Is it legal to record phone calls on a smartphone and how to do it
Are you interested in recording your conversation over the phone with your friend, spouse or any important discussion with your Android or iOS smartphone? It is not that you cannot do it but you need to know whether it is legal to record a call or not.
What does Australian Law Say?
Recording of telephone conversations is a matter tightly controlled by law. The federal Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 and State and Territory listening devices laws may both apply to this activity. The general rule is that the call may not be recorded. There are exceptions to these rules in very limited circumstances including where a warrant applies.
If a call is to be recorded or monitored, an organisation must tell you at the beginning of the conversation so that you have the chance either to end the call, or to ask to be transferred to another line where monitoring or recording does not take place if this is available.
Same rules and laws apply for you too but the actual rules differ from state to state. Currently, it is not strictly illegal to record private phone conversations without consent in Victoria, Queensland or the Northern Territory.
In the ACT, NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia, the rules are much stricter. You can’t even use a security camera to surreptitiously record conversations in NSW: consent must always be given. Though it is legal in Queensland to secretly record a phone conversation to an external device (such as a portable dictaphone), it is illegal to do the same thing using a device physically attached to the telephone.
Many factors are also applicable to these laws. It is sort of an offense for some instances like as an example, secretly recording a politician just to embarrass them will probably land you in trouble, but doing it to successfully uncover fraud would be less likely to end in a conviction.
Simple good manners suggest it’s worth pointing out to your caller that you’ve making a recording. In short: if you don’t ask permission, you might be breaking the law, and if permission is denied, you shouldn’t continue.
If you’re concerned about a specific situation, the first step is to seek actual legal advice. We would advise against secretly recording your spouse during a messy divorce: even if you get them to admit to something it probably won’t hold up in a court of law.
What does US Laws say
In the US there are federal laws that say its fine to record, but then there are state laws that say you can’t, or at least demand that both parties know that the recording is happening. Better look for specific legislature in your area and ensure that you adhere fully to its stipulations.
What does UK Law say
UK has a uniform law, but even within this there are conditions dependant on why you’re actually creating the recording. The general rule is that you can record someone without their knowledge, but only if you intend to use the recording for personal use. Once you play the file to a third party, be it a friend, family, or whatever, then you are in breach of the law and could find yourself in trouble. If you’re conducting an interview, as journalists often do, then you need to ask for permission to record, otherwise you can’t use anything said on the call. There are a few special exceptions, including if you think a crime is being committed, but again these should be carefully researched before you embark on any sting operations.
But you have seen that almost all new models of smartphones have some sort of voice recording app already installed like iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S6. You might have your own reasons to record a call and do so with your iPhone or Android phone follow the steps given below. But remember of the legal issues first to do so.
Recording phone calls on an Android phone
First you need to download a call recorder app from the Google Play store like Another Call Recorder, Automatic Call Recorder or Total Recall.
Many are free, but there are often Premium editions that open up more features, such as cloud syncing.
- 1. Go to the
and search for Total Recall
- 2. Install the app
- 3. Launch the app
- 4. Open up your dialler or contacts app and start a call
- 5. Total Recall automatically records the conversation and stops when you hang up.
- 6. Go back to the app, select the conversation, and listen back.
Remember having more than one call recorder installed at any one time can cause performance issues. So, if you want to experiment with different apps just remember to delete any others before you begin.
Recording phone calls on an iPhone
Voice memos on an iPhone might seem the best to start, but if you try to press record then call your friend, all that will happen is that the recording stops as soon as they answer.
So you need to go the App Store and pick up a third-party offering. There are many iPhone apps available for you to choose for recording like the TapeACall Lite and TapeACall Pro and most involve some kind of cost to unlock premium features.
- 1. Go to the App store on your iPhone and search for TapeACall Pro
- 2. Install the app
- 3. Launch the app
- 4. Activate the app by entering your phone number and then entering the code number that is texted to you.
- 5. Go through the various settings requests and watch the tutorial.
- 6. Open the app and press the record button
- 7. Tap ‘Add Call’ and enter the phone number you wish to ring, or select one from your Contacts.
- 8. When the person answers press ‘Merge Calls’ and the recording will begin.
- 9. After the call is completed go back to the app, press the Play icon under the Record button, and all of your conversations will be there.
Can you do it now? Try it.