We've all experienced moments that we'd like to preserve, but typically this means getting your camera ready in advance. What happens if you want to just replay something you were talking about, or if your child said something really cute in front of you when you weren't expecting it?
Past Recorder is a free Android app that wants to fill this gap - at least on the audio front. Once you run this app, it keeps going in the background, constantly recording audio. It keeps the last 10 minutes in memory, and anything older than that gets removed, so it won't fill up all the space in your phone.
If you do experience something that you want to record, then you can just open the app again, and select how long a clip you want to save - with options from 5 seconds to 10 minutes.
There are definitely scenarios where we can see this being useful - apart from the two we mentioned at the beginning, you could have an impromptu meeting with a colleague, and then pull up the recording so the two of you can make proper notes.
It could even be useful if you're talking to a friend and neither of you remembers something at the start of the conversation. Just push play and replay the whole chat to go over everything you said.
Of course, running an always listening application might not be appealing to some people. To address your concerns, the developers point out that the app doesn't take Internet permissions, and can't communicate your data with anyone. The app is free but not ad-supported - instead, there's a premium version you can buy as an in-app purchase for Rs. 180, with which you get the option to save unlimited clips, and to share and export clips.
With the free version, you can save up to three clips (of up to 10 minutes each) at a time, and you want to save anything more, you'll have to delete an existing clip. Without the paid version, the recorded clips can only be played on your own device.
Past Recorder also says it has your security in mind as it locks up the microphone services, though this is of course an inevitable side effect of that fact that it's using your mic. Obviously, this causes a few problems - for example, your sound recorder app won't work so if you're in the habit of recording classes or interviews, you need to turn Past Recorder off. The app will also prevent voice activated features such as "Okay Google" from working.
If you're not put off by the concerns of an always listening app, then Past Recorder is definitely worth checking out. It has an incredibly simple design that is also aesthetically pleasing. When you start the app, it has a simple screen with a huge microphone logo. Under that is a timecode showing you how long a clip it's presently recorded, and three simple buttons.
In the middle, there is an on-off toggle, which is self-explanatory, and on the left there's a menu button which opens the settings. This includes a setting to automatically turn the app off if the battery goes below a customisable limit, and a sleep schedule for nighttime use. Meanwhile, the third button on the home screen takes you to your saved audio clips.
That's all there is to the app, and this makes it quite easy to use for anyone. If you're looking for an app that records every word you say, then this certainly looks like a polished yet user-friendly option we could recommend.