Android Pie makes call recording impossible without root


Google giveth and Google taketh away. New software versions are often expected to bring in new features and remove bugs but it isn’t unheard of for things to happen the other way around. There are some cases that features presumed to be there forever are suddenly yanked out without as much a warning. That definitely feels like the case with the sudden inability of non-root call recording apps to work in Android 9 Pie. That said, it probably shouldn’t come as surprise despite being an unfortunate “regression”.

Recording phone calls has always been a problematic topic. Different countries have different laws that companies have to comply with. While Google has not exactly made its stance on the matter explicit, its actions speak louder than words could.

In Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google removed the official API that enabled apps to record calls. Developers, however, were able to find a workaround that let them still do so unofficially. Now in Android 9, XDA reports that Google has closed those doors completely.

Fortunately, being Android, there is almost always a way. Yes, that means rooting your device in order to install call recorders. At that point you’ll have to ask whether that feature is enough to warrant going through the whole process and potentially closing the doors on other things (you might not be able to play Fortnite, for example).

On the one hand, you can’t exactly blame Google for trying to cover its legal bases by going for the common denominator and just blocking call recording completely. It could have probably done it better but probably didn’t consider it that high a priority. Right now, it’s in Google’s hands unless a new method that doesn’t require root is discovered.