How AirPods can secretly listen to you

AirPods have made listening to music and calling friends and family easier than ever thanks to their Bluetooth capabilities.

But did you know there’s a feature that allows your AirPods to turn your Apple products into a remote microphone?

The setting called “Live Listen” is available in iPhone and iPad settings for anyone with iOS 14.3 or later, and it works with both AirPods and Beats.

Apple advertises the “Live Listen” feature to help you hear a conversation if you’re in a noisy setting, or listen to someone from across the room. While the feature could be helpful if you need help listening, this could also be a creepy tool that lets others spy on you.

Setting up “Live Listen” is as simple as following a few steps:

  1. First you need to add Live Listen to your Control Center
  2. Go to Settings and tap Control Center
  3. Scroll down and tap the Add button (+ sign) next to the Hearing button
  4. Tap Settings to save the changes

To use Live Listen:

  1. Open Control Center on your iPhone, iPad touch, or iPad
  2. Tap the Hearing button
  3. Tap Live Listen
  4. Device placed in front of someone talking will now pick up the conversation and volume can even be controlled


How to make sure Live Listen isn’t being used to spy on you

While the feature was created for the hearing impaired, it’s a dangerous tool that allows for eavesdropping.

1) Be aware of any iPhone or iPad that’s been left around you in a public (or even private) setting.

If you’re sitting at a coffee shop and see that someone’s iPhone is on a table close by, it may not have been been left there accidentally. The phone might be paired to someone’s AirPods so they can eavesdrop on your conversation while they’re not even sitting next to you. The phone may also have a recording device set up, so be sure to move away from it or return it to an employee.


2. Check the settings on your kids phones or tablets

Your child may have picked up this tip on an app like TikTok, and could potentially use this feature while at school or even in your own home. Similarly, this tool could be used by spying spouses or family members and while you probably can’t check their settings – you could always ask if they have Live Listen set up.

3. Don’t share any personal information while in public near someone wearing AirPod pros

The AirPod Pros are known for their noise cancellation, but they also have an extra setting called “Transparency Mode.

Transparency Mode lets outside sound in, which allows you to hear what’s going on around you better through your AirPods.

If someone nearby you is wearing AirPod Pros, they might be able to pick up your entire conversation more clearly than if they were just sitting a few feet away.


Do you think the Live Listen feature’s pros outweigh the scary possibilities of spying? Comment below.




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1 comment

Donna Adams January 9, 2022 - 5:53 am
It is a delicate balance of live mode because I just got a hearing aide and could need this feature. There seems to always be bad apples around to ruin everything meant for good 😡

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