We’ve all been there: you get off the phone with a customer service representative who was unbelievably rude, or you’ve made an appointment with a doctor and you’ve already forgotten the time and date of your next appointment. Maybe you’re hiring for your small business, conducting over-the-phone interviews, and need to be able to refer back to the discussion at a later date. Whatever the reason, recording a phone call can be a useful tool to look back on—though you’ll want to be careful and ensure you gain consent before recording someone else during a phone call.
There are dozens of apps on the Play Store capable of recording call audio, but not all of them can do so automatically. Thankfully, “Automatic Call Recorder” exists, an app with an extremely literal name. Don’t let that stop you, though: this app is trusted by over 100 million Android users to help record both incoming and outgoing calls between two parties. Let’s take a look at all the ins-and-outs of recording phone calls automatically on Android.
A Note on Legality
Recording anyone over the phone comes with its fair share of legal ramifications if you aren’t careful to obtain consent and to follow both federal and state laws regarding call recordings. To gain permission, both parties must agree to the phone call being recorded—and yes, you should record the consent as well. Simply begin the call by asking the other caller or callers if they agree to be recorded. For most official calls, like interviews, this isn’t an unexpected practice. If the other caller denies you consent, however, stop and scrap the recording.
If you’re trying to record a customer service call, you probably won’t have to ask for consent. Most businesses and customer service lines will warn you when you call that you may be recorded for quality purposes. Because consent works both ways, you can typically record your side of the call without concern—though again, make sure you have that message of consent on the line.
We aren’t lawyers, so if you are concerned about your legal rights regarding recording and being recorded, make sure you check out both the federal and state laws in your area and look here for the Digital Media Law Project’s thoughts on recording a phone call.
Apps for Recording a Phone Call
We already gave our app recommendation for “Automatic Call Recorder.” For some, the Automatic Call Recorder might not be a perfect fit, so here are some of our other favorite call recorder applications on Google Play.
- Another Call Recorder (ACR): The name’s a bit cheeky, but don’t let it fool you—ACR is a great app for those looking for some extra customization on top of what Automatic Call Recorder offers. You can set up auto or manual call recordings, change the recording format, save your recordings in Dropbox or Google Drive, and exclude numbers from your recording list. It’s an excellent app for those looking to control their entire recording experience beyond what Automatic Call Recorder offers. It’s a free download, but for the Pro version, you’ll need to pay $2.99 for the Pro license.
- Call Recorder: Call Recorder offers an excellent user interface with some of the same features we’ve seen on other apps, including automatic call recording and cloud backups. Call Recorder also provides high-quality audio sampling, so your calls should sound better than other, more-basic recorders. The app is both ad-supported and features in-app purchases ranging up to $9.99.
- Green Apple Call Recorder: Green Apple’s Call Recorder is one of the most fully stocked free recorders in the store. The user interface is not as clean or easy to use in this app, but the sheer volume of features makes up for it.The features include recording options for both outgoing and incoming calls, Dropbox and Google Drive integration by default, black and whitelisting options, and more. It’s a great option, as long as you don’t mind some of the ads in the app.
- Google Voice: If you’re a Google Voice user, you’ll be glad to know that the Voice app can already record calls by default. It isn’t automatic, and the app can only record incoming calls (to try and curb concerns surrounding consent), but it is a viable, and very easy to use option. Head over to your settings menu inside Google Voice, select the Calls tab, and enable “Incoming Call Options.” Now, when you’re in a call inside Google Voice, and you tap “4” on the dial pad, a message from Google will announce a recording has begun. You can stop the recording at any time by tapping “4” again, and another message from Google will let the callers know the recording has ended.
Setting Up Automatic Call Recorder
If you’ve decided to stick with our initial recommendation, Automatic Call Recorder, we’ll walk you through setting up and using the app’s features. Start by heading over to Google Play and downloading the app onto your smartphone. Once the app is downloaded and installed, open it up to start set up.
The initial choice is to set the color theme. This doesn’t truly matter, so make your own personal choice. The next display will ask you to enable cloud backups, either through Dropbox or Google Drive. This will allow a default increase in volume when recording a call to make the audio sound clearer and more audible during playback. When you’ve made your selections, hit “Done.”
The app requires four distinct permissions: record audio, make and manage phone calls, access media and files on your device, and contact access. You need to allow all four. Once these permissions are enabled, you’ll be brought to a mostly-blank display with two tabs: Inbox and Saved. This is where you’ll find your recordings from future phone calls, but for now, let’s head on over to the triple-lined menu icon in the upper-right corner of your display. This will open up the sliding menu inside the app, allowing you to access your cloud account, the included voice recorder, and, most importantly, the settings menu.
Inside of settings, you’ll find a switch to enable or disable automatic calls on your Android device. This is on by default when you install and setup the app, but there may be times where you don’t want to have this enabled. If so, head into settings and toggle the switch on and off. Below this, your cloud account information is once again displayed, followed by more in-depth settings menus for Recordings, Filters, View, and Notifications. Let’s take a quick look at each menu before we continue:
- Cloud: If you skipped setting up your Google Drive or Dropbox account previously, this is where you will be able to set it up later.
- Recording: There are a lot of settings in this menu, and most of it should be left to its default state. The audio source can be switched between several different options, including microphones and voice calls, though it’s best just to leave this on “Voice Communication.” The audio format can be changed into different audio file types, including AAC, AAC2 (enabled by default), and WAV. If your phone is having trouble recording in the default format, you might want to consider switching file types. There are a few toggles here too: a switch to turn on your speakerphone automatically (disabled by default), an option to not record when connected to Bluetooth (enabled by default), the same recording volume option we saw during initial setup, and a recording delay.
- Filers: It’s here where you’ll find the ability to exclude specific contacts from the automaitc recording list. By default, ACR is set to record all calls, with an inbox size of 100 recordings; you can change this to be as low as 5 or as high as 1,000 messages, though the latter will require paying for a Pro version of the app.
- View: This setting contains the theme option for the app we saw earlier, with a choice between “Light” and “Classic (dark).” You can also change the language of the app, and show or hide the subject of a call recording in your inbox.
- Notifications: Only three options populate the “Notifications” menu—new call, which gives you a notification when a new call is incoming, show caller, which reveals caller details in that new call notification, and after call (disabled by default), which will give you a recording summary of the previous call recording following the completion of said recording.
There are a few other settings inside of Automatic Call Recorder including: which player will play your recordings from within the app, where the recordings are stored on your device or SD card, and an option to purchase the Pro version from the Play Store for $6.99.
For the most part, most of the settings can be left to their default states, though the filter setting will be important for recording only a select contact or caller. From the first setup, once permissions are enabled, Automatic Call Recording is ready to record. The best way to test it on your device is to call a friend and check out how the recording sounds on your device. If the recording doesn’t save or is corrupt, you’ll want to change the recording format as detailed above; for most people, leaving it on AAC2 is their best bet.
Recording calls on Android is incredibly simple, with more than a dozen solid choices available for recording and automatically recording calls. Automatic Call Recorder is one of our favorite selections thanks to its wide variety of settings, cloud backup tools, and the availability of most of the features without paying the $6.99 for the full, premium version.
And while Automatic Call Recorder is our recommended pick, we also think checking out any or all of the apps we listed in our rundown above will also leave you feeling satisfied, whether you want to automatically or manually record calls. Just do remember to record the other person on the line after they’ve given consent, and to end the phone call or recording if they don’t—lawyers and courts take this sort of stuff seriously, and we’d hate to see any readers land in hot water over a phone recording.
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