2020 iPad Pro Includes Microphone Hardware Disconnect Security Feature
Apple has added an anti-eavesdropping feature to the 2020 iPad Pro that ensures the microphone hardware is disabled when a case is attached to the iPad and closed.
The security feature was first introduced in 2018 in MacBook models using Apple's T2 security chip, which includes a hardware microphone disconnect feature that disables the mics when the notebook's lid is closed.
As spotted by 9to5Mac, an updated version of Apple's Platform Security document makes clear that the anti-eavesdropping is also available on all 2020 iPad Pro models when using an MFi-compliant case.
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.
Apple updated the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models last month with a faster A12Z Bionic chip, a new 10MP Ultra Wide camera to complement the traditional 12MP camera, and a LiDAR depth scanner for improved augmented reality experiences.
For some 2018 iPad Pro owners at least, these updates are relatively modest, but the new security features outlined in Apple's documentation may be enough to tempt more privacy-conscious users.
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