Phone conversations can be recorded by using a VoIP service that offers built-in call recording, dedicated smartphone apps such as Call Recorder, a call forwarding service that offers recording, built-in call recording features on certain smartphones and third-party software capable of recording a VoIP conversation placed using a computer. Using an external recording device to record a speakerphone conversation also works.
For calls placed on a landline telephone, the only viable option is to use an external recording device. The other methods of recording phone conversations require software programs that only function on smartphones or PCs. This is also the best option for users with iPhones; Apple's restrictions on app permissions prevent third-party software from accessing the microphone during phone conversations.
Federal law allows for recording with the consent of only one party, and 38 states follow the federal guidelines. The remaining states follow stricter guidelines and only allow for recording with the consent of both parties. State law must always be consulted prior to recording a phone conversation to ensure that the recording is legal, as laws are subject to change. Special rules exist for the recording of police and public officials, which are more permissive. Recording public actions and conversations of police and public officials is a constitutionally guaranteed right.