23.2 C
New York
Friday, July 12, 2024

How to Record Calls on Your Smartphone

Our memories are imperfect, so it can be helpful to record important calls. As a journalist, I often record phone calls to preserve a subject’s words. It is surprising how often there are differences when I check my impressions against what was actually said. If you expect perfect recall of the details of a meeting, you must record it. There are various ways to record a phone call on your iPhone or Android phone, and I’ve tried them all. These are your best options.

The laws on recording phone calla vary from country to country, and for the US, from state to state. Sometimes consent is required from both parties. Sometimes consent from one person on the call is enough. Recording a call you are not participating in is generally illegal. For folks in the US, this law firm document breaks it down clearly. Check your legal obligations before you record any calls.

Table of ContentsUse the Phone App (Android)Use Google Voice (Android or iOS)Use a Third-Party Call Recording App (Android or iOS)Use Another PhoneUse Another Recording Device

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you'd like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

Use the Phone App (Android)

Some Android phones offer call recording built right into Google’s Phone app, or the manufacturer’s phone app. Whether it appears for you depends on your phone manufacturer, carrier, and the region you are in. Here’s how to use the feature if you have it:

Most PopularGearThe 15 Best Electric Bikes for Every Kind of Ride

Adrienne So

GearThe Best Lubes for Every Occasion

Jaina Grey

GearThe iPhone Is Finally Getting USB-C. Here’s What That Means

Julian Chokkattu

Gear11 Great Deals on Sex Toys, Breast Pumps, and Smart Lights

Jaina Grey

Open the Phone app.Tap the three vertical dots at the top right (a gear icon on some phones).Choose Settings.Tap on Call Recording (Record calls on some phones).You can choose Always record or pick Selected numbers.

Once you have turned this feature on, you should also see a Record button on screen during any calls. Tap Stop recording or simply end the call when you’re done.

You can listen to recorded calls in the Recents section in the Phone app. Tap the caller’s name, select the recording from the list of calls, and tap Play to listen.

Use Google Voice (Android or iOS)

If you are in the US, you can use the Google Voice app for Android or iOS to record incoming calls (it cannot record outgoing calls). This voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) service is free to sign up for and easy to use. Here’s how:

Go to Google Voice and create an account.Tap the gear icon at the top right.Choose Calls on the left-hand side.Toggle on Incoming call options.Now you can simply press 4 on the dial pad during a call to start and stop recording.

To listen to recorded calls, choose the Recorded option from the menu in the Google Voice app or website.

Use a Third-Party Call Recording App (Android or iOS)

While Google’s crackdown on apps using Android's accessibility APIs for non-accessibility reasons effectively purged many call recording apps, and Apple never allowed those kinds of apps in the first place, there are still several options if you want to use a third-party app to record calls. Sadly, most of them are awkward to use or expensive or both.

Most PopularGearThe 15 Best Electric Bikes for Every Kind of Ride

Adrienne So

GearThe Best Lubes for Every Occasion

Jaina Grey

GearThe iPhone Is Finally Getting USB-C. Here’s What That Means

Julian Chokkattu

Gear11 Great Deals on Sex Toys, Breast Pumps, and Smart Lights

Jaina Grey

They tend to fudge by creating three-way calls where you merge in the recording line. If you plan to try one, ensure your carrier supports three-way calling, and check for technical issues with your phone model and carrier first. We also advise reading the privacy policy to ensure your calls stay private.

Perhaps the best known option is TapeACall for Android or iOS. The free version is limited, and the price for a subscription fluctuates, but it usually starts from $3 per month for unlimited recording. Additional features like transcriptions and word search are also available as in-app purchases.

Use Another Phone

If none of our suggestions thus far work for you, maybe consider using another device to record calls. You will probably have to crank the call volume up or put it on speaker for this to be effective. We will look at dedicated devices in a moment, but if you have a second phone you can use, there’s no need to buy anything else.

All phones come with a voice recorder app. Google’s Recorder app for Pixel phones is my favorite because it can automatically transcribe conversations and has a dedicated site where you can review or download them. For other Android phones, your manufacturer has likely included an app. For example, Samsung phones have an app called Voice Recorder. You may also consider a third-party recording app, such as Easy Voice Recorder, but always read the privacy policy first. You can use Voice Memos on an iPhone.

Use Another Recording Device

For frequently recording conversations in person and on the phone, you might consider a dedicated device. Aside from the cost, you must activate it at the right time, and be aware that it may pick up background noise, so it likely won’t work well for you if you can’t take or make calls in a relatively quiet space.

I tested the iZyrec Mini Recorder ($100) recently and was quite impressed by the audio quality of recorded calls. It’s small enough to hold against the back of your smartphone, easy to use, and can record both sides of a call without the need for speakerphone mode. The companion app connects via Bluetooth, enabling you to download and review recordings on your phone. Sadly, the voice activation is a bit flaky.

The Sony ICD-PX470 Stereo Recorder ($47) is an old-school digital recorder that’s affordable and works well. You get 4 GB of storage built in with a microSD card slot to expand if required. It can record for up to 55 hours from two AAA batteries, and plugs directly into your computer via USB-A to download calls.

One final option is the RecorderGear PR200 Bluetooth Recorder ($109), which connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and acts like a remote handset. Calls are channeled through the device, and you simply tap a button to record. It has 8 GB of storage inside, and the battery lasts up to 12 hours. There’s also a USB-A connector to plug directly into your computer to review calls.

Related Articles

Latest Articles