Feature only available for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models released in 2018.
Apple revealed today that all new notebooks that come with a built-in T2 security chip will now disconnect the built-in microphone at the hardware level when users close their devices’ lids. This new security enhancement is meant to prevent malware from secretly recording users.
I like this use of the T2 chip. If we can just get a hardware camera disconnect option and the ability to trigger both regardless of lid state and beyond some laptops, that would be delightful.
Apple seems to miss the point, though:
While Apple hasn’t explicitly spelled it out in the October version of the T2 chip white paper, the new feature was likely added to prevent malware or intrusive apps from secretly recording users when they close their lids, and when users normally believe the device and OS are in a suspended state.
Once the lid is open, the idea is that users will either rely on an antivirus capable of detecting running malware or apps like OverSight that alert the user when a Mac process –legitimate or not– tries to access a device’s microphone or camera.
Apple also said it didn’t configure the T2 chip to disconnect the camera at the hardware level similar to the microphone because it was pointless as the camera’s field of view is obstructed anyway when the user closes the lid.