Google is updating its developer policies to stop third-party apps on the Play Store from being able to record phone calls on Android phones.
Google is updating its developer policies to stop third-party apps from being able to record phone calls on Android. Call-recording is a much-loved feature on Android, although Google has been deprecating it over the past few Android versions. However, the restrictions only apply to third-party apps, as Google itself offers the feature in its Pixel devices through the Google Phone app.
Google blocked the call recording functionality for good in Android 10, arguing that the ability of third-party apps to record conversations is a threat to user privacy. To get around Google’s restrictions, developers started using the Accessibility API to record calls with third-party apps, but this will no longer be possible once the new policies come into effect.
Google’s new Play Store policy, which was spotted by Redditor NLL-APPS, has also been officially confirmed by the company at a developer webinar. According to the official policy, third-party apps on the Play Store are no longer allowed to use the Accessibility API for recording calls on Android phones. The policy will come into effect from May 11 and will likely have far-reaching repercussions for a host of applications, including popular apps like Truecaller. Google, however, is not banning call-recording forthright, as native call-recording features offered by built-in apps from manufacturers will not be affected by the change in policy. That said, not many companies offer native call-recording options due to the privacy concerns. Xiaomi, which used to offer built-in call recording with its Mi Dialer app, has also since withdrawn the feature.
Android Users Aren’t Happy With Policy Change
The new policy is quite a change from just a year ago when Google was reportedly working on getting its Phone app to automatically record calls from unknown numbers. The new decision is earning the wrath of Android users who have been venting their frustration on social media networks and online message boards such as Reddit. While some are wondering whether Google’s new policy is anti-competitive, as it allows only OEMs to offer the feature and not third-party apps, others are blaming the company for getting too restrictive with each passing day. Some are also questioning Google’s motive behind the new policy, as call-recording is legal in many jurisdictions around the world, even though some require users to inform the person on the other side that the conversation is being recorded.
With the new policy coming into effect next month, there is the question of whether it will still be possible to record calls on Android? The answer is yes and no. One of the workarounds will be to use the speakerphone for a conversation and then using an external recording device to record the audio. While that is inconvenient, it will be a solution that most users will be able to implement. The second option is to use a rooted phone, which will allow dedicated root apps like ‘Call Recorder’ by skvalex to record conversations seamlessly and easily. However, rooting is not for everyone, which means, for the vast majority of users, call recording on Android will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to Google‘s latest decision.
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