Some Mac users who have the native Zoom app for macOS installed are reportedly seeing active microphone usage from the program even when they’re not on a Zoom call (via The Register).
The issue seemingly affects the latest iteration of Apple’s computer Operating System, macOS 12 (Monterey). macOS Monterey introduced a slew of new privacy protections, which included visual indicators in the Menu Bar for when the microphone or camera is being accessed by an application — an orange or green dot, respectively.
Zoom quickly became a staple app over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to be used for both professional, educational, and personal video calls. As such, most people leave the app open in the background while they go about using their computers.
Mac users started seeing unwarranted microphone usage from Zoom after upgrading to macOS 12 in October of last year. On December 27, Zoom released an update that, according to the company, “resolved an issue regarding the microphone light indicator being triggered when not in a meeting.”
However, the issue is far from fixed for many users.
“That most recent update seems to have made no obvious difference. I’ve just noticed the orange dot again, and when I quit Zoom, Timing.app told me that I’d apparently been on a 2 hour Zoom call,” said one user on a Zoom community chat thread.
“At this point, it looks like it’s safest to only run Zoom while on active calls and keep it quit otherwise.”
This isn’t the first time Zoom has been the subject of privacy concerns from users. In mid-2020, a security researcher found two zero-day vulnerabilities in Zoom’s macOS client. Shortly after the discovery, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan promised to rectify the lapse in security and apologized for falling “short of the community’s privacy and security expectations.”
When The Register reached out to Zoom for comment, a company rep told the publication they “were looking into this.”
Update: According to MacWorld, Zoom says version 5.9.3 for macOS fixed the bug, noting “the Zoom client for macOS 5.9.3, released on January 25, 2022, fixed a bug involving the failure to properly terminate the microphone use post-meeting.”