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Google will kill call recording apps on Android for good starting May 11

A Google Play policy change will effectively render third-party call recording apps useless starting May 11.

Published onApril 20, 2022

Google Phone app on Pixel 4
  • Google has changed some developer policies that will kill call recording apps for good.
  • The changes won’t affect the native call recording functionality that comes pre-installed on some phones.
  • However, third-party call recording apps on the Google Play Store won’t be able to function after May 11.

Google recently made some changes to its Play Store Policy that come into effect starting May 11. One of those changes aims to kill call recording apps on Android for good.

As noted by Reddit user NLL Apps, this particular policy change affects the use of the Accessibility API by app developers. Google states, “The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording.” Google also clarified the policy in a developer webinar streamed live just a few hours ago.

Google has been slowly deprecating and removing APIs that enable call recording over several Android versions. The company does this in the name of privacy and security and also because call recording laws are so varied across different countries. In Android 10, Google blocked call recording by default. So to circumvent the restriction, Play Store apps started using the Accessibility API to record calls. This will no longer be possible after Google implements the new changes next month.

That said, Google’s policy is only limited to third-party call recording apps on the Play Store. Native call recording functionality on phones such as the Google Pixels or Xiaomi phones with the Mi Dialer will not be affected.

“If the app is the default dialer on the phone and also pre-loaded, accessibility capability is is not required to get access to the incoming audio stream, and hence, will not be in violation,” the presenter explained in the developer webinar discussing the Google Play policy updates.

Essentially, system apps can obtain any permission because they are pre-installed on the phone. Third-party apps don’t have the same leeway and need to acquire permissions.

Google is effectively killing third-party call recording apps on May 11. Do you support this?

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What remains to be seen is if developers will implement the new policy changes before the May deadline or if Google will resort to removing apps from the Play Store for non-compliance.

What do you think of Google restricting call recording apps? Are you okay with the change, or do you dislike it? Take our poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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