Android 11 DP2 reveals Google is adding call recording support for dialer apps
The ability to record a phone call is vital for many users who conduct business over a voice call. It can also be really useful for anyone involved in legal, insurance, or medical matters. However, it isn’t easy for most users to record phone calls on Android. While some OEMs provide call recording functionality in their dialer applications, not every OEM makes this feature available. Third-party applications used to be able to record phone calls using roundabout methods, but Android 9 Pie made it completely impossible for third-party apps to record phone calls, at least without root access. Last year, Google said they were considering adding a call recording API in a future Android version, and it looks like that may finally be happening in Android 11.
Earlier today, Google released Android 11 Developer Preview 2. While digging into the new framework changes, we spotted a new permission called “ACCESS_CALL_AUDIO” with the protection level “appop” or “signature.” The “appop” permission, interestingly, can actually be granted to non-system applications, unlike the “signature” permission which requires the app to be signed by the OEM. Digging deeper, we spotted new strings that describe this permission in a bit more detail. According to one string, this permission can only be granted to the default dialer application, and it allows for the app to “record or play audio in telephony calls.”
<permission android.label="@string/permlab_accessCallAudio" android:description="@string/permdesc_accessCallAudio" android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_CALL_AUDIO" android:protectionLevel="appop|signature"/>\n<string name="permdesc_accessCallAudio">Allows this app, when assigned as default dialer application, to record or play audio in telephony calls.</string>\n<string name="permlab_accessCallAudio">Record or play audio in telephony calls</string>
We’re excited to see the possible introduction of call recording support for third-party dialer applications in Android 11. Google is finally adding call recording support for Pixel devices in the Google Phone app, but most devices can’t use the Pixel’s dialer app. With this change, users on devices that don’t have call recording support in the stock dialer app will be able to download a different dialer app from the Google Play Store to record their phone calls.