Call recording – for conversations you’ll never forget

Just once, wouldn’t it be great to get through to a customer care agent and say: “This call may be recorded for training and quality purposes…”?

They do it to us all the time, why not do it back? Well, thanks to smartphones and apps, we can. Google Play offers plenty of options for people who want to record their calls. Some of them have been downloaded tens of millions of times.

There are many reasons why we might want to keep a backup of our conversations. It could be a business call with a legal dimension. Or a journalist wanting to improve on written note keeping. Or just a sentimental desire to preserve a call with someone special.

So you might think that call recording would be a standard feature inside phones. It’s not. And this is primarily for legal reasons. All over the world, the law around call recording differs. It can even vary from state to state in the US. That’s why, to be safe, Android phone makers mostly ship their devices without this functionality.

In fact, some go further and make it difficult for users to install third-party call recording apps without rooting the device. 

For this reason, Android users have to experiment a bit to find the best recorder for them. But, to repeat, there are plenty of options.

For North Americans, one obvious possibility is Google Voice. It offers a free phone number for calling, text messaging, and voicemail that syncs across all devices. And it makes call recording ridiculously easy: Just enable the call recording feature, then press 4 during a call. However, it will only work for incoming calls.

Another easy option to make a call via a third party, which will then record the call on its servers. Recordator and Record Retrieve are good examples. They work across mobile, landline and even the web. Users get an account they can log into, and they pay by the minute.

For the occasional user, apps are much more straightforward. Generally, people download a call recorder app, then make a call through its dialler – or by pressing a record button inside the standard dialer. Recordings then appear in the app’s call log, where they can be named and edited.

The best-known call recorder apps include NLL ACR, Total Recall, Record My Call, Easy Voice Recorder and All Call. Typically, the paid versions of these apps let people set to record specific contacts, start a recording in the middle of a conversation, and save recordings on services like Dropbox or Google Drive. They can store recordings in high-quality formats like MP3.

Since call recording can be a little hit and miss, with some apps working only on some phones, savvy developers have made apps that address certain devices. Galaxy Call Recorder explicitly targets users with Samsung phones, for example. 

Developers can afford to build for specific handsets because call recording is such a popular app category. Indeed, NLL claims its ACR app currently has over four million active and 20 million total users