Monday, October 21, 2013

Why iPhone Apps Request Access to Use Microphone in iOS 7

apps want microphone access
Adobe AIR would like access to your iPhone microphone

In the new iOS 7, Apple added a permission request for apps that want to use the microphone.

Why do apps need to use the microphone?
Why do apps want to use the microphone?
Why do apps need to access my iPhone microphone?
Why do apps invade on my privacy by accessing the microphone?

Those are excellent questions.

Some Apple iPhone Apps That Request to Use the Microphone:

  1. Adobe AIR
  2. Google Maps
  3. Waze
  4. Blitz Brigade 
  5. Shazam
  6. Skype
  7. Snapchat
  8. YouTube
  9. Discovery
  10. Songpop
  11. Square (credit card reader)

Is There a Logical Reason for Requesting Microphone Access?

Some Apple apps would seem more logical to need microphone access than others. If you need sound input in order to execute commands, it would seem logical. For other apps that have no sound input built into the functionality, granting access to the iPhone microphone seems rather invasive to one's privacy.

If the app does not deal with sound input for executing a command within the app, there is a possibility that it requests microphone access because the developer was leaving the microphone access open on purpose for future functionality. If that isn't the case, it could be asking because the developer did not turn off this feature in error, or lastly, because an app really wants to collect sound data from you.

One app developer, Color (in a 2011 article), stated that it used the microphone to find out when several poeple were in a room to gather "social" data. 

Are you okay with that?

Apple iOS 7 now asks your permission before granting apps access to your microphone. Thank you iOS 7, for respecting our privacy.

How to Manually Disable iPhone Apps From Using Your Microphone

Go to Settings -> Privacy -> Microphone. In this settings screen, you can go through each app and turn off the microphone access to any app that should not need to access your iPhone microphone.

Paranoid People Beware

If you are a paranoid person, then the only way to be sure that your iPhone (or smartphone) isn't spying on you is to turn it off completely when you are not using it. This may seem a little extreme, but it is really the only way you can be guaranteed that your privacy is respected.

Read more about the iPhone in the following blog post:

This accessory may not be supported
iPhone error message: This accessory may not be supported.

1 comment:

Amir Drljevic said...

wow, good post Zack, thanks. Luckily I dont use iPhone :)

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