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“Live Listen” on AirPods can be used to spy around your iPhone

By Jules Wang January 14, 2019, 7:00 pm

You’ve always been able to use your iPhone as a recording device to log down voice memos with unwitting subjects — the legality of that recording varies from territory to territory, but for legal codes that permit one-party consent, it’s a thing.

But an iOS 12 feature called “Live Listen,” which works with AirPods, has been brought to the public’s attention.

Users can listen to the mic input from their Bluetooth-linked iPhone right from their AirPods. The feature is accessible in the Control Center settings under the “Hearing” submenu. Apple may have intended for this to be more of a software-enabled hearing aid, but, obviously, there are other purposes you could conceive for this feature.

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While you may not necessarily be recording communications, this feature may still subject you to any wiretapping laws in your jurisdiction. It may be best practice to notify those around you that you will be using Live Listen before using it.

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