Does our phone turn on the microphone while we sleep? Let’s see what to do to prevent our phones from being listened to during the night
Many users are worried about keeping the phone near the bedside table during the night, given that modern smartphones are equipped with sensors and microphones that can activate without the user’s knowledge even at night, when the screen remains off for a long time.
The microphone that “activates” itself is not necessarily synonymous with collecting information from apps; Many apps use the microphone function for good, to offer wellness features or for sleep monitoring.
Since there are situations in which the microphone activates itselfyou can use your smartphone’s security settings to prevent this.
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1) Do cell phones spy at night?
As mentioned in the introduction, not all apps and phone functions are considered “bad” if they activate the microphone at night.
In our guides to apps that monitor sleep by recording sounds and movements and at app to sleep better, fall asleep and monitor your sleep we find many apps that use the microphone to monitor sleep, snoring and our stages of rest, helping us understand when to wake up and how to improve our well-being.
If we notice that the microphone is active during the night, we check that we have not installed one of these apps before worrying.
If we don’t have wellness apps installed the only known function that always leaves the microphone on is the voice assistant: if we have configured Google Assistant, Apple Siri e Amazon Alexa to respond immediately to our commands, they will leave the microphone on even at night, also recording the sounds produced by us (respecting privacy, deleting any sound not associated with the activation commands).
On this topic we can read our guides on how to disable Ok Google and Narrator on Androidare how to use the Alexa app on your phone come on how to disable Siri on iPhone.
2) How to turn off the microphone on Android
Are we afraid that some app is spying on us at night even if we have uninstalled or deactivated all the apps and functions seen in the previous chapter?
We can turn off the always-on microphone at night on Android by taking us to the app Settingsopening the menu Safety, Permissions, Privacy o Privacy protection (depending on the phone in use), by pressing on the menu Microphone and making sure that no apps are present on the screen Permission always grantedwhich clearly indicates the presence of an app that always uses the microphone, even when it is not in the foreground.
The apps present in the section Permission granted during use only they should be safer, but when in doubt we can always press on the name of the suspicious app and activate the voice Do not allow.
To extend the search for apps that always use the microphone we can also press on the three dots at the top right and select Show systemthus also showing system apps in the list (normally safe, but always better to check).
Those who are more privacy conscious can also use the app Microphone Blockerdesigned precisely for this type of need: the app blocks any access to the microphone by apps (including system ones), making it impossible to use it at night or in any time slot.
3) How to turn off the microphone on iPhone
On the iPhone we can turn off the microphone to apps that can “spy” on us at night by opening the app Settingstaking us into the menu Privacy and securityby pressing the menu Microphone and turning off the switch next to suspicious apps or apps we never gave permission to.
For the voice assistant it is also worth checking the menu Vocal recognitionso as to deactivate any permission used by apps to always leave our iPhone’s microphone active.
As an app to protect access to the microphone we can rely on some security solutions such as McAfee Privacy and Security e Norton360 Mobilecapable of intercepting spy apps and monitoring microphone access, blocking unauthorized or suspicious apps.
On modern phones, turning on the microphone is indicated by a small bright icon at the top right but at night, while we sleep, it may be difficult to understand whether the microphone of our phone is left on or not.
The most privacy conscious just have to Check your microphone permission often and remove apps that always activate the microphone or that should never use it, helping us with microphone monitoring apps or some security suites dedicated to privacy.
To learn more we can read our guides on how to manage the microphone on Android come on how to understand if someone is spying on us from the microphone.