Google will kill all Android call recording apps starting tomorrow

If you're a Google Pixel or Xiaomi user, there's a chance you may remain unaffected.

Highlights
  • Google Play Store’s policy change will kill call recording on Android phones.
  • This particular policy will affect the use of the Accessibility API by app developers.
  • The company cites privacy and security for this move.

Google has made changes to its Play Store Policy that will come into effect starting tomorrow i.e May 11th. One of these changes is to kill call recording apps on Android. This particular policy will affect the use of the Accessibility API by app developers, as spotted by Reddit user ‘NLL Apps’. “The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording,” notes Google. The company also clarified the policy in a recent developer webinar.

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Google has been slowly removing APIs that enable call recording over several Android versions. The company cites privacy and security as a reason for this move, besides the fact that call recording laws vary across different countries.

Google dialer

Google to kill call recording apps

Google’s new policy change will completely kill call recording apps from May 11th, but phones which come with a pre-installed call recording functionality, will remain unaffected. The company has been making changes to that effect from previous Android versions as well. In Android 10, Google blocked call recording by default. To overcome the restriction, apps started using the Accessibility API to record calls. This will no longer be possible after Google implements the new policy changes.

Google’s policy change is limited to third-party call recording apps on the Play Store only. Native call recording functionality on phones such as Google Pixel, Xiaomi and others may 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,” said the presenter in the developer webinar discussing the Google Play policy updates.

It remains to be seen if developers will implement the new policy changes before the May 11th deadline or if Google will remove apps from the Google Play Store for non-compliance.