Google will kill call recording apps on Android for good starting May 11


Google Phone app on Pixel 4

SL;DR

  • Google has changed some developer policies which will be discontinuing the call recording app once and for all.
  • The change will not affect the native call recording function pre-installed on some phones.
  • However, third-party call recording apps on the Google Play Store will not be able to work after May 11th.

Google recently made some changes to its Play Store Policy which went into effect from May 11th. One of those changes is aimed at stopping call recording apps on Android once and for all.

As Reddit user NLL Apps noted, this particular policy change affects app developers’ use of the Accessibility API. Google states, “The Accessibility API was not designed and cannot be requested for audio recording of remote calls.” Google also clarified the policy in a live developer webinar a few hours ago.

Google is slowly deprecating and removing the API that allows call recording in some versions of Android. Companies do this in the name of privacy and security and also because call recording laws vary widely in different countries. On Android 10, Google blocks call recording by default. So to circumvent the restrictions, Play Store apps started using the Accessibility API to record calls. This will no longer be possible once Google implements the new changes next month.

That said, Google’s policy is only limited to third-party call recording apps on the Play Store. The native call recording function on phones like Google Pixels or Xiaomi phones with Mi Dialer will not be affected.

“If the app is the default dialer on the phone and is also preloaded, accessibility capabilities are not required to gain access to the incoming audio stream and, therefore, will not violate,” explained the presenter during a developer webinar discussing Google Play policy updates.

Basically, system apps can get any permission as they are pre-installed on the phone. Third-party apps don’t have the same leeway and need to obtain permissions.

Google effectively shut down third-party call recording apps on May 11. Do you support this?

9929 votes

What remains to be seen is whether the developer will implement the new policy changes before the May deadline or if Google will remove the app from the Play Store for non-compliance.

What do you think about Google restricting call recording apps? Are you okay with the change, or do you not like it? Take our poll and let us know what you think in the comments section below.



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