This secret Airpods’ feature helps eavesdropping

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Are you a part of the Apple ecosystem? Have Airpods? You probably didn’t know about the “live listen” feature. It’s a neat little feature tucked away in the settings that you can use for all sorts of different things. So far, we’ve only tried with Apple’s own Airpods, and it has only worked on iOS.

With “live listen”, your phone and your wireless Airpods kind of become communication devices or Walkie Talkies. If you leave your phone in one room with the Airpods connected via Bluetooth, you can then hear whatever’s going on in that room through your Airpods.

How it Works

How it works is that with “live listen”, your phone is actively using its microphone in order to listen to its surroundings. Whatever the phone’s microphone picks up is sent via Bluetooth to your Airpods. So, as Arnold suggests, if you want to listen in on a conversation, leave your phone in the room and let live listen do the rest.

The feature itself isn’t something that’s new, it’s just that it was used in a limited capacity before. The feature has, in fact, been around for over four years as it was used in certain hearing aids. However, it recently made its way to iPhones with the new iOS 12 update.

The main purpose of the feature is to help people with hearing issues. For example, if you have trouble picking up what people are saying in a noisy area, the live listen feature is the perfect solution. However, many users quickly picked up upon the spying capabilities of this feature. As mentioned above, you can easily use Live Listen to eavesdrop on people, for whatever reason.

How to Turn Live Listen on

Despite introducing the feature for the benefit of its users, a lot of people may completely miss the live listen feature. The setting is tucked away nicely in the control center, a lot of people wouldn’t even notice. In order to turn “live listen” on, first head to settings, then click “Control Center”

Once you’re in Control Center, click on “Hearing”

Once you’re in “hearing”, you’ll be able to turn on live listen. Of course, this only works if you have Airpods. If you don’t have them connected, you might get a message like the one we got (see screenshot).

That’s it! That’s all you need to do in order to turn on the live listen feature. Of course, it’d be a fun idea to listen in on friends as a harmless prank, but to those thinking it could be a huge breach of privacy, I wouldn’t worry too much.

At best, the live listen feature could be used as a prank as you do need your iPhone present in the room you’re going to listen in on. You wouldn’t leave your expensive iPhone XS with a room of strangers with the intent to spy on them. Therefore, relax and use the live listen feature for what it is. If you have hearing issues, then the live listen feature will surely come in handy.

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