On iOS 7, privacy settings get a fresh coat of paint with additional options to control what is accessible to apps. As is the default, Privacy settings lets you control access to Location Services, Contacts, Calendars, Photos, Reminders and even Bluetooth.
Also Read: How to Find and Stop Apps from Accessing your iPhone Microphone [iOS 8 and Later]
But this time around, Apple has added one more option: Microphone. Apps can use the iPhone/iPad's microphone and you can control which apps have access to it. Here's more.
Apps using the microphone aren't new to iOS. Apple did not have any restrictions or privacy controls for apps using the microphone till iOS 6. In iOS 7, you get to control which apps have access to the microphone. This is largely a subtle privacy security feature.
To view what apps have access to the microphone:
- Open Settings
- Tap on Privacy
- Tap on Microphone
This list you see is the list of apps that can use the microphone or have features that need to use the microphone. You'll notice that the apps have switches. You can toggle these to control access to the microphone for each app.
Services like Google Now, third-party recording apps, dictation apps and even third-party personal assistants (that work like Siri) need access to the microphone. But you can control this access by toggling the switch On/Off for specific apps.
In a majority of the cases, you'll mostly want to have these switches turned ON for most apps that “need to” use the microphone for full functionality. This includes dictation apps where the basic idea is the record the voice.
But if you find an app that has microphone access but you don't use the microphone feature while using that app, you can turn off the switch just to be safe.
As such, there's nothing big in terms of security because apps are screened thoroughly before they end up on the App Store. Still, Apple wants to take no risk and wants to offer you an option to disable the access to your iPhone/iPad's microphone.