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I'm new to Discord and am running the Discord desktop app on my Mac.

Today I noticed that at the bottom of the screen, to the right of my user name and photo (in the same box), there was a small microphone symbol displayed, and to the right of that a headphones symbol and a settings symbol (see following image). I was connected to a discord server.

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If I click the mic symbol it turns red and shows me it's muted:

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Does that mean the mic has been on the whole time? Is it picking up sounds all the time the program is running? That seems like a pretty big privacy problem. Are they going to the Discord server I'm connected to?

Is there anyway to disable that permanently, that is, in settings, so I don't have to 'mute' the mic all the time? Perhaps on the Macintosh level? I'm used to the settings on the iPhone, where I need to give permission to each app to use various elements, like the microphone.

One important note, the above is without reference to being in an "audio chat room". If I'm connected to one of those there are additional symbols and it seems my mic is indeed live, and to mute it I have to take special action:

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But if I'm not connected to these chat rooms, but my mic symbol still indicates it's not muted, is there any audio signal going through to the servers? Again, is there any way to turn that off permanently?

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    The microphone is only on when you are in a voice channel. Otherwise, it's not doing anything. Follow the directions below to turn off the microphone at the OS level. Discord might alert you to turn it back on.
    – ErniePC12
    Commented Jan 8 at 12:23
  • Thanks. Just did what @nohillside suggested and revoked permissions. So if it's on, but I'm not in a voice channel, the input audio just goes "nowhere"? That is, it's superfluous?
    – Cerulean
    Commented Jan 8 at 23:11
  • The controls differ based on how current or out of date your operating system is. Are you on macOS Sonoma?
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 9 at 0:25
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    In the situation you describe, i.e. you are not actively in a voice channel, your microphone input is not being accessed or read at all by Discord. You can confirm this by looking at indicators in your Control Center: while you are in a voice channel, you will see a microphone indicator for Discord. When you are not connected to a voice channel, there will be no indicators. See this support article for details on the Control Center.
    – Schism
    Commented Jan 9 at 0:52
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    I have always thought that the purpose of showing the mute button even when you're not in a voice channel is so that you can control what happen when you join one. When it's muted, you join muted, when it's not you join unmuted. So kinda can see it as a setting of some sort, that is repurposed into an actual mute/unmute button when you're in a channel (which makes sense to do that repurposing).
    – justhalf
    Commented Jan 9 at 8:30

1 Answer 1

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You can revoke Microphone access for Discord in System Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Microphone.

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