Google just updated its Play Store Policy, which will go into effect on May 11th. One of the improvements is aimed at permanently removing call recording apps from Android.
As Reddit user NLL Apps pointed out, this policy change has an impact on app developers’ use of the Accessibility API. “The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording,” Google says. In a developer webinar that was webcast live, Google clarified the rules.
Third-party call recording apps on the Google Play Store won’t be able to function after May 11
Over the course of numerous Android releases, Google has gradually deprecated and removed APIs that enable call recording. This is done for the sake of privacy and security, as well as the fact that call recording rules vary greatly from country to country. Call recording is disabled by default on Android 10. As a result, Play Store apps began leveraging the Accessibility API to record calls in order to get around the limitation. After Google rolls out the new adjustments next month, this will no longer be possible.
However, Google’s regulation only applies to third-party call recording apps available on the Google Play Store. Native call recording on phones using the Mi Dialer, such as the Google Pixels or Xiaomi phones, will not be affected.
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OnePlus Dialer Call Recording
For the first time, OnePlus added call recording to its native OnePlus dialer for some regions, and believe it was on the OP3 (T) in 2017. However, with the launch of the OnePlus Nord, the company ditched the OnePlus comm suite in favour of Google’s. This meant that call recording without notice was no longer available in the regions where it was previously available, and it remains unavailable in those regions where the OnePlus dialer does not support it.
Google Play Policy Updates – Developer Webinar
“If the app is the default dialer on the phone and also pre-loaded,” the presenter explained in the developer webinar on the Google Play policy updates, “accessibility capability is not necessary to get access to the incoming audio stream, and hence will not be in violation.”
Because they come pre-installed on the phone, system apps can basically get any permission they want. Third-party apps, on the other hand, do not have the same freedom and must obtain permissions.
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What remains to be seen is whether developers will adopt the new policy changes before the May deadline, or whether Google will resort to removing non-compliant apps from the Play Store.