Google bans apps for recording calls on Android

Google is ready to remove an entire category of apps – call recorders – from the Play Store.

Reddit user “NLL-APPS” posted a thread on April 21 revealing Google’s plan to update a policy involving the Accessibility API that Android developers used in their call recording apps.

“The accessibility API is not designed and can not be requested for remote call audio recording,” says Google, which probably comes as a surprise to any developer using it for that purpose. The company explained its rationale in a webinar it published as an unlisted YouTube video.

Google says in the video that call recording can be offered by an Android phone’s built-in calling app. However, any software downloaded from the Play Store may not offer recording features if someone in the call may be unaware that their conversation is being recorded.

NLL-APPS claims that “only [the] phone app that comes with your phone or made by Google can access the call sound, “however, and that third-party apps do not have similar access. If so, this policy change may mean the end of the call recording apps in the Play Store.

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Google is set to restrict developers’ access to the Accessibility API on May 11th. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what this change means for call recording apps or the accuracy of NLL-APPS’s claim that third-party apps cannot access call sound.

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