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5 min read 27 comments

How to record a phone call on your Android smartphone

Update: Android 9 Pie ends call recording

Hey, I'm not judging you. There could be any number of totally legit reasons why you want to record a phone call. Maybe you need the recording for your new podcast show? Or perhaps you have just one chance to speak to Bill Murray and you wish to capture the moment forever? Whatever your reasons, it is possible to record a phone call on your Android smartphone, and we're going to show you how, but not before an important update regarding Android 9.0 Pie...

Warning: Before we start, be aware that it could be illegal to record a phone call without the other person's knowledge in your country. Make sure you know what the law is before you do so.

Android Pie marks the end of call recording apps

We’re all excited for the full roll-out of Android 9.0 Pie, and the cool new features it will bring, but one that might be coming to an end is call recording. Despite news back in February that Android P would add a call recording tone to support lawfully recorded phone calls, it now looks like Google is completely blocking call recording without rooting.

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You will need a rooted Android smartphone if you want to record phone calls in future. / © ANDROIDPIT

When Google scrapped its official call-recording API with the release of Marshmallow, developers were able to get around the issue and apps such a CallRecorder - ACR and BoldBeast’s Call Recorder were born. However, both developers have now confirmed that the loopholes that made those apps possible are closed in Pie. This leaves root-only methods for those who want to record phone calls.

If you want to know how to record a phone call before the Android 9.0 Pie update hits, you can follow our guide below.

How to record a phone call on Android

The easiest way to record a phone call is with the help of an Android app. There are many out there that fulfill this purpose, but the one we can recommend is Smart Voice Recorder. It's simple and free, and you can download it from this link

androidpit smart voice recorder 2
This is how to record a phone call on Android. / © ANDROIDPIT

The images below demonstrate the process on a Sony Xperia device. Though your phone may look different, the steps are essentially the same. 

  • Make a call or answer an incoming phone call. 
  • Once the call is connected, ask the recipient if you may record the phone call. If they respond in the affirmative, you may continue with the following steps.
  • Switch your phone to speakerphone or hands-free mode (in this case, by tapping the speaker icon). 
androidpit how to record calls
Turn your smartphone to hands-free mode. / © ANDROIDPIT
  • Press the home button to arrive at the homescreen without canceling your call.  
  • Open the Smart Voice Recorder app.
  • Tap the big red button to begin recording (if it is successful, the colored waveforms on the display will visibly move as you talk).
andoridpit how to record calls 2
If the call is recording, you should see the colored bars on the display moving. / © ANDROIDPIT
  • Make sure that the caller's voice is audible. The louder it is, the better it will sound on the recording. Increase the volume using the volume key on the side of the device if you need to.
  • When the call is over, tap the square button that says Finish in the Smart Voice Recorder app, and name the file if it prompts you to do so.  
  • The recorded file will then be accessible in the Recordings section of the app. Tap and hold on a recording to interact with it. 
androidpit record calls 3
Rename your voice call recording and share it, if you wish. / © ANDROIDPIT

How much trouble you can get into for recording a voice call without permission depends on which country you are in. The rules generally float between single-party and two-party consent, but even then there exceptional cases where call recording is allowed.

In the US, state law determines the level of consent. Florida, California and Nevada, for example, require that both parties consent to the call being recorded for it to be considered legal. Other states, such as Texas, Michigan and Illinois only require one party to consent to the recording.

In the United Kingdom, you are fine to make a recording of a phone call without notifying the other party as long as it is for personal use, but you cannot make it available to a third party - by using it on a podcast or playing it to someone, for example. In Germany, two-party consent is a must. In Italy, it’s anything goes.

Despite the differences in legality from country to country, Google appears to be playing it safe and blocking it entirely. A new workaround may surface in the future, of course, but it seems unlikely at this stage. For now, it looks as though Pie users will have to go down the root-enabled application route if they want to record phone calls on an Android device.

What do you think about Android 9.0 Pie squashing the recorded phone call? Do you ever use call recording apps anyway? Let us know in the comments.

27 comments

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  • I live in the UK and there is no law forbidding me to record phone calls for personal use. This is very useful for the very simple reason that in two cases I have ordered stuff by phone and have then been told, after the incorrect items delivered, that I have got what I ordered. There is an amazing change in attitude when I ask the supplier if they would like me to send them a copy of the phone call. One said yes and the other gave in. We also suffer from authority giving us incorrect information because they can't be bothered to check. All this goes because of this unfortunate attitude, made for whatever reason, that Android has adopted. Does anyone know why this has happened?


  • Mislyn 3 months ago Link to comment

    I think it's wrong of Google to do this, in cases of stalking and abuse a recorded call can be a valuable piece of evidence.


  • Unless there is a way to see the phone number you called, or is calling you, in the file name of the sound byte then it is no good.


  • That's a great article Scott! It's a neat idea to put the call on loud-speaker and record the call. But if you are not in a quiet place, chances are that it would also record ambient sounds.

    If Android users intend to record a research interview, a recruitment interview or any other such important conversation, then here is a reliable web based service - Recordator.com

    Since it's not an app, you don't need to worry about compatibility with your phone handset. As you have mentioned, one needs to adhere to the laws that govern call recording, which depend on where you live. More information here on Wikipedia - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_recording_laws

    With Recordator.com you can begin recording in less than 2 minutes. It can record outgoing and incoming calls too. Cheers!


  • After upgrading to Android 6.0 all recorders in the market don't work well without root for popular phones like Galaxy S7, S6, S5, Note5, Note4, Moto G 3rd, Moto G Turbo Edition, Moto X Play, Sony Z5, Z4, Z3, HTC 10, LG-G5, G4, G3, Huawei Mate8, Mate S, P9, P8, P7, Honer7, Honer6, G8, G7 etc. However Boldbeast Call Recorder still works great, NO ROOT NEEDED, it records calls crystal clear in two directions. This is the only solution in the world that works really well without root.


  • Alex Apr 25, 2016 Link to comment

    That was really helpful!!Thanks for posting it mate!


  • I realise most people who have used Recording Apps, have their preference on what works better, however, reading the article that one must place phone on speaker phone, seemed counter intuitive, hence I share an app I used that automates the recording, with exclusions one can select, option to delete a recorded call directly after call ends AND backs up to cloud Storage.Call Recorder - ACR - find it in Google Play Store


  • Just use ACR on the play store


  • If it's a rooted Samsung device, Wanam Xposed works like a charm.
    Else, Automate with Call Record module also works just fine.


  • automatic call recorder app works well on a Nexus 6 and it can be set to auto record every call.


  • Brooke Feb 23, 2016 Link to comment

    Nexus 5 (2013) doesn't have a call recorder app that works (tried BoldBeast before). You can record with the app in this article, but why would you take the time every call to find the app and turn it on. I wish an automatic worked on Nexus 5


  • From what I can tell is that there are many apps to do this but it more than likely is trial and error to find the ones that will work with your device. I would hope that it's not something locked down completely by the manufacturers.


  • I currently use a Moto X Pure, and Total Recall Call Recorder (search the Play Store for Total Recall) works great for me, and I didn't need to root. I tried a few of the other apps that were appeared higher in the Play Store and none of them worked. Definitely would highly recommend this particular call recorder. The app this site reviewed did NOT work for me whatsoever.


  • If this isn't working for you, try www.securespeak.com. They give you a phone number that you can 3-way into a call - whatever it hears gets recorded and emailed to you. They've got a free trial running right now too.


  • Try Boldbeast Call Recorder when you can't find an app to record calls well on your cell phone as in fact it supports more phone than other call recorders.
    For example:
    Boldbeast Call Recorder is the only solution to Moto G with No Root.
    Boldbeast Call Recorder is the first solution to HTC one M8 Android 5.0 with No Root.


  • @stom70044: No, it's not working on my note 3.


    • Please try Boldbeast Call Recorder.

      For Note3 running Android 4.3, no need to root.

      For Note3 running Android 4.4, the following models don't need root:
      - SM-N900 (India, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)
      - SM-N9005 (Australia, Russia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Hong kong)
      - SM-N900A (ATT)
      - SM-N900P (Sprint)
      - SM-N900V (Verizon)
      Other models running Android 4.4 need root, after root, use Record Mode 5 or 7.


    • Have you tried Boldbeast Call Recorder on your Note 3?

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