For the security and privacy conscious out there, Apple has got a neat little feature to make you feel a little safer. Apple’s T2 security chip, yes the same one that’s received a lot of criticism for hindering users from repairing Apple devices on their own, has a hardware feature which disconnects the built-in mic on the new MacBook.
At its event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, Apple has said that the feature physically disconnects the mic when the user closes the lid. Apple further elaborates on this with their published security guide:
Hardware microphone disconnect
All Mac portables with the Apple T2 Security Chip feature a hardware
disconnect that ensures that the microphone is disabled whenever the lid
is closed. This disconnect is implemented in hardware alone, and therefore
prevents any software, even with root or kernel privileges in macOS, and even
the software on the T2 chip, from engaging the microphone when the lid is
closed. (The camera is not disconnected in hardware because its field of view
is completely obstructed with the lid closed.)
Disregarding the negative side-effects of the chip on right to repair, the T2 chip’s other security features such as the Secure Enclave which secures users’ sensitive data such as fingerprints, encryption keys, and secure boot features, make it a powerful privacy tool.
Keep in mind though, this hardware disconnect feature will not protect you from something like the FruitFly malware, which can activate your microphone and webcam, if the MacBook’s lid is open.
Source The Hacker News