You may have heard of some news about iPhone (and computer) that some software can eavesdrop on you by, using a software/malware. A recent example of that is this one: Facebook Doesn’t Listen To Everything You Say, But It Does Listen When You Do This

So I want to prevent anyone from doing that.

For camera, I think a very safe counter measure is to simply block the view of the camera (by a piece of tape, for example). (Note, by the way, that even the FBI Diretor suggested you to do that. See this article: FBI Director: Cover up your webcam)

Now how about the microphone? Perhaps one counter measure is to blocking the internal mic also by a tape. But I am also thinking whether I should do the following instead? Plug in a dummy plug into the headset/mic jack (the plug has four rings and does not really connect to a real headset/mic electrically). Would this disable the internal mic by hardware? I think this method may be better because I am not sure a paper tape can block the audio completely for the internal mic. Do you agree with this assertion?

Any suggestion? Thanks!

The answer may be same or different for iPhones and computers (and other smartphones). But let's assume for now my main concern for now is iPhone.

Note: I have read this post but I still don't know the answer. My question is what if the dummy plug has four rings but those rings are not electrically connected to a microphone.


Is your iPhone jailbroken? If not, I am not aware of a single instance where an iPhone that is not jailbroken has been compromised in terms of its camera or microphone.

The article you link to is about a laptop webcam, and this is a known risk and there are many examples of people's laptops being compromised (especially Windows models).

Assuming your iPhone is not jailbroken, then any apps that are designed to use your microphone need to request access to the microphone. If you do not give permission, then iOS does not allow them to use the microphone. You can also check these settings manually at any time by going to Settings > Privacy > Microphone.

In terms of what you're actually trying to do, this will not work without some sort of software modification. The reason is that the internal microphone is available unless you have attached a microphone (or headphones that also incorporate a microphone). If what you connect to the headphone socket does not contain a microphone, then the internal microphone is still available.

  • No my phone is not jailbroken. But even news like this one (ktla.com/2016/06/06/facebook-eavesdropping) makes me uncomfortable. For my laptop cam, I simply cover it when I am not using it. I want a similar simple equivalent for the internal mic. For example, I do use microphone with facebook (with Messenger), but when I am not using the microphone, I don't want to give anyone (even facebook) any chance to eavesdrop on me -- especially when I know facebook are already doing listening on the mic! (see the link above).
    – leeyuiwah
    Jan 14 '17 at 23:09
  • So why wouldn't you just manually go into Settings > Privacy > Microphone and disable it for any apps that can use it while you don't want to use it? And then re-enable it when you're happy to use it? The only other option is to try and muffle the sound with tape or something like blu-tack - but since iOS provides a sure-fire way to do what you want, why not take advantage of that?
    – Monomeeth
    Jan 15 '17 at 2:32
  • I grant more than one apps the right to use my mic, but I don't mean to grant them the right to do so 24x7. I want one switch to turn off all apps -- just like one tape to block all apps from using the camera on my laptop.
    – leeyuiwah
    Jan 15 '17 at 2:36
  • Apps can't use the Microphone 24x7 (unless you have the apps running 24x7). Regardless, there's no single kill switch as such. Not even enabling restrictions will do the trick if you want to be able to switch the Microphone on/off at will. Personally, I think iOS offers enough functionality for users to grant/deny permissions to begin with, and for users to manually enable/disable at will, especially since 3rd party apps cannot access the Microphone unless they're running. Otherwise the only option I'm aware of is using tape or blu-tack or something to muffle the sound.
    – Monomeeth
    Jan 15 '17 at 3:11
  • Using a tape to shut off the camera (and may be the mic too) is a good enough solution for me. (I just am not sure if the audio can be blocked off as effectively as video (which needs line of sight so is easy to block)). But I think all computer manufacturers should be aware of the huge privacy problem and offer a better hardware solution (just a simple sliding door on the camera and a simple switch on the mic!)
    – leeyuiwah
    Jan 15 '17 at 3:15

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