Mar
22

How To Record Calls on Android Phones

Updated 3/31/12

One thing that business users expect on a smartphone is the ability to record a phone call.

There is plenty written about the legality of recording phone calls, and if you’re trying to secretly record calls, you could be asking for trouble.  However, not everyone wants to record phone calls for nefarious purposes.  Here’s a good resource about recording calls.

For example, I was just on a call this morning with a client and he wanted to know how we could record the conversation because he couldn’t keep up with everything I was saying and wanted to be able to go back and review the apparent wisdom I was pontificating.

We were on Skype at the time, so I just turned on Pamela (that’s what the software suite I used is called) and recorded away.

But how do you record a call if you’re on an Android powered phone?  There is sadly no built in functionality to do it, but fortunately a few apps have come to the market that get the job done nicely.


But first let’s start with the free option.

Free Call Recording With Google Voice

You can record calls with Google Voice.  Unfortunately, that means you can only record incoming calls, not outgoing.    However it’s simple to do –  just press 4 on your number pad and it will start recording the conversation.  You’ll find the conversation in your Voice control panel within a few minutes and you can send the recording to the other party easily from the control panel.

This is the easiest way to record calls on any Android powered phone despite the limitation of being able to only record incoming calls.  If you need to record outgoing calls… then read on as things get a little trickier.

Best Call Recording Android Apps

There are a lot of so called call recording apps on the Android Market.  The problem is that a lot of them don’t work.   I’ve found that none of the free apps on the market are worth downloading and after testing out several different call recording apps have settled on AllCallRecorder Deluxe.  It’s a $2.95 app and there’s a free trial version you can test out before you have to buy anything.  Keep in mind it doesn’t work with all phones, but it does work with a lot of them and works well with almost all of the popular devices.

One other app you may want to take a look at is Super Call Recorder – I haven’t personally tested it out but it has good reviews and might work for you in case AllCallRecorder Deluxe doesn’t and also has a free trial version so you can verify that it works before you pay for it.

While paying $2.95 for functionality you think should be built into your phone isn’t ideal, I think it’s a lot better than having a Blackberry because then while you can easily record phone calls, you have to suffer with having a Blackberry.  :)

If you have an app that you’ve been using that’s working well for you, please post in the comments along with the model of phone you’re using.

Related posts:

  1. Unlimited Calling Without An Unlimited Plan on Android
  2. 10 Must Have Android Apps
  3. Google Maps Navigation Review
About Gary Ruplinger

Often writing at a coffee shop and typically powered by three shots of espresso, Gary Ruplinger loves gadgets, smartphones, apps, and when not writing about these topics, he's typically playing with one of those nifty little devices.

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Comments

  1. TapeACall is a fantastic call recording app. As mentioned in the article, this app also allows you to try before buying. There are no hoops to jump through, no rooting required and works on damn near every Android. Calls are recorded in stream – meaning that the app works via three way calling so recordings are crystal clear. Tons of options to share and they have REAL customer support. Definitely worth checking out – http://bit.ly/16iU30p

  2. Santa Claus says:

    Ha ha… so much of a trouble for a smart phone.. my SE W810i used to work like a charm.. oldies-goldies :)

  3. I’ve always suspected that the reason they keep it so hard to record two-way calls is that the entities who most want to keep the public from doing it are…the phone companies! the most annoying, unhelpful phone calls i’ve ever had were with cell provider reps. i have to think that if everybody’s cell phones were capturing every call, there would be scads of websites devoted to sharing the recorded audio proof of how bad these company’s representatives are.

    and im pretty sure that if you hear one of those messages telling you that the call may be monitored for quality control etc, then this gives you the legal right to record the call as well. which means there’s no way AT&T could stop people from submitting recordings of their incompetent reps and dishonest salespeople to sites that would aggregate them for mass exposure. this in turn might result in American consumers actually being able to make themselves heard en masse. and God forbid THAT should happen in these here United States…

  4. i have tried several free apps, none of them works

  5. Total Recall
    http://www.killermobile.com/applications/android/total-recall-android-%7C-call-recorder.html
    One time 10$ but it works, even on Galaxy S2. For some phones requires rooting. Not cloud based. Not for iPhone. I am very satisfied. Can choose mp3, wav, 3gp, can mail recordings, starts recording automatically with or without prompt for saving after the call. All you have to do is choose to save or not to save after the call. Does not support bluetooth headphones on my Galaxy S2.

  6. The best call call recorder is CallRecorder by skvalex. Trial version available here http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1441643

    But the phone must be rooted, I have HTC Sensation with ICS + root, and it works flawlessly!!

    • Thanks for sharing Andrew.

      I’m going to download it this afternoon and test it out to see if it’ll work on a rooted Bionic as well running Gingerbread.

      If it works, I think we’ll have a new winner for best call recording app for Android.

  7. Recently I engaged in a conversation and later discovered that portions of the conversation had been recorded. I called someone….we spoke….the conversation is recorded on a stalkers phone but you can only hear my voice. Is this a app on my phone the intended parties phone or the stalkers phone? And how can it be detected and removed? Please help.

  8. Technology Is Hard says:

    I was reading this blog while on a call in my office, immediately took your advice and tried to turn on Pamela only to get kicked right between the legs by her. She took the phone out of my hands and then she went all Joe Pesci on me after I was hunched over from the pain of her first shot.

    I couldn’t resist. I’ll try these out. I’ve actually downloaded two others only to find that they can only record from the microphone, so you have to be on speaker phone for them to work. Oddly, I couldn’t even hear the person on the other end of the recording when using the Bluetooth in my car (assumably the microphone and everyone in the car could hear the conversation) with one of the apps. Even when using speaker, the recording was very low quality. These are obviously not realistic apps for every day use. The first one you recommend has a suspiciously high number of 1 star ratings, so I have to wonder if it has the same issue.

    • Steph G says:

      @Technology Is Hard – That is the problem with a lot of the apps, they make you use the microphone and you get a real tinny sound, or very bad quality. I’ve used RecordiaPro in the past with my employer and it seemed to be the best option, believe me we tried quite a few other options.

      You get what you pay for, at least with RP the quality is there and the service works. I would definitely use them again http://www.RecordiaPro.com

  9. @Ed Reins RecordiaPro costs $29.99 for 120 mins. That’s greedy pricing! Surely there must be an app out there that provides unlimited recording and that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!

  10. Try RecordiaPro. It works with any phone you want – not just cell/smartphones, and records both incoming and outgoing calls. You can then save or email the recordings as mp3s. We’ve had a lot of good feedback from it.

  11. @Macedonia Unite – thank you for an easy, built in solution to call recording! After installing & uninstalling all of the available call recorders on Market which did not work I found your comment and am thrilled to say “it works”! No speakerphone needed, and both sides of the conversation were recorded. btw, I am using an HTC Thunderbolt…it is rooted & BAMF’d if that matters.

    Thanks again! love, kitty

    • I saw that you used Macedonia Unite’s suggestion and it worked for you…I have a droid charge and would like to try this also…I have one question though and saw that your post was much more recent than M. Unite’s was so I thought I’d reply to you post to and hopefully I’ll hear from someone soon as I needed to figure this out yesterday./..so everyone here is waiting on me! : 0
      Would you please tell me what the ^ button is? (from step #3 listed in the instructions)
      Glad it worked for you…hope to hear back soon.
      Thanks

  12. From customer service,
    (NO APPS TO BUY OR INSTALL)

    steps to record any phone call conversation:
    1. make/receive a phone call
    2. while on the call, press the (Home) key
    3. Open all programs by pressing the ^ button
    4. Click on already installed “Voice Recorder”
    5. Press the red record button and Voula, the conversation is being recorded.

    regards,

    • I have a droid charge and would like to try this…but would you tell me, what is the ^ button (that you say to press in step 3 listed above?)
      I haven’t done much with my phone yet…although I do know that it does have an internal voice recorder.
      Thanks!

      • Betty Townley says:

        I’d like the answer to that too. I’ve looked at everything every which way….?

        • Christine says:

          Just found this story and post on google search to look for how to record call on Android. I validated Macedonia Unite’s information. The “^” reference is to direct user to press key on their Android phone that will display “All Apps”. On my HTC Thunderbolt, it is an icon/button on the main screen in the lower left that looks a bit like a Rubik’s Cube (square shape, made up of 16 tiny squares). Hope this helps others. These instructions worked perfectly for me.

    • FAIL. Only records from the microphone, meaning you can’t hear the other party. HTC Glacier (MyTouch 4g)

    • Need2Record says:

      It says that it cannot record during a call… how does that help????

  13. skierpage says:

    Good summary. Indeed, you can ignore the clowns and shills who say Android call recording apps work fine. I tried AllCallRecorder and vRecorder on my stock HTC Evo. AllCallRecorder’s setup discovered it couldn’t capture the person you’re speaking to. All vRecorder seems to do is record from the phone’s microphone, relying on the mic picking up the other side of the conversation from the phone’s speaker. I proved this by pressing the button to the mic: even though I could still hear the other person, vRecorder captured nothing. That’s why many call recorder programs recommend turning on the speakerphone, so the mic can do a better job recording the other side of the conversation. But then you could just start the phone call, turn on the speakerphone, and use any voice recording app.

  14. hey guys – the simple solution to this is a universal cell phone recording device that you put it your ear and it will record both incoming and outgoing of absolutely any make or model of cell phone because it’s completely external. Here are examples:

    http://www.telephonecallrecorder.com/cell-phone-recorder-c-26.html

    all the ones listed there come with the ear microphone I’m talking about. It’s basically a digital recorder with an external microphone you put in your ear. took me a minute to get it but since you put the microphone in your ear and also hold the phone over that same ear it does pick up both sides of the conversation

  15. Piece of cake, I use tasker to record calls.

  16. If you look at the contemporary major smartphone OS originated from North America, none of them do this.

    iOS, webOS, Android, BlackBerry…

    Not sure about Windows Phone 7. Some Windows Mobile phones do this but I don’t consider WM to be contemporary anymore, neither is Palm OS.

    With Android the case is a bit more complicated. Apparently the infrastructure is in place. But nobody bothers to implement it. Except Samsung for their South Korean version of Galaxy S.

    You may check out the issue 2117. There’re a lot of rants but occasionally you can find some usefull discussions.

    Nokia phones very often has this feature built-in but Symbian is probably the most outdated of the contemporary OS.

    I’ve a feeling that makers are omitting this feature to avoid potential lawsuits. There’s no technical reason that this cannot be done whatsoever.

  17. JohnBush says:

    fascinating . i used WM Sound Recorder to record my HTC Touch Pro phone conversation. It could record outgoing and incoming calls automatically. perfect for windows mobile.
    The problem is now i use a blackberry. does it work on it ?

  18. You might want to try a service I work on called SaveYourCall.com. It works from any phone (no special hardware needed) and it allows you to record both incoming and outgoing calls. Costs are as low as $0.10/min. There are no monthly fees, no storage fees and no domestic long distance fees. Your calls can be accessed securely via the website.

    Not sure if that is what you are looking for but thought you might be interested.

    • Disgusted with that group of people here trying to set themselves up with a parasitic tollbooth for call recording…

      10 cents a minute amounts to $6 for just one hour! More than most carriers charge to actually connect you.

      Not withstanding the fact that a lot of call recording software may fail, due to your carrier purposely borking your phone, recording is a trivial thing to do and should certainly not carry a per minute fee.

      Unless you’re the type who needn’t bother picking up dropped hundred dollar bills off the floor.

      • Mike Adagen says:

        Right on, TSAIS! “Eric Anderson” indeed, LOL! And actually, I _am_ the type who “needn’t bother picking up dropped hundred dollar bills off the floor”. (I dont worry ’bout hundreds cuz I don’t care ’bout money… life is SO much better that way)