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Apple expanding iPad microphone privacy feature compatibility in iOS 14.5

Apple introduced a privacy feature for iPad Pro last year that physically disconnects the microphone when compatible cases are closed. Apple will soon expand this privacy feature to work through software more iPad models that don’t support mic hardware disconnection.

Here’s how the already supported privacy feature works on 2020 iPad Pros:

iPad models beginning in 2020 also feature the hardware microphone disconnect. When an MFI compliant case (including those sold by Apple) is attached to the iPad and closed, the microphone is disconnected in hardware, preventing microphone audio data being made available to any software—even with root or kernel privileges in iPadOS or in case the firmware is compromised.

Starting with iOS 14.5 beta 2, Apple supports a wider set of iPads for muting the built-in mics when used with Smart Folio cases through software:

iPad (8th generation), iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation), and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation) now mute the built-in microphone when its Smart Folio is closed.

The feature models a similar security feature introduced on Mac notebooks in 2018. iOS 14 brought new privacy features for users, including a visual indicator in the status bar when a camera or microphone is in use or was recently used.

Learn more about changes coming in iOS 14.5 here.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.