In case you hadn’t noticed, call recording has been gradually vanishing from Android phones.  In late 2020, all OEMs baring Samsung and Vivo have replaced custom dialer with Google dialer that doesn’t support automatic call recording. There were a few third-party apps that users could use, but they have been actively discouraged by Google and none of these offers a complete solution. It’s thus not very surprising that Google is further tightening the noose and has made policy changes that will effectively kill call recording on the Play Store. 

Google disabled the call recording API with Android 6.0 and blocked call recording over the microphone with Android 10. Since then, developers have been using the Accessibility API for recording calls over the microphone. A new Play Store policy update will now prevent third-party apps from requesting Accessibility API for remote call recording. The change will come into effect starting May 11, 2022. 

Pre-loaded apps will continue to support call recording

Google clarified that this change will only affect third-party apps and phones that have pre-loaded call recording apps won’t be affected. 

“Remote in this context refers to call audio recording where the person on the other end is unaware of the recording is taking place. So, if the app is the default dialer on the phone and also pre-loaded, accessibility capability is not required to get access to the incoming audio stream and hence would not be in violation. Since this is a clarification to an existing policy, the new language will apply to all apps starting May 11th,” clarified Google in a recently streamed developer webinar. 

Most Android phones in India including those from OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Xiaomi, and Poco use Google Dialer as the primary dialer app. Google Dialers allows call recording in supported regions but the recording starts with a prompt audible to both caller and receiver. There is no option for automatic call recording either. Samsung and Vivo are the two popular Android OEMs that still use custom dialers and continue to offer the auto call recording option. 

It’s still not clear how Google will enforce the policy change after May 11. Developers will have to modify their apps in line with the new policy changes or Google could unlist the apps from Play Store for non-compliance. 


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