Smartphones are great playback devices – you can use them to view TV shows, movies, videos, audiobooks, music, games and more. They are just as good at recording audio and video content from our daily lives. You can use a smartphone to make voice messages to yourself to remind you of important tasks or to make notes, you can record video of special events (or just funny things you see in the neighborhood), and you can even play enter what’s happening on your phone’s screens. Some of this feature is built into your iPhone, while other types of data require one or more apps to download.
Is it legal?
When you want to record in secret, things get a little more difficult. There are a few reasons why you might want to record something without the subjects in the recording knowing about it; You may want to take nannycam video from your childcare provider to make sure they do nothing wrong when you are not around, or you may want to have a video recording of everyone coming up to the front door of your house. The legality and morality of such a recording can be clear, but it can also be hazy. A lot depends on the location, the purpose of the recording and how much privacy reasonable people can expect under certain circumstances. It is generally legal to record the outside of your home without notifying you, for example; It is your private property, people who come to your home are out in public, and they have no reasonable expectation of integrity in that case. Other circumstances are much less clear.
TechJunkie is not a legal advice site and cannot advise you on the specific legality of a particular act. For that, you need to consult a lawyer. However, we can explain some basic concepts.
Some of the laws in this subject are fairly well settled. for example, you can legally play phone calls or personal conversations. In some states (called one-party states), such recording is legal if someone in the conversation knows it is being recorded. This is counted even if the person is the one doing the recording. In other states, a recording is legal only if all parties to the conversation are informed that they are being recorded. That’s why the customer service helpline always informs you that “calls can be recorded or monitored” – so that whatever legal regime is in your state, they are covered.
There are 11 states where all parties must be informed of a recording – California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington. In addition, Hawaii is usually a one-party state but is a two-party state if the recording device is to be located in a private location. Since it is an almost impossibly vague rule, you should consider Hawaii a bipartisan state. In most states, recording advice is sufficient; only a few sites require that everyone involved actually explicitly consents to be registered.
There is also a federal versus state consideration. Jurisdiction issues are almost always very tricky, so again, consult a lawyer before making any important decisions. As a general principle, if the persons participating in a conversation are in different states, the federal law applies. If they are in a state, it controls the state’s law. The federal law is a unified law on consent while the states, as seen above, vary. It is also worth noting that recording a conversation in a public place in most states is always legal, even without the parties’ explicit knowledge. In public places, people cannot have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Recording by the police or other public officials
How about recording a police stop or the behavior of public officials doing official business? Do you have permission to record it and do you have to inform them about the recording? In general, you can record, and no you do not need to inform. Four federal circuit courts (first, seventh, ninth and eleventh) have expressly found that there is a First Amendment right to register public servants during their job. These courts cover the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin. They also cover US territories in the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. In other states and territories, the right to register state officials has not yet gone to the federal judiciary. It is likely that the decisions already taken by four of the country’s circuit courts would be compelling in a similar case in an untested state, but that is not guaranteed.
It is crucial to note that this First Amendment right to register does NOT transfer to a right to intervene with police data or otherwise violate any applicable law. You cannot interfere in an arrest, violation, ignore legitimate police orders intended to control a riot or other civil disturbance or violate someone else’s privacy rights.
So you’re at the Phish concert and you’re really digging the music. Can you take out the phone and record the show? Yes and no, but most no.
Legally, no. There is a federal law that prohibits the recording of public performance (a concert, a play, a musical – whatever) without the express permission of the artists and in many cases by the owners of the arena.
In practical terms, many artists have tolerated (and in a few exceptional cases, such as the Grateful Dead, encouraged) to record bootleg recordings (audio, video or both) of their shows. This tolerance is not the same as it is legal, but generally, if you are recording a show where the artists do not mind, it will not be a problem. However, it is strictly prohibited to use such recordings for profit, personal or otherwise. You can get away with recording Phish, maybe, but if you then start trying to sell your Phish bootlegs on eBay, their lawyers will come down on you like the wrath of an angry deity and you will lose and lose badly in court. So think about it.
Record your iPhone screen
This type of recording is perfectly legal; it’s your phone and you can record whatever you want to record yourself. There is built-in functionality in iOS for recording your own screen. You must set it by activating it first. Here’s how:
- Navigate to the iPhone Settings app.
- Navigate to Control Center-> Customize Controls.
- Select the ‘+’ icon next to the screen recording.
This adds screen recording to your Control Center.
To actually record:
- Open the Control Center with the swipe up from the home screen.
- Select your new screen recording icon. It is the red or white circle.
- Select it to start a 3-second countdown. Short press for video only, long press for audio and video.
- Select the white or red circle again to stop recording.
The recorded video will be available in the Photos app and you can edit it as usual, either with the phone’s built-in utility or by exporting it to your Mac. There is no real way to do this “secretly”, but once you turn the disc and navigate to do what you want to record, there is no indication that a recording is taking place.
Recording with your iPhone screen is off
You can record video and/or audio with the Camera app on your phone, but of course, this will usually be pretty obvious to anyone looking at the phone – they see the camera program on a brightly lit, active screen. If you want to record with the camera and still look subtle, there is a way to do it on some older versions of iOS. Note: this does not work in version 10 or later.
- Lock your iPhone screen while the phone is on.
- Press the lock button to illuminate the lock app but do not unlock it.
- Slide the camera icon slightly while holding it down.
- Select the red record button at the bottom with another finger while still holding down the camera icon.
- Quickly press the Home button six times.
- Keep holding down the camera icon until your iPhone screen goes dark.
At this point, your iPhone will record and will continue to do so until you turn it off or it runs out of hard disk space or battery.
Mute your shutter sound
This one is simple. If you want to take pictures or videos without the shutter sound going off, just turn on the Mute switch on your iPhone. (It’s the same switch that turns off the phone’s ringtone.) Presto, no more shutter noise.
You can read articles online that say this is illegal to do. Although it is possible that in some jurisdiction somewhere it has made it illegal to take a picture without a shutter sound, my research has not been able to reveal it. That is simply not true. You can turn off your shutter noise to your heart. If you see an article that says this is illegal and gives a quote to a source other than the author’s opinion, come back here and leave a comment for us – we’re following this issue.
Record secretly with apps
There are a number of apps that allow you to secretly record phone calls, videos, and audio. I’m not going to do an exhaustive review of them all, but here are some that you can use to make recordings private on your iPhone.
TapeACall Pro does what it says on the box: it lets you record calls made on an iPhone. This is a highly rated app and even though it costs $ 10.99 you can record your calls without any hassle and are very reliable.
SP camera costs $ 9.99 but it is a very complete spy camera app for your iPhone. It lets you secretly capture photos and videos without anyone noticing. The app hides all the camera’s interface buttons and the viewfinder’s display, instead of displaying a false background image. You can set the phone in an area as if you just left it there and it will record for you while it and you look completely innocent. The app has a photo timer feature that lets you take snapshots in seconds, as well as a motion detector sensor that starts recording if something moves in the camera’s field of view. You can also save your videos and photos in a secret password folder.
Presence is an app that lets you turn any iOS device into a WiFi-connected security camera. This allows you to set up your old iPhone or iPad anywhere in your home or office and silently stream video to your mobile device. You can secretly record in any place where you can leave your phone and have WiFi. Ideal for video surveillance and also has a two-way calling. The base app is free; the premium service provides support for things like home security devices, smart switches, controllable lamps, etc.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to record secretly with an iPhone? Share them with us in the comments below!
Edits and writes on every field except football. He has an obsessive relationship with business and technology trends, is sure to be the funniest to say sweet potato. Commercial content manager for TechAmbo.