Under The Microscope

Capture iPhone Calls Using Audio Hijack

Audio Hijack IconMany users of the new Audio Hijack 3 have asked about recording phone calls from their iPhone. If you’re using Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and iOS 8.1, it’s easy to record these calls with Audio Hijack.

Thanks to a new feature called Phone Relay1, you can use your Mac as the receiver for making and receiving phone calls. That can be handy on its own, but adding Audio Hijack makes it even better. By setting FaceTime as the source in Audio Hijack, you can record those calls for later reference!2 Have a look:

Audio Hijack Capturing FaceTime
Audio Hijack recording a Phone Relay call via FaceTime

In-Depth Explanation

If you set up your pipeline as above, you’ll be in great shape. Some explanation of just what the pipeline is doing may be helpful though.

This setup began with the “Voice Chat” template, found in Audio Hijack’s Template Chooser (just select “New Session” to get it). We set the Application Block’s source to FaceTime, as that’s the source through which Phone Relay routes audio. The audio then flows through VU meters before branching off. At the top, the audio is simply recorded to MP3 (you can of course change the recording format and other settings).

The bottom portion of the chain is the audio you’ll hear through your headphones, and Audio Hijack makes some adjustments to optimize this. The Channels block duplicates the right channel, which contains the remote audio, so you’ll hear the other party and not your own voice.

Make It Go

Once you’ve got your Session setup, just hit the Record button in the lower left, then make your call in FaceTime, or just pass it over from the iPhone. You’ll see it recorded, just as desired!

Many people have asked about recording iPhone calls, so we’re certainly glad to show how it’s done. If you don’t have Audio Hijack yet, just download the latest from our site and get recording!


Footnotes:

  1. 9to5Mac has a great overview of Phone Relay.

  2. People are sometimes unclear on the legality of call recording, but in most places it is entirely legal. In the United States, you’re always allowed to record your own calls, though you may also be required to inform the other parties on the line that you’re recording, and obtain their consent. You’ll want to research the laws in your area and consult a lawyer if necessary.


Update (May 29th, 2015): This post was updated to show a simplified setup, thanks to updates in Audio Hijack 3.1 (and up)!

2 Responses to “Capture iPhone Calls Using Audio Hijack”

  1. Scott says:

    “In the United States, you’re always allowed to record your own calls, though you may also be required to inform the other parties on the line that you’re recording.”

    That isn’t accurate for a handful of states, including Pennsylvania (where I live, unfortunately). PA, and I think three or four other states, has an All-Party CONSENT law whereby ALL parties on a call must consent to being recorded, not merely “notification” (being informed). There are exceptions, but none of them are good (law enforcement). And it is a 3rd class felony with $1000 fine PER infraction…so if you get caught, you really can get hung out to dry. So, in effect, you can notify the other party you want to record, they can say “no” and keep on talking, implicating themselves in pretty much anything short of a provable felony…and you’re in the wrong if you record them.

    (In one PA case, there was a teenaged girl who recorded her father admitting to having sexually molested her; the county DA brought felony charges against HER! Turned out he was politically connected. In the end, justice was served; he was convicted and the charges dropped against her. But still. I’ve been working unsuccessfully with my local representatives to get the law changed to little effect. Extreme fundamental misunderstanding–utterly disgraceful ignorance IMHO–of “wiretapping” and “eavesdropping”, and First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights in the PA Capitol.)


  2. Paul Kafasis says:

    Scott: Though I’ve researched this a fair amount, I’m certainly not a lawyer. My understanding was that if you notify and the other party continues with the call, they are consenting. Looking a little closer, this seems to vary by state. I’ve updated the line in question to include the clause “and obtain their consent”. Thanks!

    Ultimately, as originally suggested, if there’s a legal concern a real lawyer should be consulted. My goal was to make folks realize that this is not some nefarious activity – it can generally be done, particularly with consent, for all sorts of useful archiving.


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