Google to block third-party android call recording apps on May 11


Google previously blocked apps from recording calls via the microphone with the launch of Android 10 in September 2019. Now the company is cutting off another path used by devs – Accessibility API from being used for call recording. Google dialer and first-party dialer apps will still be able to record calls depending on manufacturer and region.

On the Google Play Console support website, the company recently announced that it was updating various policies, including the use of the Accessibility API, or application programming interface. Utilised by apps designed to help users with disabilities on Android, the Accessibility API is also used by many popular apps on the Play Store, like Truecaller, to offer call recording functionality.

Google said, “The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording”. The policy will go into effect on May 11.

The developer of ACR Phone, one of the apps that uses the Accessibility API to provide call recording functionality for calls on Android phones, took to Reddit to explain how the changes would affect third-party call recording apps. With the release of Android 10, Google blocked all applications from accessing the device’s microphone to record audio during calls, to protect user privacy and to comply with call recording laws across the world. Developers began to request the Accessibility API to continue offering call recording functionality on phones running Android 10 or later.

Apps that request the Accessibility API to record calls will have to stop doing so by May 11, according to Google’s updated policy. This means that users who are running on Android 10 or newer versions of Google’s operating system will no longer be able to record apps using third-party apps. Users on specific devices and in specific regions may be able to record calls using the built-in dialer app. According to a comment from the ACR Phone developer, this is because system apps or Google apps can access the VOICE_CALL audio source on Android phones — this is not accessible to third-party apps, according to the developer.

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