­ready in­stalled, and it shouldn’t prove much of a tech­no­log­i­cal chal­lenge to the likes of a Sam­sung Galaxy S6. Well, that isn’t

the case, and in truth it can be a bit of a pain. There are many rea­sons why you might want to record a call, but do­ing so can be tricky. Here’s how to record phone calls on a smart­phone, and some le­gal is­sues to be aware of first.

The law

One of the rea­sons you can’t record calls straight out of the box might be the po­ten­tial le­gal ram­i­fi­ca­tions that man­u­fac­tur­ers would con­sider prob­lem­atic. The law cur­rently has a few con­di­tions at­tached to the record­ing of calls, and th­ese dif­fer across coun­tries and re­gions.

In the US there are fed­eral laws that say it’s okay to record, but then there are state laws that say you can’t, or at least de­mand that both par­ties know that the record­ing is hap­pen­ing. As An­droid Ad­vi­sor doesn’t moon­light as Law Ad­vi­sor, we’d rec­om­mend you re­search the spe­cific leg­is­la­ture in your area and en­sure you ad­here fully to its stip­u­la­tions.

The UK has a uni­form law, but even within this there are con­di­tions de­pen­dant on why you’re cre­at­ing the record­ing. The gen­eral rule is that you can record some­one with­out their knowl­edge, but only if you in­tend to use the record­ing for per­sonal use. Once you play the file to a third party, be it a friend, fam­ily, or what­ever, then you are in breach of the law and could find your­self in trou­ble. If you’re con­duct­ing an in­ter­view, as jour­nal­ists of­ten do, you need to ask for per­mis­sion to record, oth­er­wise you can’t use any­thing said on the call. There are a few spe­cial ex­cep­tions, in­clud­ing if you think a crime is be­ing com­mit­ted, but again th­ese should be re­searched be­fore you em­bark on any sting op­er­a­tions.

Busi­nesses can record con­ver­sa­tion with­out in­form­ing you, but only for spe­cific com­merce re­lated rea­sons, such as en­sur­ing qual­ity of ser­vice. There are a few other cir­cum­stances, all of which are out­lined on Of­com’s web­site (

One other form of record­ing that is per­mit­ted is that used by the se­cu­rity, in­tel­li­gence and po­lice ser­vices, as out­lined in the Regulation of In­ves­ti­ga­tory Pow­ers Act (RIPA). As this cov­ers na­tional se­cu­rity, the preven­tion of se­ri­ous crime, and the pro­tec­tion of the UK’s eco­nomic well-be­ing, it’s not re­ally ap­pli­ca­ble in most cases to you.

Record phone calls

To cap­ture con­ver­sa­tions, you’ll need to down­load a call recorder app from the Google Play store. There are quite a few to choose from, with the likes of An­other Call Recorder, Au­to­matic Call Recorder, and sim­i­larly-ti­tled of­fer­ings all gar­ner­ing solid re­views.

Many are free, but there are of­ten Pre­mium edi­tions that open up more fea­tures, such as cloud sync­ing. For the pur­poses of this tu­to­rial we’ll use To­tal Re­call, mainly be­cause we’re big Sch­warzeneg­ger fans.


Go to the Google Play Store and search for To­tal Re­call 2. In­stall and launch the app 3. Open up your di­aller or con­tacts app and start a call 4. To­tal Re­call au­to­mat­i­cally records the

con­ver­sa­tion and stops when you hang up 5. Go back to the app, se­lect the con­ver­sa­tion,

and lis­ten back

That’s it. One thing to bear in mind is that hav­ing more than one call recorder in­stalled at any one time can cause per­for­mance is­sues. So, if you want to ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent apps, re­mem­ber to delete any oth­ers be­fore you be­gin. Mar­tyn Casserly

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