What is the app that continuously records audio?

Continuously recording audio apps are programs that allow users to capture ambient sounds, voices, and other audio input over an extended period of time without having to manually stop and restart the recording. These apps stay on in the background and continuously save audio data, which can then be accessed later to review conversations, music, or other audio that was captured.

Unlike traditional audio recorders and voice memo apps that require manually starting and stopping recordings, continuously recording apps eliminate the need to press record each time you want to capture audio. This allows users to retrospectively go back and listen to audio from time periods when they may not have realized they wanted to record.


Continuous audio recording apps were first developed in the early 2010s as smartphone technology improved to support constant background recording. According to the Wikipedia article on the history of sound recording, the ability to record audio on smartphones emerged alongside the rise of smartphones in the late 2000s. However, early smartphone recordings were often short and intermittent rather than continuous.

Some of the first continuous recording apps were developed for law enforcement uses, to enable undercover agents to discreetly record interactions. Over time, consumer-focused apps entered the market as well, providing users a way to capture ambient sounds, conversations, lectures, and other audio throughout the day. Key innovations included running recording in the background rather than just when an app was open, and writing audio files incrementally to save storage space.

Early apps like RecDroid (2010), Smart Voice Recorder (2012), and AutoRec (2013) pioneered continuous recording on Android devices. On iOS, apps like Just Press Record (2015) and Alarmed (2016) offered simplified interfaces for long-form recording. More advanced consumer apps emerged in the late 2010s, like Cogi and Echo, providing features to save specific audio clips on-demand during continuous recording.

Main Features

Some of the key features of continuous audio recording apps include:

Passive recording mode – This allows the app to continuously record in the background without the user having to start and stop the recording. The app captures all ambient sounds automatically.

Active recording mode – This is a more traditional recording mode where the user manually starts and stops recordings as needed. Useful for recording meetings, interviews, speeches etc.

Background recording – A core feature of these apps is the ability to record passively in the background even when the app is minimized or the phone screen is off. This enables continuous passive recording.

According to Background voice recorder – Apps on Google Play, Easy Voice Recorder provides continuous recording features that help users easily capture audio in the background with one tap.

Privacy Concerns

Continuous recording apps raise serious privacy concerns, especially around recording consent, data security, and potential misuse. Apps like Otter.ai continuously record and transcribe conversations by default, often without the consent of all parties involved (source). This poses risks even in seemingly benign contexts like meetings, where sensitive information may be inadvertently captured. Additionally, the audio and transcripts are stored in the cloud, creating data security issues if hacked.

Perhaps the biggest concern around continuous recording apps is misuse and violation of trust. For example, abusers could use these apps to secretly monitor their victims without consent (source). Companies could also use them to record employees without permission, raising legal issues (source). While these apps promise features like searchability and productivity, their privacy risks cannot be ignored.

Common Use Cases

Apps that continuously record audio in the background have a variety of use cases. Some common uses include:

Journaling: People can use a continuous recording app to capture thoughts, feelings, and ideas throughout the day for personal journaling. The app records everything said out loud, allowing the user to go back and extract meaningful audio clips.

Meetings: Continuous recording apps are helpful for recording important conversations, interviews, business meetings, and lectures without having to manually start and stop the recording. Users can go back and review parts of the conversation again.

Lectures: Students can use an automatic recording app to capture classroom lectures. This allows them to re-listen to parts they missed or did not fully understand the first time.

Evidence gathering: These apps can provide helpful evidence if a user experiences harassment or bullying. The continuous recording passively captures what is happening to the user throughout the day.

Popular Apps

Some popular continuous audio recording apps include:

  • Otter – Otter is a robust voice recording and transcription app. It can record meetings, interviews, lectures, and more. Otter generates a text transcript and syncs it to the audio. Users can search, play back, edit or share the audio and text files. Otter works across devices and integrates with apps like Zoom, Google Meet, and Slack.
  • Just Press Record – Designed for iPhone, Just Press Record has simple one-tap recording. It records in the background while using other apps. The app catalogs recordings and lets users hear specific segments or words and see waveforms. It keeps recordings organized, searchable, and synced across devices.
  • TapeACall – TapeACall allows for continuous call recording from your smartphone. It records both sides of a phone conversation. The app captures every word clearly, then lets you search the audio, add notes, and share files.

Pros of Use

Continuous recording apps can provide numerous benefits to users. One of the biggest advantages is as a memory aid. By having a complete audio record of conversations, meetings, lectures, or other auditory information, users can refer back to refresh their memory on important details that may have been initially missed or forgotten. This can be extremely helpful for people with cognitive conditions like ADHD that affect working memory and retention.

Having a full audio log to reference can also increase productivity. Users don’t have to waste time taking manual notes, and can instead focus entirely on the discussion or task at hand. Later, they can efficiently skim through the recording to find key pieces of information, without having to recreate anything from scratch. This allows for more effective time management.

Additionally, the accountability provided by continuous recording apps can be beneficial. Knowing conversations are being documented can encourage more thoughtful, constructive dialog from all parties involved. People may be less likely to engage in unproductive arguments if they understand a record is being kept. This accountability can lead to more positive, focused interactions.

Cons of Use

Continuous audio recording apps come with several potential downsides that users should be aware of (Pros and Cons of Automatic Lecture Recording). Some of the main cons include:

Distraction – Knowing you are being recorded at all times can be distracting for some users. It may make them self-conscious and prevent them from speaking freely. The red recording indicator light on some devices serves as a constant reminder that everything is being captured (What are the pros and cons of digital recording?).

Storage Needs – Continuous audio recording generates huge amounts of data that must be stored somewhere. This means users need sufficient storage space on their device or cloud accounts. Audio files take up less space than video, but storage needs can still add up over time.

Legal Issues – There are laws and regulations surrounding recording conversations without consent from all parties. Users need to be cautious about recording private conversations without permission. And public recordings may also run into legal concerns depending on the jurisdiction.

Laws and Regulations

In the United States, laws regarding audio recording consent requirements vary by state. Some states require consent from all parties being recorded, also known as two-party consent states. Other states only require consent from one party being recorded, known as one-party consent states. There are also a few two-party consent states that have exceptions allowing one-party consent in certain scenarios.

According to the Digital Media Law Project, 11 states require two-party consent when recording private conversations: California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington. The remaining 39 states and Washington D.C. only require one-party consent.

However, federal wiretapping laws under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) require one-party consent for recording any electronic oral communication. This means it is legal to record conversations as long as one party involved gives consent, even in two-party consent states. There are also exceptions that allow recording without consent for law enforcement purposes.

Many workplace recording laws require consent from all parties being recorded. There are also restrictions around recording in private places and recording phone calls across state borders. It’s important to be aware of both federal and specific state laws when considering recording conversations with an app.



Continuously recording audio apps provide both benefits and drawbacks for users. On the positive side, they can capture spontaneous moments, thoughts, and conversations that would otherwise be lost. They also allow people to accurately review talks, lectures, interviews, and other verbal experiences. However, continuous audio recording also raises significant privacy issues, especially if used to monitor others without consent. Laws on recording conversations vary in different areas, so it’s important to check local regulations.

In the end, whether these apps are worth using depends on each person’s needs and comfort level. With responsible and ethical use, they can be powerful tools for memory, learning, and productivity. But potential risks like data leaks and misuse mean users should carefully consider both advantages and disadvantages. As with any technology, continuously recording audio has trade-offs that each individual must weigh up.

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