Google banning all call recording apps from Play store starting May 11

Srinagar: In a bid to enhance security and privacy on Android, Google is taking stringent measures to prevent applications from offering call recording features to users. Google has updated its developer policies that reflect many changes, including those in Android’s accessibility settings to stop remote call audio recording — a functionality that is quite popular among Android users.

A Reddit user pointed out that the upcoming changes in Google’s new Play Store policies will not permit any app to record calls remotely. Google has been pushing to stop call recording on Android for some time. It had blocked real-time call recording on Android 6, while with Android 10, Google removed in-call audio recording over the microphone. However, some apps found a loophole in Android to access the Accessibility Service to offer the call recording functionality on devices running on Android 10 and above.

“The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording,” a clause from the updated Play Store policies reads.

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Without access to the recording API, apps will not be able to offer call recording natively. This will be similar to the iPhone, which has never offered the call recording functionality to its users. While Google outlines the changes that will come into effect from May 11, keeping in mind the privacy and security of users, another reason could be the call recording laws in different countries.

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For instance, in the US, call recording is allowed only after the consent of a party. Sadly, India does not have such a law, but proposals are reportedly underway.

Apps such as Truecaller offer a call recording feature on Android currently, letting users circumvent the restrictions that Google imposed with Android 10. It is not clear if the new call recording restrictions will be rolled out to only the latest Android 12-powered phones, or if Android 10 and Android 11 devices will also be included.

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