Warning: iPhones Are Being Turned Into Listening Devices

By Dave Basner

November 10, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

Just when you think you knew everything your iPhone can do, along comes another hidden function or secret hack that blows your mind. There have been stories about the scanner you didn't know your phone has, the fun way to spice up texts, how to take a screenshot without hitting a button, how to hide your personal photos and how to get a screenshot of an entire page. There are also some creepier sides to your device, like how it keeps a list of every place you've been. Now there comes news of another way your iPhone can be a bit too invasive - it turns out that it can secretly listen to conversations up to 50 feet away.

It's all thanks to a feature called Live Listen. According to Apple, "With Live Listen, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch can act like a microphone that sends sound to your AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, Powerbeats Pro, or Beats Fit Pro. Live Listen can help you hear a conversation in a noisy area or even hear someone speaking across the room." Clearly the feature is meant to help those who have trouble hearing in noisy areas, but it can also be used to eavesdrop.

The app is easily accessible by going into Settings then Control Center and clicking the plus sign next to the app called "Hearing." Then, by bringing up the Control Center and activating the feature, a person just needs to plug in their AirPods or other wireless headphones and can listen away.

While it might be fun to hear others gossiping about you, it is scary to know that an innocent iPhone sitting on a table could actually be picking up private conversations. Something to keep in mind the next time you're telling secrets in a public space.

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