How To Record A Cellphone Conversation

by derek on February 26, 2008 · 74 comments

About this time last month, I was in need of a way to record a cellphone conversation. While there were a few options under consideration, I turned to the community and asked: Can you record a cellphone conversation?

Here is a recap of the methods that were being considered:

  • Buy a new cellphone that can record. While there are cellphone models that do offer the ability to record a conversation, I’m not a fan of paying big bucks for a cellphone so this was not an ideal solution.

  • Use speaker phone and record the conversation. While this technically could work, my results were less than stellar. Maybe it is because my current cellphone – see comment above – is somewhat old but the volume and crispness of the recording was lacking.

  • Buy a recording device to use with my cellphone. Again the results were less than stellar, although the quality here may have suffered as a result of the headset that I purchased. In addition, the number of components required made this somewhat cumbersome for my purposes.

After testing two of the three options with lackluster results, I wasn’t quite sure what to do in order to get the best results.

Mobile Spy Software

Then I remembered that a friend of mine had sent me an invitation to Google’s GrandCentral service. After signing up for the service, I noticed that they offer the ability to record conversations.

Score!

Thinking that I had found my solution, I was relieved and ready to record my first conversation. What’s that? You can only record incoming calls?

Damn!

Given that the reason I had been exploring the possibility of recording a cellphone conversation was to record an interview, I could not exactly request that the other party call me in order to record the incoming call.

Not one to give up on a challenge, I began to think about how I could still manage to pull this off using GrandCentral’s ability to record a cellphone conversation. After a few Google searches proved to be useless, it hit me – I could use our “home” cellphone to call my cellphone, start the recording, and then conference in the other party.

While this scenario ultimately ends up in using double the minutes on the cellphone plan, I was able to test it and it worked great. The recording is clear and crisp – and saved online for me to access from my Google GrandCentral account.

Google has now announced that you can get a GrandCentral account as long as you have a Blogger account – thank you Janet, as seeing your post reminded me to write this follow up. In the event that you don’t have a Blogger account and don’t want one, drop me a line and I will see if I can send you an invitation to sign up for a GrandCentral account.

Should you find yourself in a position where you need to record a cellphone conversation, you can try one of the methods that I mentioned earlier and hope for better results – or you can sign up for Google GrandCentral and utilize their feature to record a phone conversation.

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Note: Google GrandCentral no longer offers the ability to send invitations. Please stay tuned for any further updates.


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Michael Kwan February 26, 2008 at 11:15 pm

Although GrandCentral sounds like a nice service, it also sounds pretty scary, don’t you think?

brian toomey December 1, 2010 at 3:54 pm

What is the scary part? You and I are being monitored by countless security cameras
satillites, the NAS, FBI, CIA, AND OTHERS! Everytime I call a corporation I get a “your call may be monitored or recorded for quality control purposes.” Bullshit. The sxxx corporations can check my butt but helpless me can’t stick it to them?

Grow up, read some books, learn about the real world.

Stephen February 27, 2008 at 4:11 am

Bit of a techy here.. I had the same requirement just the other day and I went for a slightly cheaper option. Well cheap for the level of quality. Basically I used skype but with a add-on call recorder software. Okay you have to have skype out credit but they allow you to call most countries very cheaply. While there are a few free call recorders for windows (or even easy methods to do it using built in sound recorder), it was a bit trickier for mac and I had to fork out $15 for it. But for crystal clear quality I thought it was pretty useful!

Brewster February 27, 2008 at 3:16 pm

I had the same idea of using skype and some software to record the conversation, but Derek’s solution shows some great thinking outside of the box.

derek February 27, 2008 at 3:22 pm

The issue that I faced with Skype is that I could not guarantee that I would be at a computer at the time of the call. Normally this would be a possible solution but it didn’t provide me with the flexibility that I needed.

Billy Richold January 8, 2009 at 12:56 am

Hello Derek,

Can you please send me an invite to GrandCentral. I’m a techie guy and I’d love to acquire something new to play around with. Plus this seems really cool.

Thank you in advance for your help!
Billy

derek January 8, 2009 at 1:16 am

Billy,

Thanks for expressing an interest. Unfortunately, Google has removed the ability to send out invitations to GrandCentral. The speculation has been that they were preparing to release the service for everyone to use, but nothing has materialized yet.

I apologize that I cannot help you out.

Lindsey November 1, 2011 at 8:13 am

I am in need of some technical advice. I have someone who claims to have a recording of me on their cell phone. Its just a plain flip phone. It might not even have a camera, thats how basic it is. I believe its pre-paid. He said he has it saved to his memory card that goes behind the battery. Im sure you could possibly record a convo on that phone, but my question is: can you save it to the memory card? This guy is far from being a tech wizard so im questioning the fact that he even has the brains to record. Just in case he has proven me wrong, I need to know how likely it is for him to save that and actually share it with someone else like maybe through e-mail or facebook. I know it would be very easy with a smart phone, but just a plain flip phone? Need some advice please!!!

Home Recording Studio February 27, 2008 at 4:32 am

As long as you have time to do either of the two options, conference call or skype, they are fine. When you need to record an incoming call of both sides of the conversation, say when you are out of your home or office, there is no option but to get a set that will record. I had to have such a set to trap a pest and it worked like a dream.

Futon-Matt February 27, 2008 at 10:40 am

I purchased a Uniden a while back that allows for call recording. The line beeps when it’s activated, so it’s not too covert.

Nicole Price February 29, 2008 at 3:53 am

Good thinking Derek. Thanks for the info.

Chad March 3, 2008 at 11:11 pm

Nice Article, check out cellphone recorders here:

http://cellphone.dothanclassifiedads.com

George Lindemann March 11, 2008 at 1:30 am

Here call recorder cards are available , that Record both sides of your cellular phone conversations without any additional devices
http://www.spy-tools-directory.com/surveillance-equipment/record-cell-phone.html

Fred May 8, 2008 at 6:49 pm

That’s pretty crazy on how you can do that. My phone has the capability to record conversations and it just makes me think that nothing you say is private anymore especially over the airways.

Jon August 26, 2008 at 9:29 am

Whenever they say “This conversation may be recorded for quality purposes.” you can actually view this as permission for YOU to record.

Roger July 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm

What kind of phone do you have with the capability to record cell phone conversations?

lorraina February 25, 2010 at 3:57 pm

What phone do you have? I have been looking for one with this feature and have been unable to find one.

mike October 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm

you can buy a phone from walmart for $12 that will record conversations. its an ATT Go Molile phone, the cheapest they have. it works great except that you have to push about 6 buttons to activate the recorder, which causes 6 beeps that are heard by the other party.

Eva White May 27, 2008 at 8:00 am

Cool trick. Should try it out sometime.

Eva White’s last blog post..Why Oil Prices Are Not Going To Fall……

Sam June 23, 2008 at 3:43 am

Some really good ideas here. Have a look at some of our cellphones that you might want to use:
http://www.airtimemanager.co.uk/controlcosts/monthly_contract_phones_services.aspx

Sams last blog post..Wireless Mobile Broadband Rental – London, UK

Tim Keen August 20, 2008 at 8:49 am

Great Post, Thanks….

Tim Keen,
http://www.ezedir.com/Article/

R.A. Porter September 10, 2008 at 11:48 pm

Not sure why it hadn’t occurred to me to use GrandCentral to do this before, but I just took a look and it’s a snap.

And…if you need to do this again, if you go to GrandCentral, you can make the call from there. Click2Call will actually let you do what you did without having to use double minutes and conference from one cell to the other.

R.A. Porters last blog post..McCain Barackroll’d

Terry September 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm

If im not mistaken that cell phones the record, there is a contstanrt beeping in the background.

Terrys last blog post..Popular HID lamps

peter October 1, 2008 at 8:48 am

I believe SpoofCard can be used for this too, even though it’s primary purpose is to falsify caller id. Of course you would have to be making the outbound call.

sade June 18, 2009 at 9:11 am

Well I have da g1 goggle phone and I’m getting threathen phones calls I wanted to kw how can I record it

erdem February 25, 2009 at 6:41 pm

this page is perfet. thank you

erdems last blog post..Amerikan filmleri matemati?i bitirdi.

Perfect Barstools February 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Are there laws against recording phone conversations? Or, is it legal if the both parties know they are being recorded?

derek February 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Here in the United States, it depends on the state that you (and possibly the other caller) are in. Some states only require that one party be aware that the conversation is being recorded while other states require both parties be aware of the recording.

As always, be sure to understand your local laws.

voip33 March 2, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I think this is where VoIPs become handy. You have the opportunity to record phone conversations.

voip33s last blog post..VoIPYourLife

Paris March 13, 2009 at 3:13 pm

this really comes in handy, some newer phones all you have to do is press a button.

Harvey March 14, 2009 at 4:00 am

Does anyone know if this is legal in the UK?

fred horn March 17, 2009 at 9:10 am

you can also try recordiapro. they also let u record incoming calls- they have a cool way to record blackberry calls.

also to record iphone calls for incoming calls.

Amy June 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm

I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to record someone without their permission in the UK. The amount of times this would have come in handy…

Cell Phone Number Finder August 27, 2009 at 9:18 am

You can record phone conversation but be sure you have the consent to do such thing.

rb August 27, 2009 at 9:37 am

Required consent depends on your location and is off the topic, “How to Record a Cellphone Conversation”

Martin September 8, 2009 at 2:17 am

My friend showed me this website where you can spoof your caller ID, it decodes blocked numbers for you, and lets you record phone conversations. I am trying to find the link but am not having any luck.

rb September 8, 2009 at 7:39 am

The website is spoofapp.com…unless you have an iPhone. Apple decided that they would not support this application.

SpoofApp was rejected by Apple for inclusion in the App Store after being stuck in review for 192 days. Apple said: “We’ve reviewed SpoofApp and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store at this time because it allows users to anonymously make calls and/or wrongly identifies the Caller ID of the phone (known as Caller ID spoofing). We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.”

SpoofApp is officially too controversial for the App Store.

James November 26, 2009 at 3:56 pm

I have used a software called ‘Total Recall’ on my phone. It’s a great software. It has good features and is quite reliable.
.-= James´s last blog …Doing a Phone Number Reverse Search is Easy! =-.

Brandi December 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Hi I would very much like to start a google account such as you mentioned. Anychance you can drop me a line on yahoo?

Removed email address

derek December 9, 2009 at 9:14 am

Brandi, I have removed your email address from the comment to help prevent your address getting scraped by spammers. As for the Google account, Google has recently decided to cancel the GrandCentral and move over to Google Voice. As of right now, I don’t have any invites.

Free iPhone Themes February 1, 2010 at 4:49 am

A recording device could be useful for some situation but on the other hand one should be cautious about it. It can be use to retrieve your personal conversation.

Thanks for the post
Andriy
.-= Free iPhone Themes hopes you will read… Toy 3 =-.

JohnBush April 22, 2010 at 2:19 am

Thanks for the great article.
I use WM Sound Recorder to record my HTC Touch Pro phone conversation. It could record

outgoing and incoming calls automatically.

Keith Bennett April 30, 2010 at 8:36 pm

I am about to look into GrandCentral. I did successfully record a conversation (both sides) by getting a cell-to-mini adapter and plug in an inexpensive Olympus digital recorder into the cell phone. Keith, Southern California

Chad May 1, 2010 at 12:10 pm

This Article is 2 years old but still going strong on the comments.. Nice job

derek May 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Comments and the organic traffic for this post is amazing. It is consistently among the most visited posts on the blog every single month.

Greg May 18, 2010 at 1:08 am

This is great Derek, thanks. I’ve been having trouble with abusive callers and this shpould help sort it out

blackberry Spy Software June 17, 2010 at 3:33 am

Thanks Derek for sharing such a nice information. You have a really brilliant idea for recording incoming and outgoing calls I definitely take a try with Grand Central. Thank you.

philip - Online Auction June 25, 2010 at 4:55 am

my phone has built in recording function.

BlueDot July 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Is there anything that google can not do? I never heard of Google’s grand cental app. I was just looking around for a recording option and found your blog. This is pretty cool stuff!

HKS Exhaust July 26, 2010 at 5:04 am

Phones these days come with built in recording capabilities… Nokia E Series for example is equipped with the recording capabilities, although the duration of recording varies from model to model…

kavita March 14, 2011 at 5:19 am

Could you please tell me on which cells the recording is possible?

Mik May 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

What’s crazy is that this is 2011, and the Iphone can’t do something people wanted to do 2 yrs ago..

Karim May 21, 2011 at 4:53 am

As many said, the Iphone got superb apps in 2011 for doings this, even greater aps when jailbreaked. Ofcourse androids devices carry this future as well.

Steve Schumsky May 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Hi All,

I need the ability to record from the phone as well. I own a company that develops and markets food and other products, Domineau Food & Developments. I manage my ideas & projects on Microsoft One Note. Ideally, I’d like the ability to use my cell phone to record idea mining and other business to the built-in record feature in One Note via Bluetooth. Is there a cell application (android etc.), computer software, or Bluetooth fix (driver or firmware) available to take advantage of this feature? If not, with the multi-tasking/channel abilities of Bluetooth, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find and change drivers or write code to make this work. Right? If anybody knows of any existing solutions, or has any ideas on how to make it work, Please Reply. This would be fun to see if it’d work.

Thanks,

Steve Schumsky

Blogging on SEO May 26, 2011 at 11:10 am

I have never tried recording a cellphone conversation. But your article makes it sound simple. I think it will be helpful if you are doing some sort of consultation work.

ted benson June 15, 2011 at 9:24 am

Great info! I have a portable studio and can easily put the cell phone on speaker, record with the inline mic and presto! Voice analysis made simple.

Brandon Luke June 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Pretty awesome tips on recording phone conversations. However, the last one, is it safe to use and is it a free service? I’m sorry, I have really have no idea. Thanks for sharing.

Kostas July 27, 2011 at 3:04 am

If you ask about Google GrandCentral account then yes is is safe and free

Cadeau voor hem June 24, 2011 at 9:39 am

Thanks for the info Derek!
I don’t know if I’ll ever use it, but who knows… :)

kaxil September 23, 2011 at 11:55 am

interesting to record a friends conversation .. haha

Arthur Colbert October 31, 2011 at 8:03 am

I need application that with record my conversation over WITH my cell phone install

Settlement Purchaser November 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I didn’t realize it was that easy. thanks for the guide.,

Originele Cadeaus December 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Nice tip! Defenitely will use that sometime on my friends

Jean December 24, 2011 at 3:17 am

Grandcentral is now gone but I tried it once and liked it very much. And I never fared too well with the record from speaker method either. It was like listening to a radio broadcast on a battlefield, lol.

-Jean

Settlement Purchaser February 2, 2012 at 9:53 am

I had the option to record a conversation on one of my phones a long time ago and since then it seems the option has been phased out. I think they should make it standard on phones. very useful tool.

Stan February 6, 2012 at 7:22 am

I also had this option but it would beep every 11 seconds to let people know it was recording.

Stan April 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

That got annoying real quck!

Steve April 11, 2012 at 2:12 am

Yes – I remember that – I had that on one of my land lines many years ago. You could hit a button to record but it would keep beeping! I can see why it did it, though, but meant that it was never used!

Mahipal Singh February 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

thanks for the info
it is really helpful….

Wedding Photography Edinburgh July 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Very useful article. I needed like a hundreds of time to record the cell phone conversation, I mean this is the number of times I thought that would be useful. And I never actually checked that that option exists. Thanks for that.

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