Does Android 9 support internal audio recording?

Android is the most popular mobile operating system developed by Google. Since the first version of Android 1.0 released in 2008, Google has released major updates adding new features and enhancements. The current latest version is Android 12, but many devices still run on older versions like Android 9 Pie.

Android 9 Pie was released in August 2018 as a major update focusing on intelligence and digital wellbeing. Some of its key features included adaptive battery life, suggested actions/replies, dashboard for monitoring screen time, and improved gesture navigation (The Verge). While bringing useful new capabilities, questions emerged whether Android 9 fully supported certain functions like internal audio recording.

This article examines whether Android 9 Pie has native support for internal audio recording, and discusses options for enabling recording within apps.

Audio Recording in Earlier Android Versions

Android’s audio recording capabilities have evolved over the years, starting from limited functionality in early versions. Android 1.0 had no native support for audio recording. It wasn’t until Android 1.5 Cupcake that the platform added basic audio recording capabilities via the MediaRecorder API. However, this early implementation was fairly primitive compared to later versions [1].

It wasn’t until Android 3.0 Honeycomb that Google added more robust audio recording capabilities to the core OS. This included higher quality encoding, better control over audio sources, and support for various audio effects [2]. However, the MediaRecorder API was still fairly low-level and required developers to implement higher level recording features in their apps.

Prior to Android 9, most audio recording was done through third-party apps, rather than using native APIs. Popular recording apps provided an easy interface for tasks like voice memos, interviews, meetings, and music. However, these apps had to request broad permissions and lacked deep integration with the OS.

New Audio Features in Android 9 Pie

Android 9 Pie introduced several enhancements and innovations in audio capabilities over previous Android versions. One of the most notable changes is improved support for high-definition audio, which allows for superior fidelity and sound quality during playback. Android 9 utilizes the Sony LDAC codec to transmit audio signals in 990kbps or 660/330kbps, providing near high-resolution quality over Bluetooth.

In addition to boosting audio quality, Android 9 also focuses on reducing latency for wireless audio connections like Bluetooth headphones or speakers. Features like audio coupling help minimize delay between audio and video during media playback. There is also extended support for multi-channel audio through HDMI or USB-C connections.

On the compatibility front, Android 9 includes further improvements for managing different Bluetooth audio devices. It allows separate volume control for each connected device. Users can easily switch playback between phone speaker, headphones, car stereo, and other outputs. There is also expanded support for mono headsets and hearing aid device connectivity.

Some other audio innovations in Android 9 Pie include automatic ducking to lower background audio during notifications, visualizations forassistant responses, and refined routing for stereo speakers including bottom-firing ones (Chris Welch, The Verge).

The MediaRecorder API

The MediaRecorder API has been available since Android 3.0, providing capabilities for recording audio and video natively in Android apps. The API allows encoding of recorded media into common formats and writing the output as a file or stream.

For audio, the MediaRecorder API supports encoding formats such as AAC, AMR, and 3GPP. Audio sources that can be recorded include the device microphone, Voice Call uplink/downlink audio, app/system internal audio, and FM radio tuner audio as input sources (1).

To initialize audio recording programmatically, the MediaRecorder object needs to be created and configured with the desired audio encoding, output format, and source. The prepare() method prepares the recorder, then start() begins the recording process. Audio data is continuously encoded and output based on the configured parameters. Finally, stop() and reset() release resources after completing the recording (2).

The MediaRecorder API provides full control over audio recording parameters and handling of the recording lifecycle within an Android application.

Native Audio Recording App

Android 9 Pie introduced a new native voice recording app to replace previous built-in recording functionality. The app is simply called “Recorder” and allows users to record audio without needing to download a third-party app.

The Recorder app supports recording audio in AAC, AMR, and WAV formats at various bitrates. Recordings can be encoded at up to 24-bit/192kHz quality which provides high-fidelity audio (1). Files are saved locally on the device storage.

The Recorder app improves upon previous native recording apps in several ways. It has an intuitive interface and provides helpful recording tools like trim, tags, playback speed controls, and easy sharing. The app also allows background recording and transcription features (2).

Overall, the Recorder app offers an enhanced native audio recording experience on Android 9 Pie without needing a third-party download.

Third-party Recording Apps

While Android 9’s native recording app works well for basic audio capture, third-party apps offer additional features for power users. Some popular options include:

RecForge II – With RecForge you can record in WAV, MP3, OGG, M4A, and other formats. It has options to change sample rates, encoding bitrates, channels, and more. You can easily share recordings via email, messaging, cloud storage, and more.

Hi-Q MP3 – This app allows you to record in high quality MP3 up to 320kbps. It has a simple, clean interface and options fortrimming recordings, boosting volume, and sharing to various destinations.

Third-party apps allow selecting higher quality formats like FLAC and WAV versus the default AAC on the native recorder. They also provide more robust editing tools, audio effects, sharing integrations, and customization options.

Optimizing App Permissions

Starting in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, apps must request permissions from users at runtime rather than just once during installation. This allows users to have more control over what data apps can access. For audio recording, apps must now specifically request the RECORD_AUDIO permission before accessing the microphone.

To request this permission in your app, first check if you already have permission by calling ContextCompat.checkSelfPermission(). If you don’t have permission, you can request it by calling ActivityCompat.requestPermissions() and passing in the RECORD_AUDIO permission. This will prompt the system permissions dialog to the user. You should always explain why you need the audio permission before requesting it so users understand how their data will be used.

It’s also good practice to only request the audio permission when it’s needed for a specific feature, rather than asking for it on app launch. You can also optimize the permission usage depending on the use case. For example, an audio recording app would need continuous access, while a social media app may only need one-time access for short voice messages. Minimizing the data you access ensures better privacy for users.

Following Android’s permission best practices allows you to record audio while still protecting user privacy.

Audio Recording Use Cases

There are many common use cases for recording audio on Android phones and tablets. Here are some tips to get the best quality recordings for different situations:

For recording interviews or speeches, the built-in microphone generally works well if you are close to the speaker. For best results, try holding the phone 6-12 inches from the speaker’s mouth. Reduce background noise by finding a quiet location (Source).

Music recordings can benefit from plugging in an external microphone, which provides higher quality input than the built-in mic. Look for microphones designed for mobile devices that plug into the 3.5mm audio jack or USB-C port (Source).

For voice memos or meetings, enable speakerphone mode to capture all speakers in the conversation. Place the phone centrally on a table and ask participants to speak up to be heard clearly.

If recording outdoors, try minimizing wind noise by using a foam windscreen over the phone’s mic or an external mic with built-in noise isolation. Also find a sheltered spot to avoid wind buffeting the phone.

With some experimentation, Android’s built-in audio recording capabilities can accommodate diverse use cases. But hardware accessories like external mics can take your recordings to the next level of quality when needed.

Troubleshooting Issues

There are some common issues that can occur when recording audio on Android devices like background noise, low volume recordings, or no audio at all. Here are some troubleshooting tips and solutions for audio recording problems on Android 9 Pie:

If your recordings have background noise or interference, first try moving to a quieter area if possible. Enable airplane mode to avoid cellular signal interference. You can also try using a microphone plugged into the headphone jack rather than the built-in mic, as external mics often pick up less ambient noise. Adjusting audio source and gain settings can help minimize background noise if an external mic is not available.

For low volume recordings, check that the microphone volume or gain is turned up sufficiently in your recording app settings. Make sure you are speaking close enough to the phone microphone. Apps like Boldbeast Call Recorder have advanced audio settings to increase gain and volume [1].

If you have no audio at all, first ensure you have allowed the app microphone permissions. Check that your phone is not on silent or vibrate mode. Try plugging in headphones with a microphone to bypass the built-in mic. Restart your device and test the mic in another app like your voice recorder. As a last resort, your microphone hardware could be faulty, requiring professional repair.

Some best practices for better quality Android audio recordings include: using a quiet environment, speaking close to the mic, managing permissions wisely, adjusting gain/volume levels, using airplane mode to avoid interference, and testing different apps and microphones. With some tweaking and troubleshooting, you can master audio recording on Android 9 Pie.


In summary, Android 9 Pie introduced several enhancements to audio recording capabilities through the native MediaRecorder API. Key features include support for recording in AAC format, loudness enhancer for boosted audio levels, and visualizations for volume levels during recording. While the native tools work well, third-party apps like Easy Voice Recorder provide additional useful features like trimming recordings and cloud storage integration.

To optimize audio recording quality on Android 9 devices, grant microphone permissions to only trusted apps, use headphones to reduce ambient noise, and adjust audio source and encoding settings as needed. Troubleshoot issues by checking app permissions, storage access, OS and app version compatibility. Overall, Android 9 provides robust tools for recording high-quality audio out of the box or through specialized apps.

Looking ahead, we can expect continued improvements in recording quality, editing features, and AI-powered capabilities like automated transcription. As Android evolves, audio recording will likely become more seamless across the OS and apps. Targeted use cases like interviews, music, and accessibility will drive innovation. With Android 10 and 11 already launched, exciting new audio features are undoubtedly on the horizon.

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