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.

ipadpromagickeyboard
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.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

Top Rated Comments

MakeAppleAwesomeAgain Avatar
11 months ago


What if I want Siri to work?

Doesn't matter if the cover is closed or not, it's still unworkable and incredibly stupid after 8 years.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BigMovieGeek Avatar
11 months ago


I appreciate this kind of thing, Apple.

This also seems to give validity to camera covers.


An optional setting would be good. But if not, only options would be to use Hey Siri on another device if you have one, and to leave your ipad uncovered during the lecture.

The thing I love about the Mac is that the camera and green light are linked together through hardware. If the camera is switched on, that light will show. Because of that, I’ve never worried about a cover on my laptop.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Falhófnir Avatar
11 months ago
Good, ultimately nothing software based is 100% secure, this at least will be.


Siri works really well for me and I would like it to work even if I have a keyboard case with the cover closed. I hope they have a setting for that.

And this isn’t just about Siri. What if I’m recording a voice memo or something similar. I used to do that a lot with the Smart cover on my iPad 2 to record lectures at the university.

If it's a hardware deactivation of the mic, there's definitely no software path around it, that's the whole point!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Deimos-7 Avatar
11 months ago
When The camera is activated, the electricity used to power the camera also powers the led for the indicator light. It simply added in series electrically, so it can’t be bypassed with a software hack. If the light is on, the camera is receiving electricity, if it’s off, so is the camera.
It’s a really nice attention to detail by Apple.


Is that true! I didn’t know that :)

Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
subjonas Avatar
11 months ago
I appreciate this kind of thing, Apple.

This also seems to give validity to camera covers.


Siri works really well for me and I would like it to work even if I have a keyboard case with the cover closed. I hope they have a setting for that.

And this isn’t just about Siri. What if I’m recording a voice memo or something similar. I used to do that a lot with the Smart cover on my iPad 2 to record lectures at the university.

An optional setting would be good. But if not, only options would be to use Hey Siri on another device if you have one, and to leave your ipad uncovered during the lecture.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kabeyun Avatar
11 months ago
Yet more Apple privacy goodness. This is where Apple shines. I will never go Android because I will never trust it. And yes, you can thank Tim Cook for doubling down on privacy as the defining tech issue of our time.


What if I want Siri to work?


Doesn't matter if the cover is closed or not, it's still unworkable and incredibly stupid after 8 years.

True, Siri is a pain in the ass. But I’ll tolerate that pain in exchange for a trustworthy container for my personal data. That’s a far bigger consideration that Siri’s feebleness.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

lg wing

LG Considering Exit From Smartphone Business, Halts LCD Production for iPhone

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:38 am PST by
LG is considering exiting the smartphone business entirely amid declining shipments and accrued losses of $4.5 billion over the past five years (via The Korea Herald). LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok cautioned staff earlier today that the company is re-evaluating its presence in the smartphone industry: Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about...
2019 mac pro side and front

Tim Cook Gifted Donald Trump 'First' 2019 Mac Pro

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:45 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted former United States President Donald Trump with the first 2019 Mac Pro that came off of the assembly line in Austin, Texas, according to a financial disclosure report that was released today (via The Verge). "Mac Pro Computer, the first created at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas," reads the entry, which values the machine at $5,999, the base price for a Mac Pro....
Apple VR Feature

Bloomberg: Apple's First AR/VR Headset 'Pricey, Niche Precursor' to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

Thursday January 21, 2021 3:27 am PST by
Apple's first virtual reality headset will be a "pricey, niche precursor" to a more ambitious augmented reality product, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view...
Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
iOS 15 icon mock banner

iOS 15 Rumored to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and 2016 iPhone SE

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:58 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iOS 15 operating system, which we expect to see unveiled in June, is rumored to be dropping support for a few of Apple's older iPhones. According to French site iPhoneSoft, iOS 15 will not be able to be installed on the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus, or the 2016 iPhone SE, all of which have an A9 chip. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were introduced in 2015 and are now more...
iphone 12 vs iphone 12 mini

Apple Shifting Some Production From iPhone 12 mini to iPhone 12 Pro to Meet Demand

Wednesday January 20, 2021 8:12 am PST by
Apple has reportedly cut production of the iPhone 12 mini by two million units to create more manufacturing capacity for the iPhone 12 Pro, according to a new Morgan Stanley investment note seen by PED30. Apple is believed to have made the switch for the first quarter of 2021 in an effort to combat continuing lead times for the more popular iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 12 Pro lead times remain ...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...
maxresdefault

Video Demos macOS Catalina Running on iPad Pro via x86 Emulation

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:36 am PST by
A video demonstrating macOS Catalina running on a current 2020 iPad Pro has been shared on YouTube, giving us a look at an interesting hack that has a Mac OS up and working on one of Apple's iPads. There's limited information about how the process of getting macOS Catalina on an iPad Pro works, but it uses x86 emulation and was done through the UTM software that allows virtual machines to...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 Release Candidate to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Thursday January 21, 2021 10:14 am PST by
Apple today seeded the RC version of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a week after Apple released the second betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
iPhone OIS Feature2

Sensor-Shift Camera Stabilization Rumored to Expand to Entire iPhone 13 Lineup

Wednesday January 20, 2021 7:46 am PST by
The entire iPhone 13 lineup will feature sensor-shift optical image stabilization, compared to only the iPhone 12 Pro Max among current models, according to a brief story preview shared today by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. "Apple's next-generation iPhones slated for launch in the second half of 2021 will all come with sensor-shift stabilization technology, according to industry...