You’re working on a genealogy project, so you call your grandmother on your iPhone and spend time talking to her about her childhood and her parents and what she remembers of the family history. You could try to write down fast and accurate notes, or you could record the call so you can listen back to it later.
Recording calls with your iPhone can be done with a little preparation ahead of time. It’s a tool you might also want to use when you need to document a customer service interaction or save some other conversation for posterity.
There are legal issues you need to be aware of when it comes to recording calls. Laws vary by state and country.
Some allow you to record a call without the other person’s knowledge, while some require you tell the other party about the recording, so that person can choose whether to participate in the conversation. Check your local laws, but to be safe, ask permission before recording a call.
Try out an iPhone call recorder app
Apple doesn’t make it easy to record phone calls. There’s no built-in ability to do it, so you’ll need to look into an app or external hardware to get the job done.
TapeACall is one of a handful of iPhone call recorder apps that cost money to use. They get around Apple’s roadblocks by using three-way conference calling through your mobile carrier. It takes a few steps to get it running.
You have to hit the record button and tap on a “merge calls” button to activate the conference call recording. The free download gives you a seven-day trial period to make sure it works with your iPhone and carrier. Not all carriers support the three-way conference calling required for this app to work. TapeACall charges $29.99 for a year subscription after the trial period.
Also check out Rev Call Recorder, a free app with unlimited recording of incoming and outgoing calls. Rev offers an add-on transcription service that costs $1 per minute. The Rev app will walk you through similar steps as TapeACall. Between the TapeACall trial and the free Rev app, you should be able to decide if a three-way conference calling recording app works for your needs.
Record your Skype calls
Microsoft added the ability to record some Skype calls in version 8 of the app in late 2018. The feature works for Skype-to-Skype calls.
To activate it, hit the plus sign during a call and then tap on the circular “Start recording” button. Skype notifies everyone on the call they’re being recorded with a noticeable banner. It also suggests you tell everyone they’re being recorded.
The call recording is posted afterward in the Skype chat. You’ll have access to it for 30 days and can download it while it’s available. This feature is handy if you already rely on Skype, but it also gives you a reason to use the Skype service when you know ahead of time you want to record a conversation or video call.
Record iPhone calls with Google Voice
Google Voice app users have an option to record calls by pressing “4” during a conversation, but there’s a catch: it only works with incoming calls, and not outgoing calls. That means it’s not terribly convenient unless you only want to record people who call you, but it is a free feature worth knowing about.
To activate the Google Voice call recording feature, open the app, tap on the three bars to open settings, tap on call and then turn on “Incoming call options.”
Use hardware to record iPhone calls
Software and app options may be limited, but you can always go the traditional route and record your iPhone calls with the help of some extra hardware. A simple method is to turn on speakerphone and record with a tablet, computer or a standalone voice recorder.
Here’s a slightly different way to do it: the $13.90 Olympus TP-8 telephone pick-up microphone sits in your ear like an earbud and picks up both ends of the conversation. You plug it into a recorder (again, a tablet, computer or handheld recorder works well) and then hold your iPhone up to your ear to talk like normal.
If you don’t mind tapping your way through a few hoops, an app like Rev Call Recorder is a good place to start. Between apps, Skype, Google Voice and external recording devices, you should be able to save all the calls you need to for posterity.