First look at the Google Phone App’s Call Recording feature on the Pixel 4

First look at the Google Phone App’s Call Recording feature on the Pixel 4

Two weeks ago, we spotted the first hints at a call recording feature in the Google Phone app. Version 43 of the dialer application added a few strings and layout files hinting at the functionality, but with version 44 of the Google Phone application, we managed to fully activate the feature.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

The Google Phone app is the default dialer app for Google Pixel smartphones, but it currently doesn’t offer the ability to record incoming or outgoing calls. Version 44 of the application rolled out tonight on the Google Play Store, and we noticed that the in-development call recording feature is already functional. Once this new feature rolls out, you’ll see a “Record” button in the in-call UI during any incoming or outgoing phone call. Tapping on this button will initiate a recording. The Record button icon will change to clearly indicate that a recording is in progress. Tapping on this button again will end the recording, and the icon will return to its initial state. You can listen to recorded phone calls from the call log, as shown in the screenshots below. The share button in the call recording playback UI allows you to export the recorded audio as a .wav file, while the microphone button on the left lets you toggle speakerphone. Finally, it should be possible to view a transcript of any recorded phone calls—during our testing, unfortunately, we were unable to view the transcript after recording a few phone calls.

When you first activate the call recording feature in the Google Phone app, you’ll see a dialog that states the following: “When using the call recording feature, you are responsible for complying with applicable laws related to the recording of calls. Please be aware that many jurisdictions require the consent of both parties for such recording.” In addition to this warning, Google also plays back a pre-recorded line to the other parties on the phone call to inform them that you’re recording the call. Specifically, the other parties will hear “this call is now being recorded” when you begin recording the call, and they’ll hear “call recording has now ended” when you stop recording.

I tested this feature by calling my Pixel 4 (Google Fi) from my OnePlus 7 Pro (T-Mobile), and vice versa. XDA’s Max Weinbach also installed the latest Google Phone beta, but he was unable to see the “Record” button on his Pixel 4 XL (T-Mobile) when he called it from his iPhone (Visible). Now that we have confirmed this feature is fully functional in the Google Phone app, it’s only a matter of time before it starts to roll out for users. We’ll let you know when that happens.

We don’t have any reason to believe this feature will be limited to certain phones, but it’s possible that Google will initially only roll it out for select Pixel devices in certain regions. It’s also possible this feature will only be available for Xiaomi devices, as code for this feature surfaced shortly after Xiaomi announced they will pre-install the Google Phone app on all of their phones they sell in Europe.


Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.