How to Record a Phone Call The Legal + Caller-Friendly Way

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported, which means we earn commissions from links on Crazy Egg. Commissions do not affect our editorial evaluations or opinions.

There are lots of reasons you might need to record a phone call: important meetings, interviews, over-the-phone training sessions, verbal agreements, or even to preserve a treasured conversation with a loved one. 

But when it comes to recording phone calls both legally and in a caller-friendly way, well, there’s good and bad news. 

The good news is that it’s never been easier to record phone calls thanks to an array of modern apps and technology. 

The bad news is that legally, recording phone calls requires a bit of nuance. Before you hit that record button, you need to make sure you’re following all laws in your jurisdiction.

You also want to be sure that you’re treating the person on the other side of the call with courtesy and respect. And by this, we mean, you should always give them a heads up that they’re being recorded.

So with that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the legalities, consent practices, and technical methods for recording phone calls in a way that’s both legal and caller-friendly.

Know the Laws in Your State Regarding Recording Phone Calls

In the United States, you need to know the laws not just federally but in your own state, as state guidelines can sometimes be stricter than federal guidelines.

At the federal level, the rule is generally one-party consent, which means you can record a phone conversation as long as you are one of the participants in the call. 

But depending on what state you’re in, this still doesn’t give you the legal all-clear to start recording all your calls.

State-to-state, the laws and requirements are a bit different, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with the specific laws of the state you currently reside in. Some states require all parties involved in the call to consent to the recording. This means that before you press the record button, you need to inform the other party and receive their approval. 

Other states have the same mandate as the federal law and require only one-party consent. For example, California is an all-party consent state, whereas New York requires only one-party consent.

That’s why it’s crucial to check both federal and state laws to ensure you’re fully compliant before recording any phone conversation. 

Are you in a state where you need to obtain consent? You can do so easily on your phone call by using this general script: 

“This is [Your Name] and [Other Party’s Name] on a call about [Subject]. This call is being recorded, is that okay [Other Party’s Name]?”

Even in one-party consent states, obtaining explicit consent from all parties can help avoid any potential legal complications and ensures transparency in your communications. So when in doubt, get consent from everyone.

Beyond any legal guidelines, it’s just the respectful thing to do.

Let the Person You’re Calling Know You’re Recording

Letting someone know you’re recording isn’t just about satisfying legal requirements. It’s also a sign of professionalism and courtesy. How would you feel if someone recorded a phone conversation they were having with you without your knowledge?

Ten times out of ten, getting consent to record a phone call is always the best option.

Being transparent about your intent to record not only builds trust but also ensures that all parties feel comfortable during the conversation. 

Here’s how to approach it.

Ask for Consent in Advance

We gave the script above as a quick general guideline to use on a call, but it’s best to ask someone for their permission to record before your phone conversation together even begins. This takes the pressure off of them having to give an on-the-spot answer on the call without any kind of heads up.  

So whenever possible, inform the person you’ll be calling that you intend to record the conversation beforehand. You can do this by sending an email or text message before the call, giving them time to consider and consent to being recorded.

Here’s an email script you can use. If you prefer to communicate via text message, just shorten this same script:

Subject: Request for Consent to Record Upcoming Phone Call

Hi [Recipient’s Name],

I hope you’re doing well. I’m reaching out because I’d like permission to record our upcoming phone conversation scheduled for [Date and Time] regarding [Brief Description of the Call’s Purpose]. The recording will be used for [Briefly State the Reason for Recording – e.g., “ensuring accuracy in our discussion points,” “training purposes,” etc.].

I want to ensure that you are comfortable with this, so please take the time you need to consider this request. If I don’t hear from you before our call, I’ll check in with you again at the start of our conversation to confirm your consent before proceeding with the recording.

Thanks for considering my request! I look forward to our discussion and am here to answer any questions you might have about the recording process or anything else.


[Your Name]

Announce the Recording at the Start of the Call 

If prior notification isn’t feasible, make sure to inform the caller as soon as the call begins, using the script we gave earlier. 

Use clear, straightforward language to announce that the call will be recorded. You can also explain briefly why the recording is necessary.

This can give the other party some context around the recording, and it also gives them some time to consider their answer while you’re explaining the purpose of the recording.

Provide an Opt-Out

Whether you’re getting consent through text, email, or on the phone call, always let the other person know that they’ll have the option to end the call if they’re uncomfortable with being recorded. 

Assure them that you’re willing to continue the discussion through other means if they prefer not to be recorded.

Again, this is about following the law while also treating the other party with courtesy and respect.

Send the Called Party(s) a Copy of the Recorded Call

Here’s another best practice that goes beyond compliance: providing a copy of the recorded call to all participants. Even if they don’t request it, this is an important gesture of transparency and accountability.

Why? It demonstrates good faith and ensures that everyone has access to the same information. It’s also valuable as a reference or to clarify any misunderstandings that may arise later. 

If you want to go the extra mile, it’s also best to send a transcript alongside the audio recording. Transcripts can be easier to search through and reference, especially for lengthy discussions. Various software tools can generate transcripts automatically, though you should definitely review them for accuracy.

You’ll also want to make sure that you use secure, encrypted methods to protect the privacy of the conversation when you’re sending recordings and transcripts. You can do this by emailing a link to a password-protected file or using a secure file-sharing service.

This way, you can not only inform the participants when and how they’ll receive the recording but also reassure them that you’ve taken steps to secure their data and privacy. 

How to Record a Phone Call on an Android or iPhone

When it comes time to actually record the call, what’s your best option? Luckily, recording phone calls on smartphones nowadays is pretty straightforward. But there might be slight differences depending on the device and software you’re using. 

Here’s how to record using either built-in options or third-party apps.

Google Phone App (Available on Most Android Devices)

Phone by Google app in the Google Play store
  1. Setup: Ensure the Google Phone app is your default calling app. If it’s not pre-installed on your Android device, download it from the Google Play Store.
  2. Recording: During an incoming or outgoing call, you’ll see a Record button on the call screen. After you’ve obtained consent, tap this button to start recording. Everyone on the call will hear an announcement that the call is being recorded.
  3. Stopping the Recording: At any time, you can tap Stop to end the recording. The audio file will be saved automatically in your call log. You can then send this file to other parties who were on the call. 

Google Voice (For Android and iOS)

Google Voice app
  1. Setup: Download the Google Voice app from the Google Play Store or App Store (for iOS) and set up your account. In the app settings, navigate to Calls and enable Incoming call options.
  2. Recording: After you’ve obtained consent, just press 4 on your keypad during any incoming call to start recording. Then, press 4 again to stop. Like the Phone app, Google Voice announces when the recording starts or stops.
  3. Accessing Recordings: Recorded calls are saved in your Google Voice inbox, where you can listen to them or download the files and send them to participants.

Alternative Method: Speakerphone and Voice Memos

Don’t have a phone that supports direct call recording? 

You can always do things the old fashioned way: place the call on speakerphone and use another phone to record it using a voice memo or a voice recording app. 

Here’s how: 

  1. Put the phone call on speakerphone on one device. 
  2. Then, enable voice memos or a voice recorder on another phone. 
  3. Put the phones next to each other and record the call that way

Just be aware that this recording may vary in quality based on your devices and the recording environment. So be sure to test this method first to ensure it still gives you the quality you need.

And you’ll still need to get consent from the required parties as well.

Third-Party Recording Apps

Call Recorder - ACR app

Finally, there’s no shortage of third-party apps and call recording software you can use. Apps like Rev Call Recorder (iOS) or ACR Call Recorder (Android) are two good options for recording phone calls. 

That said, the availability and functionality of these apps can be limited by your device’s operating system and local laws regarding recording.

Be sure to download and try these apps before you actually need them. That way, you’ll know beforehand whether they work for your device or not.

You can also check out our guides to recording calls on your Android or how to record a call on your iPhone

Again, regardless of the method, always ensure you’ve obtained consent from all parties before recording, as per the legal and ethical guidelines we highlighted earlier. 

Make your website better. Instantly.

Over 300,000 websites use Crazy Egg to improve what's working, fix what isn't and test new ideas.

Free 30-day Trial