Apple is pretty strict when it comes to what apps are allowed to do on its platform, and it draws a hard line on call recording. But with a little hackery, you can record a phone call from your iPhone. Here’s how.
First, Know the Local Laws
Before we go into how to do this, it’s important to understand whether recording a phone call is legal. The super-short version is if you’re an active participant in the call, you’ve got a good chance that it’s legal. If you’re not, it’s almost definitely illegal. The slightly longer version is that various state and federal laws cover the topic. To further muddy the waters, these laws also vary by country. There’s a fairly comprehensive list on Wikipedia, but as with everything on Wikipedia, find a second source for your local laws. Rev, a company we’ll talk about below, also has an excellent blog post on the subject.
It boils down to the two types of consent: one-party and two-party (which is a bit of a misnomer). One-party consent means you can record a call as long as you are on that call. Most U.S. states, the federal statute, and most other countries require one-party consent. Two-party consent means everyone on a call must approve of the recording, whether it’s two people, three people, or more. There are several U.S. states and some countries that require two-party consent. Again—research your local laws.
The penalty for not complying with the law varies, ranging from civil to criminal litigation. When in doubt, clearly state at the beginning of a call that it’s being recorded and ask everyone to affirm that this is okay.
So, now that we’re legal let’s get to it. There are two methods you can use to record a phone call on an iPhone: hardware or software. We’ll outline the options for each below from the simplest to the most complex.
The Simplest Option: Speakerphone and a Voice Recorder
Hardware call recording can be as simple as putting a call on speakerphone and setting a digital recorder down next to your phone. The Sony Voice Recorder ICD-PX Series is a highly rated option on Amazon for $60. It has a built-in bbUSB plug, MicroSD expansion, and includes a lavaliere mic in case you ever want to record someone face-to-face.
But this method works with any voice recorder. Just arm it to record, put your phone on speakerphone, and record away. If you never plan to broadcast the recording and it’s just for personal notes, this option is probably for you. If you need higher quality, though, things get a bit more complicated.
The Software Option: Recording a Call with Rev Call Recorder
Apple doesn’t allow apps to record a phone call on your device. However, there are some apps you can get that will enable you to record via a three-way conversation. The call is routed through the company’s servers, where it’s recorded. It’s a crafty little workaround if you need something more refined than a speakerphone call recorded on a voice recorder but don’t want to invest in specialized recording hardware.