I set out to find the means with which to record calls on an Android device a while ago. As I dove into this task, I realized two things:There are a lot of apps that promise to record calls
- Few of those apps actually work
In defense of many of those apps, they do make the promise of working flawlessly on a rooted phone. But who wants to root their only means of communication (on the off-chance of bricking the device)? With that in mind, I decided that I had to find an app that would work without rooting, and I did — sort of. The app is called Call Recorder. On the Motorola Moto X, it works flawlessly. However, on the Samsung Galaxy S4, it took a bit of tweaking (but did eventually perform perfectly).
So, even when I did find a solid app, it was very picky on which devices it would work. Before you install Call Recorder, check the full listing of non-supported devices. If you see your device on that list, Call Recorder isn't the app for you.
Here are some features you can expect to see with Call Recorder:
- Enable/Disable call recording
- Records all calls
- Easy Play/Stop recorded audio
- Delete recorded items
- Lock recorded items to prevent from auto-cleaning
- Share recorded items (only in Pro version)
- Confirmation dialog (only in Pro version)
Call Recorder is absolutely free, but Call Recorder Pro will set you back $5.57 (USD). If you need to be able to easily share recordings or make use of the confirmation prompt, you'll have to purchase the Pro version.
For those of you with a supported device, this app will work like a charm. Let's walk through the installation and usage of Call Recorder.
As you might expect, the installation of Call Recorder is simple. Just follow these steps:
- On your supported device, open the Google Play Store
- Search for “call recorder” (no quotes)
- Located and tap the entry for “Call Recorder Clever Mobile”
- Tap Install
- Tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
That's it. Call Recorder is now ready to be set up and used.
There's isn't much setup for Call Recorder (when used on a supported device). It should just work, out of the box. When you first launch the app, you'll be prompted to turn recording on (Figure A).
Call Recorder on a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto X.
After recording is switched to on, all incoming calls will be recorded. With the free version, you will not be prompted to save or delete the recording.
Once a call is recorded, you'll see it listed (by contact name, if the caller is in your contacts) in the main window (Figure B).
The listing of recorded calls.
To listen to a recording, tap the entry, and then (if prompted) select the app to play the audio. Call quality is surprisingly good on both ends. Once you've listened to a call, you can delete it by selecting it and then tapping the trash can icon that appears.
If you do wind up needing to make configuration options, you can do so by tapping the settings (gear) icon in the upper right corner of the main window. Within the settings, you can configure:
- Auto cleaning
- Audio source
- Audio channel (mono or stereo)
- Recording quality
- File format
If you're not sure about your device's compatibility with Call Recorder, install the app and try it out. If it doesn't work, visit the settings and play around with the Audio Source options (Figure C).
Select the audio source to record.
You might get lucky and one of the different sources (Phone line, Mic, Own voice, Opponent voice) could do the trick. On the Samsung Galaxy S4, I was able to finally get the app to work by doing the following:
- Configure Call Recorder to record only the Opponent voice as the audio source
- Set the file type to MPEG 4
- Record a single call
- Re-configure Call Recorder to use Phone Line as audio source
- Record a call
- Listen to call using Google Play Music
If you have a need to record incoming (and outgoing) calls, Call Recorder is probably the best option. I will say that, should you opt to record incoming calls, you might need to inform the caller that they are being recorded (some states do have laws to that effect). As a default, you should probably have recording turned off on the app and turn it on only when needed... lest you accidentally record a call you'd rather never relive.
Have you used Call Recorder or another recording app to capture calls on your Android device? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.