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The apps Google Maps and Waze request access to the microphone.

Enable microphone access to play audio on bluetooth devices and more.

The explanation doesn't make sense to me. What does "play audio on bluetooth devices" have to do with the microphone? And what does "more" include?

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It's a new permission that Apple added with iOS 7 to let you know which apps need to access the microphone.

Now, for those apps that do not relate to the microphone, my guess would be one of 2 things:

  • Developers of such apps did not update their apps to iOS 7, so the OS needs to ask for your permission on accessing the microphone, or
  • Developers did update their apps to iOS 7, but they did not address this API in their code yet.

Either way, we should see less of these pop up messages as iOS 7 becomes more mainstream and developers get the time to update their apps fully.

In my experience, not a single app "broke" for denying it access to the microphone, so it should be fine to hit "Don't Allow".

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    I wonder if the API change is why Square doesn't need to prompt me to allow microphone access but PayPal's Here app does. Both use hardware plugged into the headphone jack to read magnetic card stripes for credit card processing.
    – bmike
    Sep 25, 2013 at 2:37
  • Google maps did not work after I refused access
    – user58068
    Sep 25, 2013 at 11:56
  • @Chris Well, Google Maps do indeed need the permission for voice input. My advise above is for apps that are not related to the microphone but prompting users for permission anyway.
    – Melwan
    Sep 26, 2013 at 17:51
  • @Melwan does that include Square and/or PayPal Here? I'm guessing not. In other words @ anyone: Does denying Square and/or PayPal Here access to the microphone make them not work? I'm guessing so. Sep 11, 2014 at 2:21
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Either the bluetooth audio profile itself is incapable of allowing sound out with also enabling sound in or Apple programmed things to be linked together.

I can't imagine what waze is doing with microphone entitlements, but you could always ask them on their support forum. Google's notification makes sense to me and I bet you would find that google maps audible direction works just fine even if you deny microphone access.

I have heard of devices and apps using sound to locate nearby phones and do proximity location within buildings and malls. I bet Google is working on that even if the app you have isn't making use of that yet.

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    Waze and Google Maps both allow voice searching.
    – colinm
    Sep 20, 2013 at 18:48
  • @colinm Thanks for that crucial fact. Feel free to edit my answer to make it more correct / better if you like. The edit button is ^^
    – bmike
    Sep 20, 2013 at 20:11
  • @colinm Not my versions of both apps. (It appears Waze has it for US/Canada, and Google Maps has it on Chrome.) However, if this is why the apps ask for access, then why the strange explanation (which also looks applicable, since they are both navigation apps)?
    – Řídící
    Sep 21, 2013 at 6:27

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