If you’re an Android phone user, you’ll have it easy when it comes to recording calls — there are several apps on Google Play that do the job just fine. Heck, some Android phones (like ones from Xiaomi and some other Chinese manufacturers) come with call-recording built right into the dialer.
But due to Apple’s security-focused approach, iOS apps cannot directly record phone calls on an iPhone. What can you do?
Why Would You Want to Record Calls Anyway?
Well, there are a few reasons why. Maybe you are having an important discussion with someone and want to reference it later. Journalists conducting telephonic interviews find an audio recording of the call useful for transcribing the contents later.
There are several apps on the iOS App Store that claim to record phone calls, but not all of them do as they say. That’s why we personally tested many and narrowed it down to five apps from the lot that actually do the job.
Note: There are some apps that offer unlimited use with a monthly subscription. We didn’t test these, we only tested pay-as-you-go apps. They work like prepaid connections: you only pay for what you use, not a fixed monthly fee. All of these apps are free to install, many of them even offer free trial credits to try before committing. Some of them are supported by advertisements.
Beware: Call Recording May Be Illegal Where You Live
The reason why Apple or even Google don’t want to bake-in call recording may have to do with its legal implications. For instance, in the U.S., some states require both parties to be aware of the call recording, while others need only one party’s knowledge for it to be legal. You can read more about it here.
You’ll want to check your the local laws before you start recording phone calls. And for courtesy’s sake, it’s always fair to inform the other end if a call is being recorded before starting the conversation.
IntCall by TeleStar works the same way the rest of the apps in this article do. Since iOS won’t allow on-device call recording, these apps make a VoIP call from their server to the recipient, patch the call to your phone, while recording the conversation in between. Yes, this means that they technically are capable of storing your conversation.
In the About section of IntCall, one of the first things mentioned is that it doesn’t save your conversations on their servers. They clarify that the file is temporarily saved on their server, but only until it’s downloaded to your phone.
IntCall is straightforward to use: open the app and the first thing you see is a dialer. All apps in the article support number forwarding, meaning your actual number will flash on the caller ID of the recipient, and not some random number. You can also choose to hide your number if you like.
On the dialer screen, country codes can be easily searched for, and balance credits in your account are shown up front. You can buy credits of $5, $10, $19 and $50. There’s also a price list where it shows how much it’ll cost per minute to make a call to a particular country.
If this sounds familiar to how Skype or any other VoIP app works, well that’s because call recording apps essentially are VoIP apps, but with a call recording function bolted on. In a way, this is great if the call you want to record is an international one. On the other hand, it may not be great if you compare call rates to your local telecom provider.
For instance, in India I’m on a cellular plan that offers unlimited calls (even if I wasn’t, the average call rate isn’t over 1 cent a minute). But IntCall charges 10 cents a minute for a call to India. That’s the premium you’ll have to pay if you want to record calls on an iPhone.
Moving on, IntCall has a few menus at the bottom that show you call history, all your recordings, and account status. Recorded audio files can be transferred via the many apps supported in the share sheet. In our usage, calls were recorded with good clarity. The only gripe with IntCall was the rather out-of-date appearance of the user interface.
This app is simply called “Call Recorder” — and so is the developer, apparently. Unimaginative naming aside, Call Recorder by Call Recorder presents a cleaner appearance when compared to IntCall. Functionally, it’s not very different (the rest aren’t very different either).
You’ve got the dial-pad and the country selector for automatically prefixing the country code. Instead of credits, Call Recorder uses “coins” as a virtual currency to make calls. The developer sells 100 coins for a little over a dollar, and a call to India costs 15 coins per minute (which means slightly over 15 cents per minute). If you buy the 100 coins in-app purchase, you’ll be able to make a call to India for six minutes before you run out of credit.
Of course there are more coins available for purchase in one go (upto 10,000 coins), and the app also allows you to earn coins by participating in some promotional activities (like app installs and so on).
There’s no consolidated list of how much it costs to call each country. You’ll found out the rate after you’ve punched in a valid phone number. The app also does the math of showing how many minutes worth of talktime you have left.
In our testing, the call recording quality was satisfactory. One issue we did face was that the app refused to make a call when on Wi-Fi, even though the internet was working just fine. It would try to connect, and then show the status as “Disconnected”. But on 4G, it worked just fine.
3. WeTalk Pro
WeTalk Pro’s interface design isn’t what you’d call polished, but it works. Buying credits is straightforward, as there’s no use of virtual currency like the app above. You can buy anywhere between a dollar and a hundred dollars worth of credit, and recharges can be done either via in-app purchases or even via PayPal or AliPay.
The rate for a call made to India at the time of our testing was $0.025 per minute. There’s a premium rate of $0.035 cents per minute as well, that suggests better call quality. When we made test calls using both the regular and premium, we couldn’t tell the difference between the two — both were quite intelligible.
Similar to the app above, WeTalk Pro also refused to make a phone call when we were connected to a working Wi-Fi network, but successfully placed that call on 4G. One nice touch to the user experience is the audio prompt you’ll hear as you place the call, telling you the number of minutes worth of credit you have left.
On the downside, you have to remember to manually hit the “Record” button, as the app doesn’t record all calls by default. The other problem with the interface has too many popups related to the usage of the app.
Yes, we know what you’re thinking: two apps with similar, generic names in one article? Well, there are a lot more like these in the App Store. These generic names help when people typically search for “call recorder” or “record phone call” for an app to surface above the rest — it’s a common search engine optimisation technique used in all such app stores.
This app by David Kang is relatively better-designed than the lot above. It is simple to understand and use. It also uses “coins” with a similar rate card — a little over a dollar for 100 coins, a call to India costs 15 coins per minute (which is effectively a little over $0.15 a minute).
The dialer screen shows the number of coins left, and the coins-per-minute cost after punching in a valid number. In our tests, the call recording feature worked fine, but the app felt a bit buggy.
The last app on our list sounds nothing like a call recording app (a sharp contrast from the others). That’s because TextFun is also an instant messenger, with call recording as one of its salient features.
It’s also funny because the developer Kun Wang also has another app called Call Recorder – Automatic Call Recorder Phone Call under his belt, with an interface familiar to TextFun. We even tried this among many others in the App Store, but uninstalled it because the in-app purchase to make our test call didn’t go through.
It’s probably the most modern-looking app in this list. It features the bold headers that are seen on Apple-made apps in iOS 11. TextFun feels polished, with smooth animations, a choice of fonts, and attractive color combinations.
You have to manually enable call recording on the dial screen. TextFun also employs the use of “coins” as the virtual currency, which you can buy or earn by watching some promotional content. Similar to the others, a pack of 99 coins costs $0.99, and a call made to an Indian number takes 7 coins per minute (which translates roughly to $0.07 per minute).
The app also has other features like getting a virtual number based out of the U.S. or Canada. People can call you on this virtual number and it will patch through over the internet via the app. Think of it as the reverse of a traditional VoIP call. Call recordings can be appended with notes, which helps keep things organized. In our testing, the voice recording feature worked fine.
Recording calls on an iPhone, though a bit tedious and expensive, is very much possible. Do you use any other app not on the list? Let us know in the comments below.