To ensure enhanced privacy and security on Android, Google is introducing certain stringent measures to prevent applications from offering call recording features to users.
Updating its developer policies, Google has recently made some changes to its Play Store Policy that come into effect starting May 11. And, one of those changes aims to kill call recording apps on Android for good. The app developers would not be permitted to use Accessibility API for call recording on Play Store. A Reddit user highlighted that the upcoming changes in Google’s new Play Store policies will not permit any app to record calls remotely.
This is not the first time that Google has tried to stop call recording. The tech giant has been pushing to stop call recording on Android for some time. It had earlier blocked real-time call recording on Android 6, while with Android 10, Google completely removed the call recording feature on its devices. However, some apps found a loophole in Android to access the Accessibility Service and still offer the call recording functionality on devices running on Android 10 and above.
Another reason for this might be that those call recording laws vary from country to country. But, this will no longer be possible after Google implements the new changes next month. Google stated, “The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording.” Google also clarified the policy in a developer webinar streamed live just a few hours ago. “If the app is the default dialer on the phone and also pre-loaded, accessibility capability is is not required to get access to the incoming audio stream, and hence, will not be in violation,” the presenter explained in the developer webinar discussing the Google Play policy updates.
Google has been slowly deprecating and removing APIs that enable call recording over several Android versions. The company does this in the name of privacy and security and also because call recording laws are so varied across different countries. In Android 10, Google blocked call recording by default. So to circumvent the restriction, Play Store apps started using the Accessibility API to record calls. That said, Google’s policy is only limited to third-party call recording apps on the Play Store. Native call recording functionality on phones such as the Google Pixels or Xiaomi phones with the Mi Dialer will not be affected.