Google is Taking Down All Call Recording Apps on May 11

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Google will kill all third-party call recording apps on May 11 with an update to its developer policies. Ever since Android 10, call recording apps have used a loophole that involved hooking into the Accessibility API. Google has ultimately decided to crack down on this.

Reddit user NLL Apps (via Android Authority) noted the policy change, elaborating on the current situation. Google has made call recording steadily more difficult for several years now, but the company created an especially annoying restriction for users starting in Android 10. This is why third-party apps started to use the Accessibility service workaround.

Call recording is a grey area. The laws surrounding it differ between states in the U.S. and between separate nations across the world. Everyone had to know that this day would come, especially since Google is taking a stronger stance on Android privacy and security in Android 12. It flat out said that “The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording.”

Native call recording is blocked on iPhones, in case you were wondering.

Native call recording built into some of the best Android phones will continue to work since they use pre-loaded, hard-coded dialer apps instead of depending on the Accessibility API.

“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,” Google said in a webinar presentation.

Android has a reputation for openness. But on the other, call recording is such a dark topic that it makes sense for Google to crack down on it.

If you’re using a third-party call recording app, we’re not quite sure how your experience will change come May 11. It’s possible that Google will give developers a chance to correct their app in agreement with the new policy or if the company will flat out take out from the Play Store on the 11th.

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