iPadOS 14.5 Beta 2 Mutes Built-In Microphone on iPad When Smart Folio is Closed

According to Apple's release notes for the second betas of iOS and iPadOS 14.5 that were released this morning, the update introduces a new privacy feature that's aimed at limiting microphone access on the iPad with a Smart Folio.

Apple new iPad Pro apple pencil and smart keyboard folio 03182020
On the ‌iPad‌ (8th generation), iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation), and ‌iPad Pro‌ 12.9-inch (4th generation), when the Smart Folio is closed, the built-in microphone will mute, but developers have an option to build their apps to opt out.

iPad (8th generation), iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation), and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation) now mute the built-in microphone when its Smart Folio is closed. To avoid unnecessarily recording the muted signal, the default behavior is to interrupt an audio session that is using the built-in microphone when the Smart Folio is closed. You can opt out of the interruption using the new AVAudioSession.CategoryOptions overrideMutedMicrophoneInterruption, allowing the audio session to continue playing uninterrupted while microphone input is muted. For more information, see Responding to Audio Session Interruptions.

The release notes suggest that several bugs that were in the prior beta have also been addressed. Siri can share ETAs again in CarPlay, and vehicles can start ‌CarPlay‌ if the iPhone is set to share contacts. Locations from Maps can be shared to Notes and Reminders, plus there are several other smaller fixes and tweaks.

There are also a few known issues in the betas. The 11-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ and the 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ are unable to connect to external displays using the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.

Today's betas may also have outward-facing changes that are not mentioned in the release notes, and if we find new features, we'll highlight them in a separate article.

Related Forum: iOS 14

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Top Rated Comments

fyun89 Avatar
43 months ago
I thought it was always off... unless you gave permission for specified app that is running.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iDento Avatar
43 months ago
And that’s how you really care about users privacy.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GMacR Avatar
43 months ago
Wow, so ALL THIS TIME the iPad has been listening.....
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thejadedmonkey Avatar
43 months ago
Why would the mic still be listening if the folio is closed? Isn't that the equivalent of the iPad screen being off?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chris Grande Avatar
43 months ago

Why would you build your app to opt out!? That’s so creepy!
You can opt-out of the interruption, not the muting. You will just end up with an empty recording.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
code-m Avatar
43 months ago

Apple’s dedication of removing ports and buttons will forever prevent this from becoming a reality.
Have physical tactile button to perform certain functions is always preferred by an end-user. It reminds me of the 2016 MBP removal of the physical ESC button in preference of the TouchBar. We have a physical button to power up/down and reset with a combination button press. We have physical volume up/down and mute switch. That is three physical buttons and a switch, this does not seem excess to me, maybe a hardware button combination press to mute the mic’s similar to pressing the power button with volume up for a screenshot, maybe customize the option combination.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)