In addition to listening to music, AirPods can perform another function – listening to people’s conversations from a distance. Yes, just like in spy movies! While the feature is not new, many Apple headphone owners are unaware of its existence. Another question is, did Apple specifically turn AirPods into a bugging device? Yes. But not at all so that you and I play James Bond. AirPods allow an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to operate in microphone mode, but this was not originally intended for eavesdropping.
Eavesdropping is not good, but this function has other uses.
In iOS, Apple has provided a Live Listen feature. With it, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch can operate in microphone mode, which transmits a signal to your AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or Powerbeats Pro. But it was only done for hard of hearing people hear the interlocutor in a noisy environment or speaking at the other end of the room. It was assumed that the person would put the iPhone closer to the interlocutor, and he would listen to it through AirPods.
In practice, this function is often used to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. Of course, we do not recommend doing this, but if you need to use the “Live-listening” function, below, you will find instructions on how to enable it.
How to eavesdrop with AirPods
First you need to turn on the “Live-listening” function.
- Open “Settings” – “Control Center”.
- Scroll down and click the Add button next to the Rumor button.
- Click Back to save your changes.
Use your iPhone or another iOS device as a microphone, open Control Center and tap on the ear icon you just added.
It is noteworthy that you can leave the phone even in another room, lock its screen, and no one will understand that it works in microphone mode. The main thing is that the iPhone is within the range of the AirPods’ Bluetooth signal.
It’s worth noting that AirPods are not designed for you to use to listen in on other people’s conversations. Moreover, illegal wiretapping is punishable by law. Therefore, you act at your own peril and risk. For example, you can leave your smartphone near the TV, go to another room, and listen to your favourite program with headphones. This use of the function is still permissible.
Live listening can work even when playing other audio tracks. In this case, the sound will switch from stereo to mono for live listening. Besides, AirPods will not respond to control gestures in this state, and all playback and volume manipulations will need to be done on the head unit.
Apple is known for caring for people with disabilities, so iOS has a whole Accessibility section to make it easier for them to use their iPhone and iPad. At the same time, users began to use many of the functions from this menu in other situations for a long time: for example, if the lock button stopped working on the iPhone, its icon was displayed directly on the screen using “Universal Access”.
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