This blog post is about recording apps for mobile devices, specifically for Android mobile devices. You might say why Android and not Apple iPhones? Simply, most government agencies utilize Android devices due to the affordability, and the ability to install apps which tracks the phones, and monitors messaging. This is just a simple fact and at my agency, Android is used. Through my career, especially in Criminal Investigations Section, the old school way of recording interviews in the field and phone is to lug around a separate digital recording device and activate it. Most of the time, the suspect or witness views this activation and now knows they are being recording, ultimately changing their attitude and their answers to your questions. Luckily I am in Florida which allows secret or covert recordings without disclosure, by law enforcement, when interviewing anyone involved in a criminal investigation. Another problem I had was many of my phone conversations where not over the office phone, but on the mobile phone as my agency requires the publishing of my cell phone number to the public, and of course they will call and use it.
I knew everywhere I went, my mobile device or smart phone is brought with me, and even secured on my belt (attached to my hip). Since the smart phone is in itself a computer, I knew there had to be apps that:
1. Recorded audio through the devices microphone like a digital recording device
2. Recorded phone audio of telephone conversations
Both of these would capture conversations with suspects and witnesses, and record audio digital evidence.
I first set out a search for an app on the Google Play market which would record phone conversations. I felt this was an easy feat and when I search the app market, I located hundreds of apps which claimed to record phone conversations. I downloaded and tested about a dozen of apps, all of which failed to record the incoming voice on the headset. I did some research and realized this was a permissions issue with Android. Then I found Call Recorder ACR.
The Call Recorder ACR App also would record the conversation of both parties, in a very high quality audio format. I installed the app, received a phone call, and BAM, when I click on the play button of the recording after disconnecting, both myself and the other person on the phone could be heard with high quality. I was so excited as I had used these other Call Recorder apps, and had to output their voice via speaker phone to capture their end of the conversation, and would be very muffled and garbled.
Call Recorder ACR is fully functional with ads, with an option to purchase the full version for $2.99. Some features of Call Recorder ACR is:
- Auto record of all phone calls
- Auto deleted of old recordings
- Marking recordings as important to avoid deletion
- Password protection of recordings
- Recording modes based on Contacts versus non-Contacts
- Much more
You can view and download the Call Recorder ACR app for Android devices at the Google Play store by following the link below.
The next task I tackled was a covert recording app for Android Mobile Devices. I could use this app for interviews with witnesses or suspects in environments where video or audio recordings are not available. Some people might ask why record? I feel it is important to capture both the interviewees exact statements as in police reports, their statements are mostly summarized and to also capture their emotions and voice inflection as it pertains to how they speak. The first mobile app I found for covertly recording audio for interviews was Easy Voice Recorder.
Easy Voice Recorder was my first selection and first choice, and fell in love with this app quickly. The Easy Voice Recorder app was very easy to use and the most power function of the app was it supports a Widget, which is one of the most powerful features of the Android operating system, versus Apple devices. That is, I can have a widget on the main screen of my Android Device which shows a Record Button, Stop Button, and a Mic Button which immediately opened the Easy Voice Recorder app. So when I am about to do an interview where I needed to record, from the main screen of the Android Mobile Device, just hit record, and audio will start to record. The quality of the recordings are outstanding and can pick up audio from across the room. The recording can also be stopped, paused, saved, and deleted from the widgets from the main screen of the Android Device.
When I am about to interview someone and don’t want to publish I am recording the interview, I simply tell them I am silencing my phone, as to not interrupt our conversation, or tell them I am looking for the date and time for the Miranda Rights Form I am about to read. The Easy Voice Recorder app is free with most features available with ads that will show. The pro or full version costs $3.99. Features of the Easy Voice Recorder app for Android are:
- Records high quality PCM, MP4, and AMR formats
- Quick start widgets
- Android wear support
- Much more!
You can download the Easy Voice Recorder app below for your Android device.
The writer of this blog article has received no monies and is the opinion of the writer from actual use of the apps mentioned in this article.