Google will kill call recording apps on Android starting May 11

tl; DR

  • Google has changed some developer policies that will kill call recording apps for good.
  • The changes will not affect the original pre-installed call recording functionality on some phones.
  • However, third-party call recording apps on the Google Play Store will not be able to work after May 11.

Google recently made some changes to the Play Store policy which comes into effect as of May 11. One of these changes aims to end call recording apps on Android for good.

As noted before Reddit user NLL apps, this specific policy change affects application developers’ use of the Accessibility API. Google states that the “Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested to record the audio of remote calls.” As Google explained the policy in a Web tutorial for developers It was broadcast live a few hours ago.

Google is slowly deprecating and removing the APIs that enable call recording across many versions of Android. The company does this in the name of privacy and security and also because call logging laws are very diverse across different countries. In Android 10, Google blocked call recording by default. So to circumvent the restriction, Play Store apps have started using the Accessibility API to record calls. This won’t be possible after Google implements the new changes next month.

The presenter at the webinar clarified to the developers that “if the app is the default dialer on the phone and it is also preloaded, then accessibility is not required to access the incoming audio stream, and therefore it will not violate” Google Play policy updates.

Basically, system apps can get any permission because they are pre-installed on the phone. Third-party apps don’t have the same leeway and need to get the permissions.

Google is effectively killing third-party call recording apps on May 11. Do you support that?

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What remains is whether developers will implement the new policy changes before the May deadline or if Google will resort to removing apps from the Play Store for non-compliance.

What do you think about Google restricting call recording apps? Do you agree with the change or do you not like it? Take the survey and tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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