How to Record Phone Calls on Your Smartphone

You can record phone calls on iPhone and Android phones

Illustration of a smartphone with a phone and recording app on it

Lifewire / Derek Abella

It's possible to record calls on iPhone and Android phones, but there are legal issues that you should know about first. Learn about methods and best practices for recording conversations on a smartphone.

Information in this article applies broadly to all Android and iOS smartphones no matter which company made your device (Apple, Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.)

Use Google Voice to Record Incoming Calls on iPhone and Android

In addition to a free phone number and voicemail service, Google Voice provides a way to record incoming phone calls for no extra charge. After you set up your Google voice account and link it to your iPhone or Android phone number, you can enable call recording:

  1. Visit the Google Voice home page in any web browser and select the Settings Gear in the top-right corner.

    You can also change your call settings using the Google Voice app for Android and iOS.

    Visit the Google Voice home page in any web browser and select the Settings Gear in the top-right corner.
  2. Select Calls on the left side.

    Select Calls on the left side.
  3. Scroll down and set the Incoming call options toggle to the On position.

    Scroll down and set the Incoming Call Options toggle to the On position.
  4. When someone calls your Google Voice number, press 4 to send an alert that will notify everyone on the line that recording has started. To stop recording, press 4 again, or hang up.

Recording will only work if the other party calls your Google Voice number. If they call your regular phone number, then this feature will not be available.

Google Voice stores recorded calls online. Go to your incoming calls on the website or app to listen to the audio file.

It is not possible to record outgoing calls with Google Voice. If you want to record a conversation, ask the other person to call you.

Go to your incoming calls on the Google Voice website to listen to your recorded calls.

Other Ways to Record Calls

TapeACall Pro is a paid app available on both platforms. Just $10 per year gets you unlimited recording for both incoming and outgoing calls. The app creates a three-way call: When you hit record, it dials a local TapeACall access number, which acts as the recording line. This app does not disclose that it's recording, so it's a good idea to ask for permission.

If you need to transcribe your recorded calls, you can download the Rev Voice Recorder app. While it doesn't directly record incoming calls, you can make your call on speakerphone to capture a recording, and then submit it to the service for transcription. Rev lets you upload your recordings directly to Dropbox, Box.net, or Evernote.

If you just want an audio file, you can use a digital voice recorder to do the same thing. There are also specialized voice recorders that plug into your smartphone's headphone jack or connect via Bluetooth so that you don't have to use speakerphone.

You need a lightning-to-headphone or USB-C adapter to connect a recording device if your phone doesn't have a headphone jack.

Tips for Recording High-Quality Phone Calls

Here are some pointers for getting the best possible recording quality:

  • Find a quiet place to make your call.
  • Start with a test recording to make sure the audio is clear.
  • Disable smartphone notifications and incoming calls to avoid disruptions.
  • If using speakerphone, make sure you're not near a fan.
  • If you need to type notes, make sure the recorder is not near the keyboard.
  • Repeat back answers and rephrase questions if you're having trouble understanding the other person.

Legal Issues With Recording Phone Calls

Note that recording phone calls or conversations may be illegal in some countries, and laws vary by state in the U.S. Some states allow one-party consent, which means that you can record conversations at will, though it's considered a courtesy to disclose that you're doing so. Other states require two-party consent, which means you could face legal trouble if you publish the recording or its transcript without first getting permission to record.