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How to allow a call recorder app access to call logs?

Since Android 9 (pie) Google Play has forbidden apps that are not the primary telephony app to access the call logs. The other problem seem to be that the phone recording call quality especially of the party on the other end has seemed to be severely degraded since the prior Android version.

For context, read Google Play Store Changes SMS and Call Log Policy.

Related post: Access the call-log to complement what has been banned by policy

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    @beeshyams The recording quality is still very good. Every phone number is private number. Maybe I can move the old app from my old phone?
    – polcott
    Jun 8 '20 at 6:09
  • There is one additional possibility for recording one should mention: There are online services you can add as participant making it a conference call. This recording service then records the call into an online service you have an account for. Of course such a service is bad for privacy.
    – Robert
    Jun 8 '20 at 7:14
  • @Robert Another downside to those services is that they are a hassle to use with incoming calls. Nov 25 '20 at 14:35
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You can't unless your device is rooted or if you are running Android 8 or earlier


Details

Call logs

Thanks to Irfan who commented

On Android 9+ an app can read call logs only if it holds READ_CALL_LOG permission, which is intended to be granted only to the apps registered as default phone app (on Android 10+ it also requires whitelisting restricted permissions during app installation). Additionally apps published on Play Store cannot hold READ_CALL_LOG permission if they aren't capable of being used as default phone app which includes call recording apps.

For the same reason some call recording and other apps which need to access call logs or ongoing call's phone number publish two different versions of their apps; one on Play Store (without READ_CALL_LOG permission) and the other with the said permission.

Call recording

  • Android has blocked call recording from Android 9 onwards (country specfic) . This has been resisted by several users as you can see in the issue tracker.

  • Only silver lining is that at some point of time it may be restored in future versions as mentioned in the issue tracker

Our development team has been adding call recording APIs on their road map. Its something that we would like to address in a future version of Android. However due to the security and privacy implications of such APIs it is not something we can deliver for the Q release.

  • Without root, you cannot overcome these limitations - poor quality of recording, one sided recording, caller identity not being tagged (as in the related question which you linked). You can see these complaints in the latest reviews of the app you linked.

  • Side loading an older APK isn't going to help if you are on Android 9 or above, since OS itself is blocking it. Some call recorders like Boldbeast have made Magisk modules to overcome these limitations. On OnePlus devices, you can similarly record using a Magisk module.

  • If you don't want to root your phone, star the issue tracker and hope that call recording and maybe access to call logs is restored in future versions

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  • @IrfanLatif I want the same call recorder to work on my new phone the same way that it worked on my old phone. It is bad enough that my zte z956 could not be upgraded to Android 7.
    – polcott
    Jun 8 '20 at 15:10
  • So I can fix it by rotting my phone? Can I remove root after I am done? How do I fix it by rooting my phone?
    – polcott
    Jun 8 '20 at 15:32
  • Can I simply login as super user and grant READ_CALL_LOG permission to an installed app?
    – polcott
    Jun 8 '20 at 15:42
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    I didn't say your app will work with root. On the contrary I gave examples of working with root. It's upto you to find out which rooted app works for your device /Android version //As recommended earlier please read the tag wiki of rooting before to understand better //Just to clarify again, you need to be rooted first before an app asks for privileges (ref your last comment) //I made efforts to be clear - if you still can't follow you can ask a separate question (linking this if needed).
    – beeshyams
    Jun 9 '20 at 3:28
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    Accessibility App Connectors allow access to the same information that is in the phone call logs, thus totally solves the original problem without rooting the phone.
    – polcott
    Jun 11 '20 at 15:13
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Accessibility App Connectors allow access to phone call information

Android 9 (pie) app that keeps track of call details without access to call logs:
Call Recorder - Cube ACR

Call Recorder - Cube ACR provides:
(a) The date and time of the call.
(b) The duration of the call.
(c) The size of the recording in bytes.
(d) The phone number or the name of the person (if in contacts).
(e) Incoming or Outgoing call.
It uses Accessibility App Connectors to get access to this data.

This answer will only work for developers of Android apps, yet works quite well in this case. It doesn't provide access to the actual call logs but it does provide access to the same information. Accessibility App Connectors allow the underlying program to "see' the data that is on the display screen and be notified of events such as placing or receiving a phone call.

The following Google Play app is an example of an app that uses this method. It records the Contact name or the phone number of all phone calls and it does this on Android 9 (Pie) without rooting the phone.

Call Recorder - Cube ACR

The above app has an app connector that lets it access the current phone number and display either the contact name or the phone number if the number is not in the phone contacts. The recorded call quality in speaker phone mode seems pretty good. This app does not require rooting the phone.

Because of the above Google Play policy change it may be the case that every phone call recorder app on Google play always has poor quality unless in speaker phone mode. The quality of many of them even in speaker phone mode seems degraded for the other caller. I tested about a dozen of the most popular apps for recording quality. This one may be the best of the twelve. I still have to run some more tests to make sure.

There is a big difference when tested on someone's voicemail message and when tested with an actual person on the other end. Quite often (even in speaker phone mode) the person on the other end is at only half the volume.

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