Apple’s 2020 iPad Pro offers an anti-eavesdropping feature that ensures the device’s microphone hardware is disabled when an MFI-compliant case is attached to the iPad and is closed, explains 9to5Mac.
According to Apple’s recently updated Platform Security guide, the disconnect feature means that no software can engage the microphone when the lid is closed — even if your operating system has been compromised.
The company’s security document reads:
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.
Apple’s document states “iPad models beginning in 2020,” suggesting all future iPad models will also have hardware microphone disconnect.
The new iPad Pro feature is important at a time when hackers are looking to compromise Apple devices across the board, including their cameras and mics. If your microphone is shut off, this won’t be able to happen–at least when you are not using your iPad. And of course, there is no need to shut off the camera when your iPad is closed, because the case would obscure it.
The security feature first made an appearance in 2018 MacBook models that were equipped with Apple’s proprietary T2 security chip. The chip includes a hardware microphone disconnect feature that disables the laptop’s mic when its lid is closed.