For the privacy-conscious folks out there, Apple has included a hardware microphone disconnect feature on its recent MacBooks. This feature ensures that the microphone is hardware disconnected when not in use thereby preventing it to pass any audio to a rogue app or malware with root or kernel privileges. Apple has introduced the same feature to its 2020 iPad Pro lineup as well.
As detailed in its latest Platform Security document, the 2020 iPad Pro’s microphone is disconnected in hardware whenever an MFi compliant case is attached and closed. Without the case, the microphone is not disconnected at a hardware level, though Apple does have other security measures in place to ensure that rogue apps are not able to access microphone data without explicit permission.
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.
This is a simple but major security measure from Apple that should give peace of mind to people who value their privacy a lot. Such security measures are also what separates Apple from other companies. There are hardly any other laptops, forget tablets, in the market that ship with hardware disconnect microphone feature.[Via 9to5Mac]