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record calls on android

I like email, because it’s permanent. When someone tells me something over email, it stays on record: I can look it up when I need it, and there can never be any confusion about what was said. With phone calls, not so. Have you ever forgotten important directions given to you over the phone? Or has a company ever reneged on its promise to you, and you were left with no way to prove that a service representative did indeed make that promise? That’s when call recording becomes indispensable. Of course, if you have to remember to record every call, chances are you’re going to forget to record that one call that really matters. So, not just call recording, but automatic call recording – that’s what you need.

Why Automatic Call Recording Is Tricky

record calls on android

To automatically record calls on Android is tricky for two main reasons:

  • It’s a thorny legal issue: First and foremost, recording your own phone calls may not be legal in your country. I think that’s unfair (they’re your calls, after all, and the NSA probably already has a copy of them anyway), but life isn’t always fair. So, the first tricky part is figuring out if you’re allowed to record calls, and whether you must tell the other side you’re recording. In some countries, even if both parties know about the recording, that would still be violating the law.  Wikipedia offers some help in the form of an article about telephone recording laws. That’s a good starting point for figuring out whether or not you’re even allowed to record calls. Do your homework, or you might get into a very unpleasant legal situation.
  • It’s a finicky technical problem:  Even if you’re allowed to record calls and use them as evidence, chances are the first call recording app you’ll pick isn’t going to work right off the bat. That may have something to do with the fact call recording is a low-level system function, but regardless of the reason, actually getting a call recorder to work requires some persistence and a strategy. That’s what I’ll try to help you with.

The Hard Technical Part: Finding The “Best Call Recorder” for Android

record calls on android app

Call recording apps tend to fail in a couple of ways: They may record nothing, or they may record just one side of the conversation. To overcome this, I suggest the following method to record calls on Android:

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  • Make some time for this (this will take fiddling), and get two phones: One would be your own, and the other would be a phone you’ll be talking to, to simulate the other side of the call.
  • Install a call recorder app. Get a free or trial version – don’t spend any money yet. You can try Call Recorder, or Automatic Call Recorder, or any of the myriad other ones. It will likely not be the only app you try. I’ve personally had luck with Automatic Call Recorder, which was the second I tried.
  • With the app installed, call yourself using the other phone you have to hand.
  • Speak into one phone, quietly, taking care to keep the other phone’s microphone well away from you. Say something distinct so that you’re able to tell which side of the conversation this is (i.e, “this is me, talking into the other phone”).
  • Now switch to your own phone, and say something, quietly.
  • Repeat this a couple more times, switching back and forth, then hang up. The call should be at least 30 seconds long, because many recorders begin recording only once a few seconds elapse.

Now go to the call recording app and try to listen to the output. It’s very likely you will hear nothing, or only one side of the conversation. That doesn’t mean the app is bad: Now it’s time to dig into the settings and figure out how to change the recording source to something that works for your device. For Automatic Call Recorder, the relevant settings page looks like this:

record calls on android app

This dialog differs between apps, but all of the serious apps feature some way to switch recording sources. Don’t give up on an app you like before you try fixing this part. Note that the app offers no less than eight different audio sources. I believe Mic was the first one, and that didn’t work for me. Once I switched to Voice_Call, it started working. This is why people trying to find “the best call recorder for Android” often end up feeling frustrated: It depends on your device. An app that works wonderfully for someone else may utterly fail on your device, and vice versa. Trial and error is the only way to figure this one out.

Once you pick a different audio source, call yourself again and repeat the testing procedure. This is annoying, and the audio source names can be confusing, but it works. Another issue you may have is with the recording levels: Some apps may record your side very loudly, and the other side too softly. Changing sources may help – and sometimes you can configure the recording volume, too.

If you can’t find an audio source that works (or discover you just don’t like the app), it’s time to try another app.

Bonus points: Many apps (and even some ROMs that come with a call recording feature) use file formats called AMR or 3GP. That’s annoying, because it’s not always easy to find a player that can play these recordings. The better call recorders let you switch to a common format like MP3 – see “File format” below:

record calls on android app

Now that you have reliable, automatic recording, comes the easy part: Making sure they’re reliably backed up, and that they don’t clog up your phone.

The Easy Technical Part: Never Running Out of Space

When I say “never run out of space,” I mean space on your phone. That always tends to be at a premium, especially if you’re an app junkie or if you have lots of videos, photos, and music. The solution I found is to sync the recordings to the cloud as soon as possible, and automatically remove them from the device once that’s done. To do this, I use Dropsync Truly Sync Your Android Device With Dropbox Via Dropsync [Android 2.0+] Truly Sync Your Android Device With Dropbox Via Dropsync [Android 2.0+] Dropbox is my preferred syncing service, which works wonders on computers. However on mobile devices, especially Android devices, it leaves a lot to be desired, mainly because of the lack of support for two-way syncing... Read More . Dropsync is a powerful third-party Dropbox client, and it has a feature the official Dropbox app doesn’t have:

record calls on android

It lets you specify any folder on your SD card for synchronization, as well as how exactly you want it synchronized. Above you can see I’ve directed Dropsync at the folder my call recorder uses to store recordings, and told it where to save those recordings in my Dropbox. But the really important bit is the Method: “Upload then delete.” This means I never have any call recordings taking up space on my device.

Of course, you may run out of Dropbox storage space, but that’s something that’s far easier to solve. Once the files are on your computer, you can run a scheduled task Run Programs Automatically Using Windows Task Scheduler Run Programs Automatically Using Windows Task Scheduler Read More to move them to some other folder, or use an app like Belvedere How To Automate Files & Folders Management Using Belvedere [Windows] How To Automate Files & Folders Management Using Belvedere [Windows] Read More to automatically move them out. Then again, if you happen to own a Samsung device, you may have received a 2-year 50GB Dropbox allowance when you first activated your device, making the whole thing a non-issue.

Final Thoughts: Takes Some Time, But Worth It

This whole setup takes a little bit of fiddling to get right, but it will all be worth it the first time you realize you need to re-listen to a phone conversation. Not only will you have the recording ready, it will already be waiting on your computer, so you can listen to it with a proper audio player and using decent speakers. Another benefit of this system is that it is not dependent on any specific ROM for your device – so if you switch to a ROM that doesn’t have built-in call recording, that won’t matter.

Will you be giving this a shot? I’d love to hear what recording settings worked for your particular device, and what recorder app you ended up picking. Good luck, and let me know below!

Image credit: Man talking via Shutterstock, Frustrated Woman via Shutterstock

  1. Himanshu
    October 26, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Thanks buddy the Call Recorder App finally worked with my Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus, as I have tried plenty of apps but none of them could worked so better than this. Thanks a Lot !

  2. Thamy
    October 15, 2016 at 7:09 am

    I tried using automatic call recorder following all your steps and it worked... Problem is, some calls are recorded and anothers aint.. What could be the problem? Please reply

  3. jjjjjjjjjjj
    August 8, 2016 at 10:13 am


  4. grace
    July 9, 2016 at 1:33 am

    please help. I've been using acr since late 2015. today I received the call I set up acr for and it was not recorded. can I retrieve it? the app has only failed very few times.

    June 13, 2016 at 5:25 am

    I recorded a live audio class on my mobile, but it is not playing. It recorded on Temp fier with VLC Media (.m4a), it is of 156 MB. I remember, I simply switched off my phone, without closing the recording. How to make the audio file play. Can any one help me in this please.

    • Jason Hunter
      June 30, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      Normally, you can just load it into any sound file editor, even a cloud editor. If this still doesn't work, you need to go deeper. One way is to dump the stream with mplayer to wav, then snd-resample it and encode it to vorbis or some other format. I know this will work, but by any chance it's not working, we can go deeper. Check out linux-audio-developers mailing list.

  6. Chris Monks
    January 17, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    The recording device works perfectly, but here is my problem. I need some kind of automated legal notice saying that the call will be recorded prior to me speaking to each customer. How do I accomplish that? Without that feature, non of this awesome technology matters because it’s not legal.

  7. Chris Monks
    January 17, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    The recording device works perfectly, but hers my problem. I need some kid if automated legal notice saying that the call will be recorded prior to me speaking to each customer. How do I accomplish that? Without that feature none of this awesome technology matters because it's not legal.

  8. Vas
    January 12, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    I have a oneplus one and have struggled finding a call recording application. Everything else I've tried either records only my voice, neither or both but whsn playing back, the other party can hardly be heard. Well, not with this app. Everything is spot on. You can save on almost any cloud service and most important for me, it asks you to hide the call recordings from media players. And it does. Neither VLC nor Apollo player can read the recordings. A-mazing! Definitely recommended!

  9. sudhir
    January 6, 2016 at 11:36 am

    i am sudhir i am useing automatic call recorder my voice is clear recording other voice is not recording

  10. contact33
    December 11, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    For Automatic Call Recorder (Appliqato, AppStar), do you happen to know where the metadata is stored? For example, when you view the files from within the app, you can see "Call Notes" and the contact name whom you called (or who called you). But when you upload the files to your hard drive, or Google Drive, all you see is "call_18-23-55_OUT_4088763973.amr", with no metadata.

    I would like to know what is the location, on the device sdcard, or external sdcard, for the data file that the app is using to view the metadata of each file.

    Thank you.

  11. Pramod Sahoo
    August 13, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    i wants to store the call recordings on my external sd card in the time of auto call recordings when a call is happen. is it possible by any apk. i have android set with samsung galaxy core ii

    what is cloud recording i have no knowledge about this i need some help what is the cloud recording

  12. ms.
    May 25, 2015 at 6:56 am

    hi all
    plz help me .. I have call recording from my old phone on PC. there you can see it is recorded it has data also and using amr player I can run also but I cant hear conversation.
    plz help me if you have any idea how to hear it or it is possible to hear as I have only that proof left. I can see there is data so is there any way to listen to it. it is very important plz help me

  13. vishal
    May 18, 2015 at 3:02 am

    I use automatic call recorder and I can hear clear voic of other persons but cannot hear my voice

  14. Maduna
    May 13, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Nice! Good explanation.

  15. Robyn
    April 3, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Thank you for the article and I am glad that you went into detail about how to turn the volume up, however my issue is that I had a very important phone call yesterday and can't hear the other person. Of course I turned the volume up on the recorder after knowing this. Is their a way to be able to hear them?

  16. m f
    April 3, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Automatic call recorder is fantastic! I recommend

  17. Tom Smith
    April 2, 2015 at 10:14 am

    As far as my concern now a days cloud storage are everywhere and it's important for us and Total recall android call recorder is providing many cloud storage facility in one place.

    So according to my experience, Best app for android phones although have some minor bugs but every apps have bugs so it's normal and will be resolve in next update. Hope So !!

  18. Magesh
    March 22, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Hi this Magesh.. still I'm using voip apps for international call to my home.. but I need to record some important conversation. How to record voip call in my android phone. Huawei Mat 7..please send any free apps to me..

  19. Jonas
    March 22, 2015 at 3:55 am

    pRECaution Auto Call Recorder works well for me. Limited settings, but does record every single call for me.

  20. Memo
    March 9, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    My old recorded calls are not working although their duration are shown, but they were working before, What can I do?

  21. Mord_Mckee
    February 26, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Hey... Before all else thank you for a well written detailed and extremely usefull article.

    I tried both apps you mentioned. Both failed first time around with "Voice_Calls" setting. Then I had a conflict of interest both wouldnt work at the same time. I had to turn on off for the other to work. Second time around it worked (kind of) but it wasthe same as not working at all.

    With the settings on "Mic" instead of "Voice_Calls" my voice was recorded just fine (as it had done thefirst time. The person on the other end though was recorded with such a low sound that it was practicly inaudible. I would say 85% of the content was inaudible andthe other 15 you kind of had to strain your hearing to werewolf mode to make out what was being said.

    Getting this fixed would be kind of like finding the hole grail at this point. SO Mr. Zuckerman (or anyone else btm) have you a fix for me?

    BTW Im running 4.4.2 on a LG L90 phone. Cheers in advance for any reply to my query.

  22. rajarya
    January 13, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Thanks for sharing this article, currently i am using total recall call recorder on my micromax nitro .

    • Aarav Sinha
      January 22, 2015 at 9:19 am

      Hey rajarya, can you provide me direct link of Total recall android call recorder.

      Thanks in advance

  23. Karthick A
    December 23, 2014 at 2:27 am

    I have automatic call recorder(trail and pro version) on my galaxy S4. After installing the pro version, i dont see any recordings in the pro version, but i can see those files in trail version. Is there anyway to overcome this?

    I am afraid of uninstall the trail version, because i need my old recorded file.

    Please help!!! thanks in advance.

  24. Farnswargle
    December 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks, Erez! Great suggestion. I may just do that. We're a bunch of professionals who bill hourly, and while it isn't often that we are misquoted, or given strained, perhaps overly biased evaluations of fact sets, or in general finding our professional advice later questioned, it would be great to have this armor plated proof legally available. Email, MP3 attachment: issue settled. I might even add a "Press 2 for my statement regarding possible use of recordings" and with that, a reference to a webpage agreement that could be printed out to assuage those worried that I might make frivolous use of the recordings: no YouTube or mocking mashups, for example. Regards, Farnswargle

  25. Arnold Farnswargle
    December 18, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Erez: I need a similar call recording app but it must answer all incoming calls with a message and notification -- "Hello, you have reached Bob Smith. All calls are recorded. Press 1 to immediately connect to Bob, or if you do not consent to having this call recorded, press 2 to exit now and hang up." If the caller presses 1, then my phone rings through to me and I answer with confidence the call is being recorded; no calls come through unless the caller consents to the call being recorded. I have dozens of friends who have all expressed interest in such an app, and I wouldn't mind if it required me to buy a certain handset or spend an hour or two configuring and setting it up. Ideas? Can you think of relevant search terms to locate such an app, if one already exists? Regards, Farnswargle

    • Erez Z
      December 19, 2013 at 7:14 am

      Hey Farnswargle -- that's an interesting request! Here's what I would actually propose: Since you have dozens for friends interested in it, you could actually put a list of them together and pledge to all pay for it -- and then email a developer of an app to ask him to make the feature for you, collectively.

      Actually that could be an interesting adventure to write about - feel free to email me (you can find my email on my author page) and maybe we can do something cool with your idea right here on MakeUseOf.

  26. Acol
    December 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Hi, thanks for the article. Well written.

    I use Bluetooth on most of my calls. Is there any app that supports recording that ?


    • Erez Z
      December 8, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Well, what's cool about the method I propose above is that it lets you find that out for yourself. :) I show exactly how to figure out whether a call app works for your phone/bluetooth combo - it's easy and takes just moments. Good luck!

  27. Russ
    October 31, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Att Galaxy s4 - new software is not allowing phones to record calls on any app. My old s2 worked fine but on newer phones, you can only record the microphone.

    The fix is to root the phone, then download Boldbeast recorder. This app has a feature that will actually change the software to be able to record the caller as well.

  28. F
    September 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Hey there! Thanks for the informative article!
    I need to buy a new smartphone and I was thinking I want one which has a strong support for call recording right out of the box. Can you suggest one? I was thinking a quad-core like Nexus 4 or Galaxy S4 or a quad-core Huawei ... is there a recent smartphone that is sure to have call recording capabilities?
    Thank you!

    • Erez Z
      September 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Hey F.

      The Galaxy S4 is capable of recording calls, but it does require a slight software tweak to switch that ability on (not a new ROM). I personally use the app shown here with the Sony Xperia Z, and it is working well. Good luck!

  29. Jeremy Garnett
    June 30, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    I have been using Automatic Call Recorder for some time, and have been satisfied with it thus far. I'm not too concerned about the legal repurcussions as I only use it to record the conversations between myself and my parents. That being said, what I am concerned about is their eventual deaths, and being able to hear their voices, afterwards.

  30. Kannon Yamada
    June 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    This is easily one of my favorite articles published this month. In particular, I like how it covers the synergy between two apps, resulting in an entirely new, and highly useful, feature. Thanks for publishing this.

    Unfortunately, within California at least, it would require asking for permission to record on every call. I wonder if it's possible to use it in combination with a doormat service that rolls a prerecorded disclaimer at the beginning of each call (these calls may be recorded)? Those disclaimers legally allow recording, without asking for consent (since consent is implied).

    • Erez Zukerman
      June 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you, Kannon! :) So nice to hear you liked the article. Integrating with a doormat service could work from a legal perspective I think, but it would be very odd for day-to-day conversations. I mean, starting a call with a friend with a pre-recorded "This call may be recorded" message might get pretty awkward. :)

      • Kannon Yamada
        June 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm

        If a friend of mine calls me he had better be prepared for an awkward conversation.

        • Erez Z
          July 1, 2013 at 8:01 am

          LOL! :D

    • Nadia
      March 6, 2015 at 7:30 am

      I need ur help please it's important. I was recording a call but in the middle of the conversation I muted the mic. When I listen to the recorded call I can't hear anything after the time I muted it. Please help me

  31. DmitryIV
    June 29, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I have been using "Call Recorder" for one year. This app is very simple, stable and useful. If you ever forget all that they say to you on the phone then this app is useful to you.

    • Suresh Rajpura
      April 3, 2015 at 4:03 am

      Hi I installed paid for version of Call Record on my Samsung which automatically syncs on Google drive. But i don't know how to find my back up on Google drive. can u pls help? Tnx

  32. Taha Baba
    June 29, 2013 at 5:49 am

    thanks for this article

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