How to Record Internal Game Audio on any Android 10 device
If you play games on your Android phone or tablet, then chances are you may have wanted to record some gameplay at some point in time. If you own a modern device made by Huawei, Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, ASUS, and some others, then you shouldn’t have any trouble recording your screen using the built-in screen recorder app. If your phone doesn’t have a pre-installed screen recorder app, then your options are limited when it comes to properly capturing gameplay. Most people download third-party screen recorders which don’t support recording the internal audio output due to Android limitations. Unless you root your phone or buy an accessory, you’ll have to settle with recording audio from your device’s microphones. Thankfully, those restrictions are being lifted in Android 10, meaning you can finally record internal game audio.
Record Internal Game Audio on Android 10
Follow these steps to download and set up the right screen recorder app that’s able to record the internal audio from other apps.
- Download “Screen Recorder – No Ads” from the Google Play Store. You need to be using version 188.8.131.52 or above for it to work if you’re using a first or second-generation Pixel smartphone. I confirmed this version works on my Google Pixel 2 XL running the stable Android 10 release.
- Open the app, and tap on “OK” when it asks you to choose a folder to save files to.
- Your pre-installed file manager app should show up, opened to the “Movies” folder by default. Tap “Allow access to ‘Movies'” at the bottom.
- A dialog box should appear asking you to confirm whether you want to give the app the ability to save its screen recordings to the “Movies” folder. Tap “Allow.”
- You should automatically jump back to the Screen Recorder – No Ads app. Open the sidebar menu and tap on “Settings.”
- Scroll down to Video Settings and make sure that “Record audio” is checked and that “Audio source” is set to “Internal sound.” Change the other options, such as video recording quality, as you see fit.
- Open the sidebar menu again and tap on “Videos.” The app should ask you to grant it some necessary permissions here, so go ahead and grant them. Tap on the floating video camera icon in the bottom right.
- You’ll be asked to grant the app the permission to “display over other apps.” This is needed so the app’s floating screen recorder toggle can be used outside of the app.
- Finally, tap on the floating video camera icon one more time. The app should exit to the home screen, and a floating toolbar should appear. From left to right: Start recording, take a screenshot, open settings, or close overlay.
- Tap on the left-most icon to start a screen recording. You’ll be shown a warning that the app can capture sensitive information…so obviously don’t try and record anything sensitive!
- When the app is recording your screen, you’ll see its icon in the status bar as well as another icon that informs you that an app is currently capturing your screen. To stop recording, simply pull down your status bar and tap on “STOP.”
Why isn’t the app recording audio from all games?
To explain why you can’t capture the audio in all apps and games, I need to explain how this feature works. Google added a new API in Android 10 that developers can use to capture audio playback from other apps. The API is called AudioPlaybackCapture, and it allows apps like screen recorders record audio from other apps so long as a few conditions are met:
- The user has to give their consent to allow the screen recorder app to record audio and video on their device. The screen recorder app must also be granted permission to record audio.
- The audio that is being captured must be specified as media, game, or unknown.
- The app/game from which you want to capture audio must have a certain flag set in their Manifest file. On Android Q, this flag defaults to true. On Android Pie, it must be manually set to true. The app/game must also allow its audio to be captured by non-system apps.
The first condition is almost always met because screen recorder apps wouldn’t be able to function otherwise. The second condition is usually met unless the developer didn’t bother setting an audio usage type. The third condition, however, is where the problem usually lies. The vast majority of apps and games aren’t targeting Android 10 yet, so they’ll have to explicitly opt-in to have their audio recorded. A lot of developers might not know about this new API and hence don’t know they can opt-in if their apps target Android 9. Games like PUBG Mobile, Fortnite Mobile, and most other games sadly haven’t opted in or updated to target Android 10, so there’s no way to record the audio from those games unless your OEM added a built-in screen recorder with this option.
I covered this feature and its limitations in greater detail in this earlier article, in case you’re interested in reaching out to the developer of your favorite game. Reaching out to the developer or waiting for them to update their app, which they’ll be required to do in late 2020, is all you can do for now.