Recent Apple MacBooks have included an aggressive security feature that disconnects hardware microphones when the lid is physically closed. The feature is designed to prevent eavesdropping on compromised hardware.
Starting with the recently introduced 2020 iPad Pro, Apple is bringing the same privacy feature to iPads.
Apple started using this security measure in 2018 with MacBook models equipped with Apple’s T2 security chip. The new security feature, which works by closing the iPad with a case, requires using an MFi compliant accessory with the 2020 model iPad Pro.
The latest version of Apple’s Platform Security document reveals the new feature:
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.
Apple’s document also highlights six other new security measures in place:
- Data Vaults added to How Apple protects users’ personal information.
- Updates to Using Bootstrap Token, User setup, Organization setup, and Command-line tools.
- Malware Removal Tool additions in Protecting against malware.
- Updates to Shared iPad overview, Sign in to Shared iPad, and Sign out of Shared iPad.
- New Apple security and privacy certifications overview topic.
- Updates to Apple security and privacy certifications overview and Apple security assurance.
Check out 9to5Mac’s video review of the new 2020 iPad Pro for more details about what’s new.
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