Google bans Accessibility Service usage for call recording purposes.

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Please email us (cb [at] at anytime if you find below information confusing and need help or further information.


Accessibility Service usage ban

Starting from 11th May 2022 Google Play Store introduced a new policy. Apps using Accessibility Service API for call recording, including ACR Phone are no longer permitted to use Accessibility Service API to record calls on their Google Play Store version. Please understand that developers like us have no control over Google Play Store policies.


Accessibility Service usage and ACR Phone

This policy means you will not find any functioning call recording apps on Google Play Store. We don't have any choice but remove Accessibility Service API usage from Google Play Store version of ACR Phone. All other functionalities including SIP call recording will continue to work as usual.


ACR Phone Helper (APH)

You may need install APH from other app stores in order to restore call recording functionality of ACR Phone. APH uses Accessibility Service API and works with ACR Phone from Google Play Store to record calls.

APH also has Magisk Module for real two-way call recording.


Call Recording Support by install source and Android version

Android version ACR Phone + APH ACR Phone from Google Play ACR Phone + APH Magisk Module
Normal calls
7-8 APH not needed. Use ACR Phone Real two-way call recording including Bluetooth/Headphones APH not needed. Use ACR Phone
9 APH not needed. Use ACR Phone Call recording from microphone or loud speaker Real two-way call recording including Bluetooth/Headphones
10+ Call recording from microphone or loud speaker Silent audio recording Real two-way call recording including Bluetooth/Headphones
SIP calls
APH not needed. Use ACR Phone for real two-way call recording including Bluetooth/Headphones


Short history

Google have been working to stop call recording on Android for some time. They have blocked access to real call recording on Android 6 and completely blocked call recording over the microphone on Android 10. In response, apps started using Accessibility Service to record calls on Android 10 and above.


Missed opportunities

The new policy clearly states that "The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording.". They have also addressed this in their webinar video.

If you watch the video however, you will see that the speaker mistakenly claiming phone apps having access to call audio. This is not correct, only phone app that come with your phone or made by Google can access the call audio. 3rd party phone apps can't access it.


We believe this total ban approach in the name privacy is not good for the consumer. Call recording is a valid need for many businesses and people. Banning it from Google Play Store will push people to look elsewhere and start installing apps from unknown or not trusted sources. We hope Google will see the need and implement a better way of call recording on Android. In fact, they had a go in the initial days of Android 11. They have implemented a privacy respecting call recording functionality in to Android 11. Unfortunately, whatever has happened during tests, they have decided against adding it to the final version of Android 11.


Having access to call audio opens many interesting use cases. Especially with the advance of AI and automated transcription features. We could implement offline version of Call Screening where ACR Phone can answer calls for you. Or, we could implement offline Visual Voice Mail where ACR Phone can automatically answer a call, play a pre-recorded message, record the response while ensuring your privacy.