Why do apps need microphone access?

snerkler

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 14, 2012
926
26
Barring something like voice memo (which isn't there anymore) why would an app want access to the microphone? I've had several apps ask me for permission (can't remember which off the top of my head), but some seemed a bit odd. Just curious.
 

virginblue4

macrumors 68000
Apr 15, 2012
1,922
455
United Kingdom
Barring something like voice memo (which isn't there anymore) why would an app want access to the microphone? I've had several apps ask me for permission (can't remember which off the top of my head), but some seemed a bit odd. Just curious.
Depends on the app. 'Heads Up' is a game that records your friends as you play, so obviously needs to have access to the microphone.
 

acosmichippo

macrumors regular
May 7, 2008
165
2
My guess is it's just an inconsistency with apps that aren't updated for iOS7. Who knows, maybe it's related to the absence of voice memos.
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,200
1,050
Barring something like voice memo (which isn't there anymore) why would an app want access to the microphone? I've had several apps ask me for permission (can't remember which off the top of my head), but some seemed a bit odd. Just curious.
I had one that turned Airplay into an intercom to a AirportExpress/TV.

Also Talkatone for Google Voice/Skype.

Some games have voice chat.
 

virginblue4

macrumors 68000
Apr 15, 2012
1,922
455
United Kingdom
My guess is it's just an inconsistency with apps that aren't updated for iOS7. Who knows, maybe it's related to the absence of voice memos.
Voice memos will be back. It has been shown on an official Apple developer video. It is also noted in the iOS beta 1 notes that it is not present in this beta.
 

xero9

macrumors 6502a
Nov 7, 2006
849
480
YouTube was one of the apps that wanted access to my microphone. I never tried, but maybe you can record and upload videos straight from the app. Personally, I think it should ask for permission if you try to record something. Maybe once the app has been updated properly for 7 it'll behave that way.
 

acosmichippo

macrumors regular
May 7, 2008
165
2
Voice memos will be back. It has been shown on an official Apple developer video. It is also noted in the iOS beta 1 notes that it is not present in this beta.
Right, I just meant maybe they left it out of this beta because they hadn't updated it yet to work with this new microphone permission popup.
 

Jakimo

macrumors 6502
Apr 25, 2008
341
0
Colorado Springs
Sleep Cycle is the only alarm app in the App Store that always goes off, regardless of the state of the iPhone (as long as it's on).

Many alarm developers are quite jealous, they haven't figured out how he does it. Well, used it for two days now and it requests microphone access! So that's the trick! The red bar comes on and keeps it active like a voice recorder.. and yet the app has no need for a mic, it's just a trick to get the OS to leave it running it seems... clever huh?
 

KieranDotW

macrumors 6502a
Apr 12, 2012
623
68
Canada
YouTube was one of the apps that wanted access to my microphone. I never tried, but maybe you can record and upload videos straight from the app. Personally, I think it should ask for permission if you try to record something. Maybe once the app has been updated properly for 7 it'll behave that way.
YouTube offers the option to search by voice; it has since it was first released.
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
48,024
16,346
I presume by listening for button presses / shutter sound.
Perhaps, although if your phone is on silent there's no shutter sound, and pressing buttons can be done fairly quietly in most cases.
 

Joe HS

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2011
271
3
United Kingdom
Perhaps, although if your phone is on silent there's no shutter sound, and pressing buttons can be done fairly quietly in most cases.
I thought it was done by monitoring the change in colour of what's displayed on the screen (It flashes white when you take a screenshot).

Addition: By the way... Snapchat uses the microphone for the video functionality – hold the shutter button down for a maximum of 9 seconds.
 
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gslrider

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2005
320
7
So to get this straight. If you deny an app access to the microphone, it will not record audio? So if chose for one of my video editing apps to not access the microphone, and I record a video, it will not have audio?

What if the app records you anyway without your knowledge or consent, after allowing it to access the microphone. It's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. Sure it's covering Apple's ass. But not ours. Unless we don't want to audio in our videos, or voice recordings.
 

bigcstyle4

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2012
333
130
I thought it was done by monitoring the change in colour of what's displayed on the screen (It flashes white when you take a screenshot).
I believe that it detected it by the state of touch events. In previous versions of iOS, touch events were "cancelled" when you took a screenshot. When you lift your finger off of the screen normally, the state was "ended." Supposedly this changed in iOS 7 but I'm not sure (I don't use Snapchat, just heard about this).
 

elistan

macrumors 6502a
Jun 30, 2007
997
441
Denver/Boulder, CO
Funny, I just loaded Discovery's app for the first time after updating to iOS 7, and the OS prompted me to confirm microphone access for the app.

Far as I know, the app doesn't do anything that I think would need microphone access.

Werid, huh.

I wish Apple had built in optional access to the cameras like this, too. How do we know when they are being access by an app?
 

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mrgraff

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2010
979
593
Albuquerque
Funny, I just loaded Discovery's app for the first time after updating to iOS 7, and the OS prompted me to confirm microphone access for the app.

Far as I know, the app doesn't do anything that I think would need microphone access.

Werid, huh.

I wish Apple had built in optional access to the cameras like this, too. How do we know when they are being access by an app?
I can't recall the names right now, but I too have had some apps ask for microphone access for no apparent reason. Sometimes I wonder if the app just has some unused microphone API in it's code, maybe left behind copy/pasted from somewhere or actually used for some reason early in development and taken out prior to release.
 

gslrider

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2005
320
7
Funny, I just loaded Discovery's app for the first time after updating to iOS 7, and the OS prompted me to confirm microphone access for the app.

Far as I know, the app doesn't do anything that I think would need microphone access.

Werid, huh.

I wish Apple had built in optional access to the cameras like this, too. How do we know when they are being access by an app?
For security reasons, as a rule of thumb, if I know the app doesn't require the microphone I deny access. As annoying as those messages are (since most of my apps doesn't require the microphone), I'm actually glad Apple included this notification. At least I know which apps, and have the option to say "no".