How to record a phone call – Because our memories are not perfect, it can be useful to capture important phone conversations. As a journalist, I frequently record calls to accurately preserve a subject’s exact words.
It’s surprising how often discrepancies emerge when I compare my recollections to the actual conversation. If you’re aiming for flawless recall of meeting details, recording it is a must.
There are various methods for recording phone calls on both iPhones and Androids, and we’ve experimented with all of them. Here are the best options available.
It’s important to note that the laws regarding recording phone calls vary from country to country and, within the US, from state to state. Consent requirements also differ; in some cases, consent from both parties is necessary, while in others, consent from just one participant suffices.
How to Record a Phone Call Using the Phone App (Android)
Some Android phones come with a built-in call recording feature within Google’s Phone app or the manufacturer’s phone app. However, its availability depends on your phone manufacturer, carrier, and location. If you have access to this feature, here’s how to use it:
- Open the Phone app.
- Tap the three vertical dots at the top right (or a gear icon on some phones).
- Select ‘Settings.’
- Look for ‘Call Recording’ (may be labeled as ‘Record calls’ on some phones).
- Choose between ‘Always record’ or ‘Selected numbers.’
Once you’ve activated this feature, you’ll see a ‘Record’ button on the screen during calls. Press ‘Stop recording’ or simply end the call when you’re finished.
To listen to recorded calls, navigate to 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.
Using Google Voice (Android or iOS)
If you’re in the US, you can use the Google Voice app on your Android or iOS device to record incoming calls (please note that it doesn’t record outgoing calls). This free voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) service is easy to set up and user-friendly. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Go to Google Voice and create an account.
- Tap the gear icon at the top right.
- Select ‘Calls’ on the left-hand side.
- Turn on ‘Incoming call options.’
- During a call, simply press 4 on the dial pad 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 efforts to prevent apps from using Android’s accessibility APIs for non-accessibility purposes removed many call-recording apps, and Apple never permitted such apps from the beginning, there are still a few third-party options if you want to record calls.
Unfortunately, most of these options are either difficult to use, expensive, or both.
These apps typically work by setting up three-way calls and merging in the recording line. If you’re thinking about trying one, make sure your carrier supports three-way calling, and check for any potential technical issues with your phone model and carrier.
One well-known choice is TapeACall for both Android and iOS. The free version has limitations, and the subscription price can vary, but it generally starts at $3 per month for unlimited recording.
Additional features, such as transcriptions and word searches, can be purchased as in-app additions.
Using Another Phone
If the suggestions we’ve provided so far don’t meet your needs, you might want to consider using another device to record calls. To make this effective, you’ll likely need to increase the call volume or put the call on speaker. While we’ll explore dedicated devices shortly, if you have a second phone available, there’s no need to purchase anything else.
Most phones come with a built-in voice recorder app. My personal favorite is Google’s Recorder app for Pixel phones, which can automatically transcribe conversations and provide a dedicated platform for review and download. For other
Android phones, your manufacturer likely includes a similar app. For instance, Samsung phones have an app called Voice Recorder.
Using Another Recording Device
If you find yourself frequently needing to record both in-person and phone conversations, you might want to consider using a dedicated recording device.
However, keep in mind that besides the initial cost, using such a device requires timely activation, and it may capture background noise, making it less effective in noisy environments.
I recently tested the iZyrec Mini Recorder, priced at $100. I was impressed by its audio quality for recorded calls. The device is compact enough to be held against the back of your smartphone, user-friendly, and capable of recording both sides of a call without relying on speakerphone mode.
The companion app connects via Bluetooth, allowing you to easily download and review recordings on your phone. Unfortunately, the voice activation feature can be a bit unreliable.
For a more budget-friendly option, there’s the Sony ICD-PX470 Stereo Recorder, priced at $47. This digital recorder provides 4 GB of built-in storage with a microSD card slot for expansion. It can record for up to 55 hours using two AAA batteries and connects directly to your computer via USB-A for downloading calls.
Another alternative is the RecorderGear PR200 Bluetooth Recorder, priced at $109. This device connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, acting as a remote handset. Calls pass through the device, and you can easily tap a button to initiate recording.
With 8 GB of internal storage, the battery lasts up to 12 hours. Also, it features a USB-A connector for direct call review on your computer.
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