Apple introduced a privacy feature for the iPad Pro last year, which involves physically disconnecting the microphone when the smart covers are closed. Apple will soon expand this privacy feature to work through the software for more iPad models that do not support disconnecting the microphone hardware.
This is how privacy works with smart covers on iPad Pro
IPad models starting in 2020 also feature the hardware microphone disconnect. When an MFI-compatible case (including those sold by Apple) is connected to the iPad and closed, the microphone is hardware disconnected, preventing the microphone’s audio data from being available to any software, even with root or root privileges. kernel on iPadOS or in case the firmware is compromised.
More compatible iPads
Starting with iOS 14.5 beta 2, Apple supports a broader set of iPads to mute the built-in microphones when using smart cases such as the Smart Folio through software:
iPad (8th generation), iPad Air (4th generation), 11-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation), and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (4th generation) now mute the built-in microphone when your Smart Folio is closed.
A similar security feature was introduced on Mac devices in 2018. iOS 14 brought new privacy features for users, including a visual indicator in the status bar when a camera or microphone is in use or was recently used.
So far some known issues have been reported in the betas. The 11-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro cannot connect to external displays using the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.
Today’s betas may also have outward-facing changes that aren’t mentioned in the release notes, and if we find new features we’ll highlight them in a separate article.