The smart devices market often enables software developers to push the boundaries of what is possible to achieve with the hardware running a software with a specific purpose. In recent years, we’ve seen a growing market for surveillance software running on smartphones, tablets and personal computers. Basically, any available device running a modern operating system. In recent years that includes even smart internet connected refrigerators and washing machines.
In this article, we go into detail about apps that offer ambient and call recording functionality and explain how and whether they even work at all. Read on to find out how they can be of use to you.
There are plenty of applications for devices capable of using cellular networks for calls and thus being able to record them effortlessly. Some of the phone manufacturers offer call recording as an inbuilt feature. It is very important to know that recording calls without notifying the party on the other end of the line is illegal in some countries and so this functionality if often disabled in accordance with the law.
The software works by starting a recording session as soon as the call is connected and stores it on the devices internal memory for a later review if needed. This is a great feature for companies when orders and requests need to be fulfilled and not so good for those revealing sensitive information and not being aware they are being automatically recorded over the phone.
Most of the modern smartphones and tablets come with 2 or more microphones included so when a call needs to be recorded they get activated and the recording gets saved in a high-quality format. Users may not even be aware that their own phones have this function enabled so it is best to check in the call dialer settings. Imagine selling your used device with an entire conversation history stored and available to a stranger you sold your phone over Amazon or eBay.
On the other hand, for those looking the functionality to monitor and store their conversation recordings, there are third party applications on the market based on the operating system your devices are running. The recording functionality is limited to calls that are made on the cellular network and do not include other apps that offer voice calls, for example, Skype or WhatsApp and similar others on the market.
What about ambient recording – is it possible on my device?
When it comes to the need to record the sounds from your surrounding – things are not as simple as with call recordings. Even though commercially available smartphones and tablets include powerful and latest microphones – they cannot offer the sound quality and fidelity of using professional recording equipment. This is especially true if one needs to record sounds of a larger area of space in real world conditions, where noise and other sounds interfere with the sound being recorded.
Presently on the market – applications being offered to consumers offer ambient recording feature and rely on heavy sound processing algorithms and only on the use of onboard devices microphones and sound processing chips. Needless to say, most of the current devices have microphones and more importantly sound processing chips that offer mediocre sound recording quality at best.
More expensive devices include high-quality recording capability however they are designed to record sound in the near proximity of the microphones during voice calls. Ambient recording demands microphones designed to capture – yes you guessed it – sounds coming from a large area of space and from multiple sources at a time.
We can safely recommend you to steer clear from any application offering ambient recording functionality since you will only get a fancy sound recorder app that uses equalisers to reduce noise and tries to enhance sound quality by increasing volume filtering. Technically they do offer ambient recording but perform poorly thus leaving users dissatisfied and angered for the money spent on a bad product. To make things worse this product is falsely advertised and its only purpose is to grab cash from naive customers.
We advise anyone with needs to use the sound recording for calls if their country of residence allows it as it can come handy in situations where your organisational skills depend on it. Call recordings are also accepted in court as long as the party on the other line is notified during the voice call that they are being recorded. This evidence can be used to sentence anyone threatening or extorting for example. Call recording is thus a great security measure too.
As for ambience recording, we advise against using or worse spending money on applications that offer abysmal functionality and leave users with useless recordings and disappointment for money wasted for nothing. In any case be mindful of those you converse over the phone and keep in mind that if they do not know they are being recorded they will not take lightly the fact that their private conversation is left recorded without them knowing and more importantly – without their approval.