Apple has brought one of the MacBook’s quietly best security features to the new 2020 iPad Pro models. According to reports, the 11in and 12.9in iPads will cut off all access to the microphone when it detects the iPad has been closed with a MFi (Made for iPad) certified case.
The same thing happens when 2018 and later MacBooks’ lids are closed. The feature is made possible by the use of Apple’s T2 security chip and should give peace of mind to users who worry about third-party app access to hardware components like microphones.
Because the T2 chip isn’t in older iPads, it doesn’t appear that the feature can be brought to older models in a software update.
9to5Mac found confirmation of the change in Apple’s latest Platform Security document:
“iPad models beginning in 2020 also feature the hardware microphone disconnect. When an MFI compliant case (including those sold by Apple) is attached to the iPad and closed, the microphone is disconnected in hardware, preventing microphone audio data being made available to any software—even with root or kernel privileges in iPadOS or in case the firmware is compromised.”
The wording of the entry implies that other, lower cost iPads released later in the year will include the feature, though this is unconfirmed.