Apple talked about the boosted security thanks to the T2’s arrival, but now, as was first reported on Tuesday by TechCrunch, a detailed security document published by the company goes into a bit more detail on what that means. While the document touches on different elements, the primary focus is getting across the chip’s ability to prevent hackers from eavesdropping on you through your Mac.
Apple has the same T2 chip within the newest MacBook Pro models as well, so the security guide details not only the improvements made to the security of the 2018 MacBook Air, but that model as well. Apple has designed the chip to feature a “hardware disconnect”, which will disable the microphone in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro once the lid on the laptop is closed. The chip makes this a hardware element, and therefore prevents any software from engaging the microphone.
“This disconnect is implemented in hardware alone, and therefore prevents any software, even with root or kernel privileges in macOS, and even the software on the T2 chip, from engaging the microphone when the lid is closed.”
The T2 chip was first introduced in late 2017 with the introduction of the iMac Pro. It was then put in the newest MacBook Pro models, and has found its way into the MacBook Air and Mac mini as well.[via TechCrunch; Apple]