Recent Apple MacBooks have begun including an aggressive security feature that disconnects hardware microphones when the lid is physically closed. This latest security feature is designed to prevent eavesdropping on compromised hardware.
These new security features have also been introduced with the recently released 2020 iPad Pro.
Apple begun using this security feature in the 2018 MacBook models that were equipped with Apple’s T2 security chip. The new security feature works by closing the iPad with a case, requiring users to have MFi compliant case.
The latest version of Apple’s Platform Security document reveals the new feature:
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’s document also highlights six other new security features:
- Data Vaults added to How Apple protects users’ personal information.
- Updates to Using Bootstrap Token, User setup, Organization setup, and Command-line tools.
- Malware Removal Tool additions in Protecting against malware.
- Updates to Shared iPad overview, Sign in to Shared iPad, and Sign out of Shared iPad.
- New Apple security and privacy certifications overview topic.
- Updates to Apple security and privacy certifications overview and Apple security assurance.
Information sourced from 9to5mac & Apple Inc.