How To Stop iPhone Apps From Listening
Concerns over privacy may come and go, but Apple always has your back. The iPhone, iPad and iPod touch have built-in features designed to protect your data. iOS offers several options to control which apps have access to the hardware on your device. Apps such as on conversations. Whether this is true or not, there’s an easy way to check which apps have permission to listen using the on-board microphone.
To prevent a specific app or apps from using the microphone, follow these steps.
Once the apps are switched off in the Microphone list, they must ask for permission to listen in the future. The list includes any iOS apps that have asked to use the microphone on your device.
iOS should retain these settings, however check back occasionally to verify the list of apps which have been granted permission to use the microphone. New apps will often ask permission to use the microphone when they are opened for the first time.
How To Deny An Apps Permission To Use Your Microphone
And youre set! Now the app wont be able to use or access the microphone at all. If you try to use the app again and you need to use the microphone, the app will tell you that it doesnt have permission to use it. Youll need to repeat the steps above so the app can use the microphone again.
Disabling The Ok Google Detection
Google Now is now literally on every phone that you see. Needless to say that the Google Assistant is also a big part of it and is waiting for you to say ‘Ok Google’ to activate itself.
However, disabling it from doing that is easier than you think.
Step 1: Go to Google Now and open Settings. You can also do it from your Google account settings. From the following screen, select Voice to proceed.
Step 2: Here, you’ll see a lot of voice-related options. Select Voice Match and move to the next screen.
Step 3: Here, you will see an option named Say “Ok Google” any time, and a toggle switch right next to it. Turn the switch off and your phone will now not be on a lookout for the magic words.
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Suggestions To Improve iPhone Security
Concerned about iPhone privacy? After you’ve worked through the steps in this article, you may want to check out these other ways to keep your iPhone safe, private, and secure, or at least to set your mind at ease about common security concerns. To learn more about iPhone privacy settings, you can also check out our free Tip of the Day.
Odd Sounds During Calls
In the days of analog cell phone networks, weird noises in the background and unstable connections were to be expected. However, todays all-digital cell networks usually provide connections that are stable and mostly noise-free.
So, if you are hearing weird noises in the background, or hear a voice that doesnt belong to the person you called, there is a possibility that someone is monitoring or recording your conversation.
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We Answer Your Questions About Eavesdropping Technology Password Panic And The Real
Our online privacy stories helped spark the idea for a Help Desk, where we can collect and answer questions from Washington Post readers about the technology in their lives.
This week, were looking at tracking, data collection and privacy, with readers wondering just how much companies know about their online and offline activities. Is anything really private while our phones, smart speakers and voice assistants are around? And is all the anxiety about online privacy really necessary?
We also want to hear your questions about ad targeting, digital privacy and corporate surveillance. Send them to us at . Until then, here are some answers to your most pressing privacy concerns.
Is my phone listening to me?Is my phone listening in on my conversations and recommending me ads based on what it hears? I was having a conversation with my sister about buying clothes and she recommended Etsy then moments after that conversation ended I was browsing Reddit and saw an Etsy ad out of the blue. Then I browsed Facebook and saw another Etsy ad. Is it pure coincidence?
CJ, New Haven, Conn.
This is one of the most frequent tech questions I hear from friends and family. Some news sites have claimed that companies use our phones to listen to our conversations and figure out what we might want to buy next. Other outlets have reported that isnt true, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied it under oath. Whats going on here?
Cleo, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Exercising Your Right To Privacy Is A Choice
While app providers are supposed to provide clear terms and conditions to users about how they collect, store and use data, nowadays its on users to be careful about which permissions they give to the apps and sites they use.
When in doubt, give permissions on an as-needed basis. It makes sense to give WhatsApp access to your camera and microphone, as it cant provide some of its services without this. But not all apps and services will ask for only what is necessary.
Perhaps you dont mind receiving targeted ads based on your data, and may find it appealing. Research has shown people with a more utilitarian worldview actually prefer recommendations from AI to those from humans.
That said, its possible AI recommendations can constrain peoples choices and minimise serendipity in the long term. By presenting consumers with algorithmically curated choices of what to watch, read and stream, companies may be implicitly keeping our tastes and lifestyle within a narrower frame.
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Your iPhone Is Spying On You
Apple CEO Tim Cook
So much for that “what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone” advertising campaign from Apple. I cannot help but note the irony that, in reality, apps are monitoring your every move and grabbing data to help with advertising campaigns. Not that this should come as any great surprise if you aren’t paying for an app then you are the product. However, the sheer number of apps involved, the number of trackers used per app and both the volume and frequency of the data collection is cause for concern.
What is going on?
When the Wall Street Journal investigated the world of iPhone privacy controls it discovered that, frankly, those controls are about as much use as a chocolate teapot. The WSJ reporters looked at some 80 iOS apps, all recommended in the App Store as being “Apps We Love.” What they found was all bar one were using third-party trackers to collect data about the user. Most were using more than one tracker, the average being four per app.
What data is being collected?
What can you do to stop the spying?
The nuclear option
Turn Of Facebook Microphone Access:
While it is clear that most voice assistants have specific wake words, like “Hey Siri,” “Okay Google,” and “Hey Cortana,” no such prompt exists for Facebook.
If you want to make sure to deny Facebook’s microphone access, all you have to do is disable mic access for this app.
On Android, open “Settings“> “Applications” > “” tap app “permissions“and disable the microphone.
On iOS devices, go to “Settings“> “”> and flip the microphone switch off.
*If you shut off your microphone access on your Facebook account, you will lose access to the mic for your any Live Video. You will need to enable the mic again if you want to record yourself.
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How To Find And Remove Spy Software On Your Smartphone
As mentioned above, there is no lack of spying apps available for smartphones. A few popular examples are:
All the spyware listed above can monitor and record text messages and phone conversations.
With these monitoring apps, a bad guy can take control of your mobile phones microphone and listen to everything that happens in your immediate surroundings or even record your phone calls.
Furthermore, the more advanced applications can even steal your passwords, use your camera to physically spy on you, or even lock your cell phone completely so you cant use it anymore.
So, is there a way to find out whether spyware is installed on your device? If so, how can you remove it? Heres how.
Turn Off Hey Siri Feature:
Even if you don’t realize Siri is listening, this voice-controlled function is on unless you have disabled it.
Now, while Apple claims that it does listen for “Hey Siri” at all times, but doesn’t start recording until after this command, it’s still hard to shake the feeling there is a phone listening to you all the time.
To make your phone stop listening, go to iOS device’s “Settings” > “General” > “Siri” and then turn the switch “Hey Siri” to “off.”
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Is Siri Always Listening To My Conversations
Everybody knows about Apples strong push for privacy. While other tech giants, such as Facebook and Google, have been mired in privacy scandals , Apple has been vocally opposed to any privacy violations and, in fact, supported its stance with a wide range of features across its products.
Starting Safari 13.1, for example, users have the option to Prevent cross-site tracking, which can be enabled in Preferences Privacy. Apple Pay introduced a completely new and safe way to shop without ever revealing your real credit card number. And iMessage is one of the very few messengers with end-to-end encryption enabled by default.
All this brings us to Apple Siri a voice assistant embedded in iPhones, Macs, Apple TVs, Apple Watches, HomePods, and more. While initially claiming that iPhone Siri is just as privacy-oriented as the rest of Apples ecosystem, some recent whistleblowing reports have shown otherwise. Now, you might wonder, Is my iPhone listening to me?
Eavesdropper At Your Service
Even though is safely hidden behind the “Ok Google” keyword, it’s anybody’s guess that it’s always aware and listening to your conversations to find out when you say the magic words so that it can get busy helping you.
Enough said, I personally feel that I’m a wee bit safer without my phone helping me with voice commands. If you also want to know how to stop Google from listening to you secretly, here are all the ways.
Tips To Strengthen Your Privacy On Smartphone
Smartphone users should follow these tips to strengthen voice data protection:
- Clear your History: Because Google knows a ton about you based on its audio recordings, it’s a good idea to erase your voice requests intermittently from your Google account.
- Audit your App Settings/App Permissions: The default settings for many of your social media platforms and other apps is that the microphone features are enabled. Go to your application manager and search your apps, disabling ones that don’t need your phone’s microphone.
- Start Using a VPN: This is a great way to ramp up your online privacy. A VPN encrypts your online traffic, helping keep your activity secure.
- Keep your Software up-to-date: While it never seems like a convenient time to install updates on your device, doing so will improve your privacy.
- Be Vigilant when Downloading a Virtual Assistant: Downloading virtual assistants from unverified sources can put your device at risk for malware. Only use a virtual assistant from an official source.
How To Turn Off Ok Google On Android
With thousands of Android phones in the market, the instructions to turn off “Ok Google” varies slightly across models. However, here are the steps you can follow to turn it off on stock Android models such as Google Pixel, Nokia, Moto, and so on.
Once you disable this feature, your Android phone will no longer respond to you when you say “Ok Google”.
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How To Stop Siri From Listening To You
While not every iPhone user will have Google installed, they will have Siri, Apple’s built-in Voice Assistant. If you want to stay on the safe side, you can easily disable the listening function for Hey Siri.
After disabling microphone access, you can no longer get help from Siri hands-free. However, you can still physically activate Siri using the buttons instead.
How To Turn Off Listen For Hey Siri
Here’s how to see if your iPhone is listening to you via Siri or apps, and how to turn these settings off to preserve your privacy.
It’s important to note that once you turn off this setting, you’ll no longer be able to activate Siri by saying “Hey Siri.” Instead, you’ll need to hold the side button for Siri if your iPhone doesn’t have a Home button, or hold the Home button if your iPhone model has one.
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Is This True That My iPhone Is Listening To Me
It wasn’t too long ago that the first virtual assistants became a reality ( first Siri, and then Alexa, Cortana a wave of assistants whose bodies we have never seen but whose voices we have all come to know very well.
In order for these virtual assistants to respond to your voice commands that you direct at your computer or phone, listening is key.
While it is a given that these assistantsfollow directions when you rouse them from their slumber with the magic words, in some cases, it has been shown that your one and only device may be recording audio even when not prompted, which is a serious breach of personal privacy, especially since our devices are with us in the most sensitive, private moments of our lives.
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If youve ever thought someone was secretly eavesdropping on you, youre right.
Smartphones and other devices can hear and record what you say, as proven by a now-viral TikTok that showed thousands of audio files recorded on a womans Echo and Dot speakers and saved in the innermost folders of her Amazon account.
Im not totally comfortable with everything they have, said the TikTok user, who accessed the files after requesting them from Amazon.
Smart speakers, like Google Home devices or Amazon Echos, can accidentally activate 19 times a day and record 43 seconds of audio with each activation, according to a new study released by Northeastern University.
This is because the devices attempt to detect wake words like Hey Siri or Alexa even when seemingly turned off or asleep. Those vocal cues are a component of what makes the technology handy-to-use, but like any technology, it isnt perfect.
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Change How Siri Responds
Go to Settings > Siri & Search, then do any of the following:
Change the voice for Siri: Tap Siri Voice, then choose a different variety or voice.
Change when Siri provides voice responses: Tap Siri Responses, then choose an option below Spoken Responses.
Always see the response from Siri onscreen: Tap Siri Responses, then turn on Always Show Siri Captions.
See your request onscreen: Tap Siri Responses, then turn on Always Show Speech.
How To Stop My iPhone From Listening To Me
Apple is known to be relatively privacy focused compared with other tech giants. Due to its business model, Apple relies less on personally identifiable information. Using in-device processing, Apple is known to significantly minimize the collection of customer data to function.
However, it’s always best to stay on the safe side, especially when it comes to technology that can be used to identify something as personal as your voice.
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Is It True That My Phone Is Listening To Me
In 2011, Apple introduced Siri, the first virtual assistant designed for iPhones. It paved the way for Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, and many others. They listen to your voice all the time and, after you trigger a special command, recognize you so you can make calls, send texts, ask questions, and control your device.
We can definitely say that your phone is listening to you. It has to always listen to you so it can hear your voice command and assist you. However, things are not that simple.
Apple randomly selects a small portion of users conversations with Siri to analyze them and see how they can improve the quality of their service. In 2019, a report revealed that Siri can sometimes be mistakenly activated and record private matters, such as people having sex, discussing business, and even talking with their doctors, all of which might later be passed on to contractors responsible for analyzing voice recordings. Apple apologized to its users and promised to improve its policies. But Siris case is not an exception, as Amazons Alexa and Google Assistant are using similar systems.