Google to Shut Down Call Recording Apps on Android, According to New Policies

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Google has reportedly made some changes to its developer policies. It will no longer allow third-party recording apps on Android starting on 11 May 2022.

According to Android Authority, a Reddit user noted that this particular policy change affects the use of the Accessibility API by app developers.

“The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording,” Google stated.

The giant tech company has been working around removing APIs that allow call recording apps over several Android versions.

“Only services that are designed to help people with disabilities access their device or otherwise overcome challenges stemming from their disabilities are eligible to declare that they are accessibility tools. It should be obvious when reading the Google Play Store description of an accessibility tool who those users are and how the app helps them meet the challenges they face,” according to a statement that Google told The Verge.

Here are the new guidelines as per The Verge article:

  • The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording.
  • The use of the Accessibility API must be documented in the Google Play listing.

Guidelines for IsAccessibilityTool

  • Apps with a core functionality intended to directly support people with disabilities are eligible to use the IsAccessibilityTool to appropriately publicly designate themselves as an accessibility app.
  • Apps not eligible for IsAccessibilityTool may not use the flag and must meet prominent disclosure and consent requirements as outlined in the User Data policy as the accessibility-related functionality is not obvious to the user. Please refer to the AccessibilityService API help center article for more information.
  • Apps must use more narrowly scoped APIs and permissions in lieu of the Accessibility API when possible to achieve the desired functionality.

The new policy will, however, not affect the native call recording functionality that comes pre-installed on some Android phones.

By Zintle Nkohla

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