AirPods reportedly can be used to eavesdrop on private conversations

Is it the end for wired headphones? © Josh Edelson / AFP — AFP

When Apple released its Live Listen feature, it was meant to assist those with hearing impairments to hear better. Now, as some Reddit and Twitter users have shared, it is possibly being used to eavesdrop on private conversations. 

The Live Listen feature was released with iOS 12, and enables one’s iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to act as a microphone and transmit sound to the AirPods. 

“Live Listen can help you hear a conversation in a noisy area or even hear someone speaking across the room,” says Apple on its website.

The AirPods have to be switched on in order for the Live Listen feature to work. An ear symbol will appear on the connected Apple device, and users can adjust the sensitivity of the microphone to hear more or less sound. 

It reportedly works from a distance of 15m, even through walls. 

Now, it has been pointed out that unscrupulous folks can abuse this feature to listen in on other people's conversations.

As claimed by some Twitter and Reddit users, one could leave the connected Apple device in a room, walk out of the premise and still hear the on-going conversations in there – as long as they have turned on the Live Listen feature and wear their AirPods.

“If you have AirPods, you can press ‘Live Listen’ to ‘On’ and leave your phone in the room with someone and you can hear what they are saying, thank me later,” said one person on Twitter.

Another person wrote: “This ‘Live Listen’ button on iPhone with the AirPods combination is going to cause some problems …” Before AirPods were released, the Live Listen feature only worked with iPhone-compatible hearing aids.



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