Apple's event today included brief details about the company's T2 security chip coming to the MacBook Air and Mac mini (it's already in the 2018 MacBook Pro), but a new security guide has shed light onto what exactly the chip does for user privacy (via TechCrunch). According to the guide, on MacBook Air and Pro the chip includes a hardware microphone disconnect feature that ensures the microphone is disabled when the lid is closed.

t2chipmacbookpro
This is accomplished through hardware so that the microphone becomes physically disabled from the rest of the MacBook hardware every time the lid is closed, preventing any software from engaging the microphone when the user shuts the MacBook. Apple points out that the camera is not disconnected in hardware, because its field of view is already completely obstructed when the MacBook lid is closed.

All Mac portables with the Apple T2 Security Chip feature a hardware disconnect that ensures that the microphone is disabled whenever the lid is closed. 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 camera is not disconnected in hardware because its field of view is completely obstructed with the lid closed.)

Apple says that the T2 chip gives Macs a solid foundation for encrypted storage, secure boot, and Touch ID, all based on dedicated security hardware and the Secure Enclave coprocessor included on the T2 chip. Combined with the security and convenience of Touch ID, Macs with the T2 chip provide "a level of privacy and security protections never before seen on Mac," according to Apple.

Besides its security features, the new 13-inch MacBook Air includes a Retina Display, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a headphone jack, 50 percent smaller display bezels, a reduced footprint, and more. Pre-orders for the device are live today, starting at $1,199.00, and the MacBook Air will officially launch on November 7.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Caution)
Related Forum: MacBook Air

Top Rated Comments

Ma2k5 Avatar
36 months ago
Brilliant.

This level of care and respect for its customers is why I love, and buy from, Apple
I hope that was sarcasm.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sdwaltz Avatar
36 months ago
Aside from the fact that the software is better, the security alone is worth the price premium you pay to buy Apple products.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arekm Avatar
36 months ago
Ehm, but what about when lid is open? T2 helps nothing if I understand correctly.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
guzhogi Avatar
36 months ago
According to the guide, on MacBook Air and Pro the chip includes a hardware microphone disconnect feature that ensures the microphone is disabled when the lid is closed.
I have a number of coworkers who use their laptops in clamshell mode, and connected to external monitors. What happens then? Will they have to get external microphones?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TrulsZK Avatar
36 months ago
“Once those [90 failed password] attempts are exhausted, the Secure Enclave will no longer process any requests to decrypt the volume or verify the password.”

Erm... so some idiot could spend 20 minutes deliberately entering the wrong password into your Mac and you permanently lose all your data? Not sure how I feel about this.
That means you must also protect your Mac physically
Same as the iPhone that deletes all data after 10 failed passcode attempts, due to the delay enforced after multiple passcode attempts it will take you 1 hour and 36 minutes to delete my iPhone

Also due to the delay enforced, like iOS it will take several hours to permanently delete my data, and yes I have multiple backups of everything

Attempts Delay Enforced

1–14 none

15–17 1 minute

18–20 5 minutes

21–26 15 minutes

27–30 1 hour
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BWhaler Avatar
36 months ago
Brilliant.

This level of care and respect for its customers is why I love, and buy from, Apple
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
Apple watch series 5 new case material made of titanium 091019

Titanium Apple Watch Series 6 Models Currently Widely Unavailable

Sunday August 1, 2021 6:21 am PDT by
Models of the Apple Watch Series 6 with titanium cases part of the "Apple Watch Edition" collection is currently widely unavailable for pick-up in several of Apple's retail stores in the United States and is unavailable entirely for delivery in major markets. Noted by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, titanium models of the Apple Watch Series 6,...
ifixit iphone12 mini

Apple to Make Space for Larger Batteries in iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks By Adopting Slimmer Peripheral Chips

Monday August 2, 2021 2:12 am PDT by
For future iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, Apple plans to use smaller internal components in an effort to increase the size of the device's battery, according to DigiTimes. Image Credit: iFixit Specifically, Apple plans to "significantly increase the adoption" of IPDs or integrated passive devices for the peripheral chips in its products. These news chips will be slimmer in size and allow for...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature

Unreleased Apple Macs and Apple Watches Listed in Eurasian Database Ahead of Fall Product Launches

Monday August 2, 2021 9:34 am PDT by
Apple is preparing for a slew of fall product launches according to new filings that showed up today in the Eurasian Economic Commission database. There are listings for new Mac and Apple Watch models, all of which have previously unknown model identifiers that indicate that they're upcoming devices. There are six new Apple Watch identifiers, including A2473, A2474, A2475, A2476, A2477, and...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...
youtube premium lite

YouTube Tests Cheaper 'Premium Lite' Subscription for Ad-Free Viewing

Monday August 2, 2021 3:22 am PDT by
YouTube is piloting a new cheaper subscription tier in Europe called "Premium Lite," which offers ad-free viewing minus YouTube Premium's other features. First spotted by a user on ResetEra and subsequently confirmed by Google, the "Lite" plan means users who aren't interested in offline downloads or background playback can still enjoy YouTube videos on web and mobile app without being...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
COVID19 Digital Wallet Apple Wallet

Australian Government Now Offering COVID-19 Digital Vaccination Certificates for Apple Wallet

Monday August 2, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
The Australian government has introduced support for adding COVID-19 vaccination digital certificates to Apple Wallet via the Express Plus Medicare app on iOS. Image credit: Tap Down Under As spotted by Tap Down Under, users who have received two doses of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine now have access to the digital certificate through their Medicare online account or via the Medica...