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Recent MacBooks have included a security feature that shuts off the microphone at a hardware level when the lid is closed. Apple has now introduced the same feature on iPads, beginning with the 2020 iPad Pro. The iPad doesn’t have a lid, of course, so Apple instead activates the mic cut-off whenever a case with the company’s “Made for iPad” certification is closed over the screen. This should work with Apple’s own Smart Folio, Smart Keyboard Folio, and the upcoming Magic Keyboard (due out in May), among other third-party cases.
The feature is outlined in the latest version of Apple’s Platform Security guide, originally spotted by 9to5Mac. As the guide highlights, the disconnect means that no software can engage the microphone when the lid is closed — even if your operating system has been compromised. That’s good news for anyone who is worried about government surveillance or other snooping.
The security measure first made its way into Apple hardware in 2018, starting with the MacBook Air and Mac mini. It came after discoveries of some high-profile security vulnerabilities in Macs, such as the Fruitfly malware, which allowed hackers to gain complete remote control of a Mac, including its mouse, keyboard, and webcam.