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Android’s Phone App May Gain Native Recording and Transcribing Features

A lapel mic resting on a smartphone.
Angela Aladro mella/Shutterstock

Recording phone calls on Android may get a whole lot easier in the future. According to 9to5Google and XDA-Developers, Google is working on implementing recording and transcribing features into its Phone app. The tricky part, of course, is keeping everything legal and kosher.

Recording Phone Calls is a Pain in the Ear

Right now, it’s possible to record phone calls from your Android phone, but it’s a bit of a nightmare. You either need to make the switch to Google Voice or download another app like Call Recorder – ACR. And apps you download might lock the best features behind in-app purchases.

Even when you do figure out how to record your phone call, there’s still the legal aspects to navigate. The laws surrounding call recording vary from country to country, and in the United States, it even varies from state to state.

Some states, like California, require all parties to be aware of the recording. Others, like Ohio, require consent from “one party,” which can be the person who decides to record the call. It gets even murkier when calls involve people from different states.

Google’s Phone Update May Solve All Those Issues

The fine folks at 9to5Google and XDA-Developers have once again picked apart Android for our edification, and this time they dug into the latest changes in Google’s phone app. What they found suggested several upcoming changes to make call recording and transcribing a reality.

First, call recording will be as easy as pushing a record button. You’ll hit it again to stop the recording. It’s simple, elegant, and best of all, easy to use. But, Google needs to cover its bases when it comes to the law. So as soon you hit the record button, you’ll see a prompt.

The dialog explains that laws do vary from region to region and that in many areas, you must inform all parties about your intention to record the call. Next, Google Assistant will chime in to tell anyone listening on the call that a recording is starting. When you stop recording, Google Assistant will chime in again to make everyone aware.

9to5Google also spotted lines of code that suggest the recording feature will also include transcription capabilities. That isn’t a stretch, as Google already introduced a Recorder app that transcribes calls. But there’s the hitch—Recorder is only available for Pixel phones.

Your Phone Might Not Get the Feature

So now comes the bad news—there’s no guarantee you’ll get a call recording feature on your Android phone. First, Google could change its mind about the feature altogether and pull these changes.

Even then, this new feature will likely only be available on Pixel phones. For starters, every Android manufacturer out there has their own version of the dialer, and this is for Google’s stock Android dialer. It’s also pretty unlikely that this will be something that can easily be sideloaded onto other phones, so that’s worth considering if native call recording is something that’s important to you.

Source: 9to5Google, XDA-Developers

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »