Google bans call recording apps from Play Store


Third-party call recording apps are about to be banned from the Play Store. However, call recordings should still be possible in an alternative way.

As Android Authority reported that Google recently changed several policies in the Play Store. The new guidelines will come into effect on May 11th. They are expected to ban all third-party call-recording apps from the Play Store because they use Google’s Accessibility API. APIs (programming interfaces) allow apps to connect to the operating system. One of the new guidelines states: “The Accessibility API is not designed for, and must not be used for, the recording of calls.”

Developers use the Accessibility API as a backdoor for call recording

Over the years, Google has continued to restrict APIs that can be used for call recording. The company cites data protection as the reason for this. Furthermore, the laws on recording phone calls are different in each country. In order not to set up different guidelines for each country, Google decided to completely block call recordings starting with Android 10.

However, some developers circumvented this restriction by exploiting Google’s Accessibility API for call recording. However, the API is not intended for this. Developers should actually use the Accessibility API to make it easier for people with disabilities to use their smartphones.

Native functions for recording calls are retained

The new guidelines only affect third-party apps. Smartphones that can record calls out of the box, such as Pixel and Xiaomi smartphones, will still be able to record calls.

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in one Google webinar for developers, the speaker explained: “If the app uses the standard dialer on the smartphone and is pre-installed, the use of the Accessibility API is not required to get access to the incoming audio stream and [die Richtlinie] will therefore not be injured.”