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Google to Block all Third-Party Call Recording Apps

Google is ready to block all the third-party call recording apps from Play Store. The move will follow a new Google Play Store policy that will be effective from May 11.

Many smartphone users go beyond their default apps and install third-party call recording apps that offer more functions. Or they do so when their default calling apps won’t feature a built-in call recording feature. But that could end in the near future with Google implementing a new Play Store policy.

The changes were first noticed on Reddit, 9to5Google has observed. The new policy means Google will impose more restrictions on access to the Accessibility API by developers. While it has been an alternative to allow remote call audio recording, Google won’t allow apps on the Play Store to use the Accessibility Service from May 11 onwards. 

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Why will Google block third-party call recording apps?

It is due to privacy concerns. A smartphone owner can use any call recording app, but without the other being aware. That means ‘without consent’ of the other person on call, the call is being recorded. It is a breach of someone’s privacy and can lead to undesirable circumstances.

The change in Accessibility API means developers no longer can use it to change the user interface or violate Google Play developer policies. Likewise, they can’t use it to “request for remote audio call recording.”

This is why Google’s new policy change will bar third-party call recorder apps from Play Store to curb their uses.

But default apps that come with the mobile phone on purchase won’t be affected by this decision. This includes dialer apps like Google Phone, Mi Dialer, and others that allow call recording. So it is likely that similar call recording apps on Pixel and Xiaomi won’t incur an effect of the policy change.

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Default app won’t lose functionality

Moun Choi, Google content operations lead during a webinar spoke on the possible consequences of using third-party call recorders. He said, “Remote in this context refers to call audio recording where the person on the other end is unaware of the recording is taking place.”

“If the app is the default dialer on the phone and also pre-loaded, accessibility capability is not required to get access to the incoming audio stream. Hence would not be in violation. Since this is a clarification to an existing policy, the new language will apply to all apps starting on May 11,” he added.

What this means is Google is only removing third-party apps from Play Store. If your call-recording feature comes to your dialer app by default, you won’t lose this functionality. But again, Google has not confirmed if it will take down the existing apps executing the accessibility API from Play Store.

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Does your default dialing app come with a call-recording feature or do you use a third-party app for it? Do share if the decision by Google will affect your call–recording behavior in the comments below.

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