Google will remove third-party call recording apps from Android phones starting May 11

Google will remove third-party call recording apps from Android phones starting May 11

If you hadn’t noticed, call recording is gradually disappearing from Android phones.
By 2020, all OEMs except Samsung and Vivo will have replaced the custom dialer with the Google dialer, which does not support automatic call recording. Some third-party apps that users could use were actively discouraged by Google, and none of them offer a complete solution. Not surprisingly, Google has tightened the noose further and made some policy changes that will effectively kill call recording in the Play Store.

Google disabled the API for call recording with Android 6.0 and blocked call recording via the microphone with Android 10. Since then, developers have been using the Accessibility API to record calls via the microphone. A new Play Store policy update will prevent third-party apps from requesting the Accessibility API to record calls through the microphone. This change will take effect on May 11, 2022.

Pre-loaded apps will continue to support call recording

Google has clarified that this change only affects third-party apps, and phones with preinstalled call recording apps will not be affected.

“Remote” in this context means an audio recording of a conversation where the person on the other end of the line is unaware that the call is being recorded. Suppose the application is the phone’s default dialer and is also preinstalled. In that case, the accessibility capability is not required to access the incoming audio stream and would therefore not be breached. As this clarifies an existing policy, the new language will apply to all apps from May 11,” Google said in a recent webinar for developers.

Most Android phones in India, including OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Xiaomi, and Poco, use Google Dialer as their primary dialing app. Google Dialers allows call recording is supported regions, but the recording starts with an audible prompt for the caller and receiver. There is also no option to record calls automatically. Samsung and Vivo are the two most popular Android OEMs that still use custom dialers and continue to offer the automatic call recording option.

It is still unclear how Google will implement this policy change after May 11. Developers will have to adapt their apps to the new guidelines, or Google may remove the apps from the Play Store because they do not meet the guidelines.