Ask LH: How Can I Record Calls On My Mobile?

Hey Lifehacker, How can I record a phone call on my mobile? Thanks, Records Needed

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Dear RN,

From a technical standpoint, there are a couple of different ways to record calls on your mobile phone.

The simplest and most basic would be to use a secondary recording device, whether it's another smartphone, a tablet or a PC while using the speakerphone mode on your mobile. That's crude, but should be effective for basic recording suitable for either preservation or transcription purpose. Obviously it also broadcasts the call to everyone around you.

If you want to record calls purely on your mobile device, however, there are a few app options open to you, although it's a tricky proposition when you balance privacy and easy access to your files. Apps such as Call Log Pro, Call Recorder ACR and Google Voice provide call recording facilities, but rely on either subscription fees for recording, that same speakerphone recording trick or having a US-based number to work off, which may not be ideal for your purposes.

There's a secondary aspect to recording your calls that you should pay serious attention to, however, and it's the fact that under Australian Law,you're obliged to not only let the other party know that you're recording the call, but also offer them the option to not have the call recorded as well, which is why any business system that does that kind of recording always includes those kinds of opt-out statements. Yes, the chances of you getting busted on the spot are remarkably low, but at the same time depending on what you're planning to do with your recordings, it could spell serious trouble down the line if you can't absolutely prove consent on the side of both parties.

Any Lifehacker readers have their own methods for (legal) call recording?

Cheers Lifehacker

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    No, the 'secondary aspect' you cite is plain wrong.

    ORGANISATIONS cannot record your call without telling you, but this does not apply to individuals in the call. If you call up the bank as a personal customer, you have every right to record the call and not tell the bank. Nothing illegal about it.
    As an individual, you can record any call you want, LEGALLY.

    Did you even read the very detailed comments in the August 2014 LH article that you linked to?

    Anyone who wants the RIGHT answer, read the comments from djorkboy at this link:

    P.S. There are some variations between states, but generally it is true that an individual is allowed to record their own phone calls with no restrictions.

      Yeah, I did read the linked article, but a) it's not clear if RN is asking for private or business purposes and b) as is stated in the comments to the linked article, it's still likely to be illegal to actually communicate (i.e broadcast) a call without the permission of any other party on the call. As such, consent upfront is the way to go unless you were only ever recording them to listen to them yourself. I guess that would be fine.

        To me the question and response sounds like the legal point being made, using the word "you", means "anyone". If you really read the other article beforehand, the way you have crafted this response is rather poor. The legal concern will most often be irrelevant, and dissuade people from recording for no valid reason.
        I think the article should clarify that the legal concerns don't apply in the vast majority of relevant cases - If you're an individual, in the call for your own individual purpose, you can record to your heart's content.
        You are right to be concerned about what you can later do with the recording (although that wasn't the question). I believe you could use it in court, because it was obtained illegally. But broadcasting it probably starts to get questionable, just as broadcasting anything assumed 'private' is.

    It requires a jailbreak, but with my iPhones I've been using SuperRecorder. It's a great app that automatically records all incoming and outgoing phone calls (including FaceTime), well worth the $2 or $3 it cost me.

    I don't so much care about surreptitiously recording people for nefarious purposes.. but to have a recording of calls where you're quoted reference numbers, given a phone number, directions, instructions, someone's name, or you just plain forgot what you were told... It's just handy as hell not to have to search for a pen, or bring up the notepad app on your phone..

    Apps the record calls most commonly use one of following technologies:
    1 - iPhone/Android: based on VoIP. Requires internet connection during the call. Easy to use but can record only outgoing calls. Pay per minute/destination from the app. Support making anonymous calls. Check Call Recorder - IntCall:
    2 - iPhone/Android: based on making conference calls. Doesn't require internet connection during the call. Not easy to use but can record both incoming/outgoing calls. No support for making anonymous calls. You pay for each call twice from your phone bill. Check CallRec - Lite:
    3 - Android only: speaker based phone recording. Bad quality (the other party will not be heard well) and not supported on all devices but free.
    Jailbreak/rooted phones have other alternatives, easier to use.

    There is also a new Bluetooth headset, check Bluewire:

    On android, I use a dead basic app called Automatic Call Recorder. It's gold. Automatically records all my incoming and outgoing calls, and I have it set to delete any recordings after a week, unless I go in and mark a call to be saved permanently. You also have the option of ignoring some contacts from recording if you want. I don't know about from a legal point of view, but I have no intention of publishing any calls, and only would be under legal counsel anyway. But I like having the option there, and find it really helpful to us able to go back to a call for my own sake, ie, I might have gotten in the morning while out, giving me an appointment time, but not very able to write it down at the time. This way, I can listen to the call again that afternoon.

      WHich one? There are so many Android apps with that exact name

    It is not illegal to simply record a telephone conversation if you are a party to the conversation, as long as you do not attach anything to or in the phone or its connections. You are however allowed to record the private conversation with an external recording device – like a dictaphone or even some form of software installed on your computer. One issue will therefore be, whether the software or device with which you recorded the telephone conversation was considered under the act as a device installed within the telephone or an external device.

    I record and upload to my google account every phone call I send or receive. After been the victim of a false allegation and subsequent police investigation I take no chances.

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