If you do telephone interviews, take company calls on your personal cell phone, or for some other reason need to record your phone conversations, a quality call recording app is a must.
Call recording apps can be controversial, though. There are many places where recording a phone call without the express permission of all parties is illegal.
While some smart phone providers, like Apple, try to police the call recording apps uploaded to their App Store, hundreds of apps designed and marketed as call recorders still make it through.
The functionality of these apps, for the most part, is quite poor. But there are a few apps in both the iPhone App Store and available through Google Play that work in a roundabout way or under the right conditions.
The best solution to recording a call on your cell phone, though, is to download an app with built-in call recording capabilities.
Call Recording Apps for iPhone
Rev Call Recorder is the first of our iPhone apps to use a workaround, and that workaround works roughly like this:
When you start the app, it prompts you to call Rev’s servers, which brings the company onto a separate line on the call. Then, you dial the person you’re calling and touch “merge calls,” just like setting up a conference call.
At this point, Rev can hear and record both sides of the phone conversation. This recording can be downloaded to your phone as an MP3.
You can also record incoming calls by going to the Rev app once you answer the call and dialing into Rev while you remain on the line with your caller.
Rev Call Recorder is a free app. The company offers paid transcription services, and your calls are retained on their servers until you delete them from your phone.
Since Rev does require letting a third-party onto the call, it’s not for everyone.
If you need high-quality recording, though, a workaround app like Rev will provide it better than an app that records through your phone.
TapeACall Pro is another workaround app that works exactly the same way as Rev Call Recorder.
You dial into TapeACall’s servers and they record the conversation on their end.
Unlike Rev Call Recorder, TapeACall Pro is not free. Full functionality requires a $29.99/year subscription service.
TapeACall does, however, update quickly when a new iPhone or operating system hits. So, if you need reliability without any down time, this may be your better bet.
Apps to Record Phone Calls on Android
The main benefit of Call Recorder – Cube ACR is that it works automatically. You can set the app to record every call to or from your device, or set it to record calls to and from specific contacts.
Of the call recorder apps that work with an Android phone’s on-board hardware, Cube ACR has some of the best sound pick-up and provides the most reliable automatic recording.
But best doesn’t mean good.
Users on certain models of phones find that Cube ACR fails to adequately capture both sides of phone calls and that the automatic recording occasionally fails.
Still, it’s free. Though, it does have ads. So, it’s worth trying before spending any cash.
Like Call Recorder – Cube ACR, Call Recorder S9 supports automatic recording. It’s been tested on multiple Android phones, including LG and Motorola branded phones, but the app is optimized for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9+.
Call Recorder S9 also uses a device’s built-in hardware to capture its audio, which means the quality of the recording is largely dependent on how loud the volume is turned up.
It’s not the best solution, but as far as free Android apps go, it’s better than most.
Best Phone Call Recording Apps Overall
It might be apparent by now that smartphone call recorder apps are severely lacking in quality. And the reason is pretty simple. Since recording a phone call is illegal in many jurisdictions, phone manufacturers don’t want to open themselves up to right to privacy complaints and potential lawsuits.
As a result, you end up with crappy quality apps produced solely to generate downloads, while providing very little actual utility.
Before picking one of those many hundreds of apps from the App Store or Google Play Store, consider one of these two solutions instead.
Skype only records Skype-to-Skype calls. Which eliminates the ability to record a call coming directly from a person’s cell.
However, the quality of Skype is notably good.
You’ve probably heard a Skype recording on a podcast or seen a Skype video recording in a documentary. The quality of a Skype recording is good enough that it can be cleaned up and used as footage.
If you are recording phone calls for business purposes, using Skype as your primary means of contact may be doable. If it is (and you’re willing to do a little system upgrading to ensure fast, reliable streaming), it’s worth considering for the quality alone.
Google Voice won’t be a solution for most, because it can only record incoming calls. If you only need to capture the calls you receive, though, this is a good option.
With Google Voice, you can also port your current phone number (there is a fee) and then forward it to your cell phone. So, the number works virtually the same way for you and those who call you as it did before you switched to Google Voice.
There aren’t a lot of instances in which Google Voice would be your best call recording option. But if you are trying to capture evidence or proof of harassment (by an individual, a collection agency, etc.), this is a good way to do it.
Why Isn’t My Call Recorder Recording?
Call recorder apps are notoriously fickle. The free ones are also notoriously outdated. So, there are two main issues you are likely to experience when using one.
One, the call recorder only records one side (your side) of the conversation.
This is due to the app utilizing your device’s built-in microphone.
To capture the other side of the conversation, you’ll need to crank the volume. The simplest way to do this is to put the caller on speakerphone and turn it up. It’s not the sexiest solution, but, with many apps, you will at least be able to hear it.
Two, the call recorder was working fine. Then, it suddenly got glitchy or stopped working altogether.
This is, perhaps, the most annoying issue with free call recorders. They work well with a device’s operating system. Then, that system gets an update and they no longer work.
The solution to this, unfortunately, is to find another app. It’s possible the app designer will update their app to work with the new operating system eventually. But, until they do, a nonworking app is a nonworking app.
You might want to try the less dramatic solution of uninstalling and reinstalling first. But, unless the app designer has issued an update, don’t expect a miracle.
Two-Party Consent Laws
If you plan to use a call recording app to record people without their knowledge, you should keep the law in mind.
While most U.S. states have one-party consent laws, which allow you to record a phone conversation as long as you’re one of the parties on the call, eleven states require the consent of all parties.
These eleven states are:
- New Hampshire
In these states, it is illegal to record a conversation without the permission of the other people on the call.
And, even in one-party consent states, there are different rules under certain circumstances.
Other countries are the same. Some of them have one-party consent laws. Some of them have two-party consent laws. Many have different rules depending on the circumstances.
Basically, if you’re going to record a phone call, know the laws before you do. Or, better yet, ask for permission.