How to Record Calls, Plus Call Recording Rules for Every State

Elizabeth Lockwood

Recording calls for your business can deliver more valuable insight into employee-client interactions and your clients' common issues. Call recording also allows you and everyone in your business to get to know your clients better without being involved in every direct one-on-one conversation. 

The best marketing insight always comes from personal interaction. Having a reliable real-time recording option is an additional part of collecting the facts on the customer journey, potentially boosting conversion rates for your business. 

So let's dive into how to start recording calls. We will look at a couple of recording options for both iPhones and Androids and alternatives for larger business platforms. We also want to share some state and federal phone recording laws to ensure you're recording calls legally. Keep in mind, it's best to always alert the caller that you are recording, and have them verbally agree. 

How to record calls for Android and iPhone users

Many cell phone users already have Google Voice on their phones, and it's free to download if it is not already on your device. The limitation is it only records incoming calls, and you have to use a phone number assigned by the program. There is an option to transfer your number, but this may cause problems with your current provider if you have a contract. Always check before you decide to switch. 

Google Voice is a voice over IP (VoIP) service that is free with the option to upgrade. 

How to record calls using Google Voice:

  1. Download your Google Voice app 
  2. Choose and accept a phone number
  3. Click the hamburger menu in the top left corner
  4. Go to settings
  5. Toggle “Incoming Call Options” to the on position
  6. Wait to receive a call on your Voice number
  7. Start recording by tapping 4
  8. Stop recording by tapping 4 or by ending the call
  9. Go to the “Voicemail” tab to review your recordings

When you start or stop recording the call, Google announces the recording to all participants.

Android

Since early 2019, the Android phone's recording app collects incoming and outgoing phone call conversations. However, issues have been noted with the app not recording correctly. Some users believe this is because of specific laws prohibiting phones from having recording devices for phone calls. However, there are a lot of unknowns with the software. Therefore, using third-party apps is still popular for most users. 

iPhone

iPhones do not come with a call recorder and do not work with all apps. Therefore, Google Voice is a good option for iPhone users. Finding the best third-party call recording app is an option if you are looking for a little more. 

Third-party apps and call tracking

Third-party apps are applications that you can download from providers outside your network or service to enhance your phone's features or add new ones. Not all apps work with all operating systems. Also, for most applications to work correctly, it is important to make sure that your phone's software is updated. 

Call tracking does more than just record; it provides data and analytics to enhance and strengthen your marketing tactics. By understanding the attribution behind your calls, you can engineer an even more profitable communications strategy. 

TapeACall

This application is iPhone and Android friendly. It works by creating a three-way call between you, your other callers, and the TapeACall service. It offers unlimited services, in and outgoing call recordings, and works globally, among other features.

How to record calls using TapeACall:

  1. While you are on a call, open the application, and hit record 
  2. This will dial the application number
  3. Wait for them to answer 
  4. Once they answer, merge the calls, and it will start to record 

The calls record and save in the application as a link and mp3, which you can then share across social platforms, texts, or emails, as well as upload to Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, etc.  

CallRail

While Google Voice and third-party apps are an easy, cheap option for how to record calls, other services may be more logical for business options. Call-tracking services such as CallRail not only offer inbound and outbound call recording services for multiple lines and numbers, but they can also connect the calls to a data analytics service that tracks more than just conversation. 

Internal and external call data can provide invaluable insight into marketing strategies, how they are working, faults in the funnel, and even boost conversion rates using the data given to adjust campaign strategies. 

Video and audio call recording apps

Apps like Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype can record video and audio files on your desktop and smartphone. 

Skype

Skype gives notifications as soon as you start recording, and it can combine multiple video recordings into one. With Skype, you must make sure to download your recording within 30 days. Otherwise, you will no longer have access to the recording. To record your Skype call, you must:

  1. Click the three dots in the corner of the app.
  2. Start the recording by hitting the circular record button (on mobile) or the “Start recording” option on your desktop.

You and the other party will receive a notification that the recording has started. When you can end the recording by exiting or ending the call, or simply by turning this setting off.

Google Meet

Google Meet is a business-oriented video chat service. You must have access to Google Drive to store the recording, and you can toggle the recording option on or off as long as you have admin permissions. Recording with Meet is only available with a paid Google Workspace account. 

How to record calls using Google Meet:

1. Make sure you have an administrator account and switch to this if you are not already in it

2. On the Google Meet home page, go through this flow, in order:

  1. Apps
  2. Google Workspace
  3. Google Meet
  4. Select “Meet video settings”
  5. Choose to give all or selected users recording permissions
  6. For all users, the top organizational unit should be selected
  7. Choose an organizational unit or configuration group to restrict this function
  8. Select “Recording”
  9. From here, the “Let people record their meetings” option can be clicked on
  10. Hit “Save” and finish up

Zoom

Zoom is a popular video calling service that also offers call recording for free and paid accounts. Zoom offers local and cloud recording for its users, depending on the plan. All accounts can do local recordings (saved on your computer or phone), while only Pro, Business, or Enterprise accounts can save recordings in the cloud.

Users can change recording settings and permissions on their Zoom log-in pages. Administrators must make changes to account and group recording settings, while individual users can simply update their personal settings.

Within the video window itself, users can start a recording if they are the host of the meeting. People participating in the meeting will see or hear a recording notice. Hosts can pause or stop a recording at any time.

One-party and two-party consent for recording phone calls

When it comes to recording phone conversations, each state follows either one-party consent or two-party consent, also known as all-party consent. Basically, if you are in a state with one-party consent, only one person must consent to the recording. In two-party states, all parties must agree to record the call for it to be legal. 

The 11 states that follow the two-party (or all-party) law are:

  • Illinois
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • Montana
  • California
  • Maryland
  • Delaware
  • Washington
  • Pennsylvania
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire

Federal law (18 U.S.C § 2511) follows one-party consent. Vermont is the only state that does not have a phone recording consent law outlined in state statutes. This means that it would fall under the federal statute.

All other 38 states and the District of Columbia fall under the one-party rule, although Connecticut is a state with consent that differs based on criminal and civil charges. There are also cross-state law contradictions that make following these laws confusing. 

Some states make it even more problematic by applying a vague "reasonable expectation of privacy" ruling. Violations of these laws can also end up in criminal cases or civil suits with the guilty party possibly paying fines. 

However, there is a solution to all of the confusion. 

Smith.ai Virtual Receptionists can handle all of your calls

While knowing how to record calls and track calls can help you address customer complaints, accounting for state and federal call-recording laws can be challenging. Smith.ai's virtual receptionists can help your business without recording calls, so you won't have to worry about breaking the law. 

Instead of recording phone calls, our virtual receptionists provide you with detailed call summaries and transcripts of online chats related to your business. Website chats are always recording, and you can still get valuable information about your customers legally. 

Our receptionists can also answer social media messages, sort through and qualify leads, and schedule appointments. And even better, we can make and take calls, take notes, and send them directly to your email or CRM. We can take all your calls and to help you convert viable leads.

Contact a receptionist today for a free 15-minute consultation at (650) 727-6484 or get started risk-free with our 14-day money-back guarantee. Smith.ai can help you do it all.

Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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