The idea of recording a phone call sounds pretty nefarious at first. However, there are plenty of times when creating a recording can be an excellent idea. Journalists, for example, can greatly benefit from having a voice recording of an interview. There’s no need to take notes, and it’s impossible to misremember or forget important details.
Recording phone calls can also be an excellent idea when networking in the world of business. Operating a business will require a tremendous amount of time talking to very important people. It can be a wise decision to keep track of major conversations, including possible conference calls, to maintain crucial relationships.
Whatever the reason for your desire to record a phone call, it’s important to know the legality of it first. The last thing you want is to wind up in hot water over the issue, as you can face jail time or pay damages in a civil lawsuit. Before you do anything to record a phone call, you need to know what is and isn’t legal.
What States Require Consent To Record Phone Calls?
It’s safe to say that most people don’t want to be recorded without their knowledge. While it might be impolite to record a phone call without their consent, it’s not technically illegal in most cases.
For example, federal law 18 U.S.Code 2511 states that you can legally record a phone call or conversation as long as you are a part of it. With that being said, each state has its own laws for consent when it comes to recording phone calls.
The majority of states only require the consent of one party. That means that you can record a phone call and don’t have to inform the other people that are a part of the call. However, 15 states require the consent of every person involved with the call before recording is permitted.
These states include:
- New Hampshire
If you live in one of these states, then you must get expressed consent before you start recording. The act of recording nonconsensual communications can be charged as a felony in some cases.
If convicted, you could face between five and 30 years in prison on top of legal fees, fines, and civil lawsuit damages. Take the time to thoroughly review the laws in your state to avoid such drastic life-altering consequences.
How Can You Record iPhone Calls?
Now that we’ve covered the legality of recording phone calls, we can get into the details of how to do it. There’s no denying that the iPhone offers an incredible variety of high-quality useful features.
Unfortunately, there are no built-in features that allow you to easily record phone conversations. In other words, it won't be as simple as pressing the “record button” when you’re on a call.
However, there are quite a few methods that you can use to record a phone call, such as:
Voicemails are recorded phone messages, so it makes sense to use them to record a phone call. It’s a little trickier than some of the other options, but it’s completely free, and you won’t have to use another device or download another. You’ll probably need to practice a few times before you attempt to record an important conversation, as the process is a bit complicated.
- Make a phone call as you usually would.
- Place the caller on hold by selecting the “Add Call” option on your keypad.
- Call your phone number to access your voicemail.
- When the voicemail begins recording, select the “Merge Calls” option on your keypad.
- The conversation will be recorded and stored alongside your other voicemails.
The key thing to keep in mind with this option is that you might only get a few minutes of recording time. Some voicemail services only allow for three to five minutes of voicemail length. You’ll need to make sure that you know exactly how long you have to record the conversation, as you might run out of time before the call has ended.
Using Voice Memos
If you have an iPhone, you likely have at least one more Apple device. A study from a few years ago found that the average American household owned 2.6 Apple products. If that’s the case, then you can easily record phone calls using the Voice Memos app. Virtually all Apple products come with the Voice Memos app preinstalled.
If your second device doesn’t have it, then you can easily find it in the Apple Store.
- Open the Voice Memos app on your second Apple device to have it ready.
- Whenever you wish to record a call, tap the “Speaker” option on your primary device.
- Make sure that the primary device volume is turned up and the second device is close enough to pick up the other person.
- Press the red record button on the Voice Memos app to start recording.
- You can easily share the recording when it’s finished by tapping it, selecting the “Share” option, and picking which app you want to use.
Using this method is basically the same as using a tape recorder. Apple doesn’t permit users to record speakerphone calls with the Voice Memos app on the same device. The reason why it’s arguably the best method is you’ll easily be able to share the recording as soon as it’s done. A tape recording would require much more effort to share, presuming that sharing it is your goal.
Using Google Voice
Google Voice is a cloud-based phone system that gives users access to one phone number that can be forwarded to several devices (with a Google Voice Account). The system uses voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) technology, and the app is available for free in the Apple Store.
The primary purpose of Google Voice is that it provides users with one phone number that can be forwarded to several devices. Fortunately for this conversation, it can also be used to record conversations.
- Download, install, and set up the Google Voice app on your iPhone.
- Open the app and select the icon with the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner.
- Tap the “Settings” option and toggle the “Incoming Call Options” slider to “On.”
- Whenever you wish to record a call, tap the number “4” on your keypad.
- To stop recording, press the “4” button again.
- All recordings will be stored in the “Voicemail” tab on your Google Voice app.
The biggest downside of using Google Voice is that a voice will announce whenever the recording has begun. That means that there is no way to record a phone call without the other person knowing about it. Therefore Google Voice might not be the best option if you live in one of the 35 states that only requires one-party consent for recording phone calls.
Using Third-Party Apps
It’s estimated that there are about 2.1 million apps available in the App Store. While that’s much less than the 3.4 million offered to Android phone users in the Google Play Store, you’ll still have plenty to choose from that can record phone calls.
Naturally, most of these phone apps will cost you some money, so they’re only a good option if you plan on recording phone calls often. Also, most of them will have iOS requirements, so double-check that your device is up to date.
These are a few of the most popular recording apps currently available in the Apple Store:
TapeACall is arguably the best voice recorder app available for iPhone users. The only real downside is that your phone service provider must be able to support three-way calling.
That’s a pretty common feature, and it’s practically guaranteed that you have such an ability. If you’re looking to record a lot of calls, you might want to opt for the TapeACall Pro version. It only costs $10.99 for an annual subscription and gives you unlimited recording times.
Rev Voice Recorder
Rev Voice Recorder is another free option that allows you to easily record phone calls and save them to your device. The main issue with this call recorder app is that it’s pretty basic in terms of features.
One of the best recording features is that the app can transcribe the recording after it’s been completed. However, transcriptions will cost you $1.50 per minute, which can get pricey for longer conversations.
The Lite version of this app is free and is serviceable for recording phone calls. The list of features is very short, but it can work if you’re not looking to record many calls.
The Pro version is a much better option for people looking to record lots of conversations. It only costs $9.99 for 300 minutes of calling credits. After those have expired, you must purchase in-app credits for additional minutes.
Recordator is a solid option for anyone looking to record a few quick phone calls, as the first ten minutes are free. After that, you’ll have to pay $10 to receive an additional 67 minutes of recording time. There is no monthly subscription for this recording service available, so you’ll have to purchase additional minutes that cost 15 cents apiece.
ACR Phone Call Recorder
ACR Phone Call Recorder is easily the most comprehensive app on this list as you can organize files, upload them to multiple apps, edit audio, and speech-to-text is available in more than 50 languages. The problem is that these features will cost you a monthly subscription fee of $14.99.
Another impressive feature is that you can have access to unlimited recording times for all incoming calls, outgoing calls, and video calls. However, the Facetime recording is only available if you spring for the pro version, which costs $59.99.
Do Your Diligence Before You Press Record
Everyone knows that information privacy is basically impossible in the modern age. It takes a ton of effort to keep your personal information private. Always remember that anything you post online, like pictures or screenshots, or send via text/email, can easily be shared.
Phone calls are a bit different as they have laws that protect citizens against them being recorded. Make sure that you know the laws in your state before you use any of the methods listed above to record a phone call. It could be a life-altering event if you’re charged and convicted of recording a conversation without expressed consent.