Mac users say Zoom is listening in when it’s not in use


Zoom listening in on Mac: Is Zoom using your microphone when it shouldn't be?
Is Zoom using your microphone when it shouldn't be?
Photo: Franco Antonio Giovanella/Unsplash license

An increasing number of Mac users say Zoom is using their machine’s microphone even when the app is not in use.

Zoom rolled out an update last December for its native Mac app that supposedly resolved “an issue regarding the microphone light indicator being triggered when not in a meeting.” But it doesn’t appear to have worked.

Zoom uses Mac’s microphone when it shouldn’t

In macOS Monterey, Apple added an indicator to the menu bar — similar to that in Control Center on iPhone and iPad — that glows orange or green when your camera or microphone are being used by an app.

The indicator is designed to prevent third-party apps from secretly watching or listening in on you, and it works wonders. Especially when it comes to catching Zoom and its pesky trick of using your microphone when it shouldn’t.

Despite the update designed to prevent this, many Mac users report that Zoom still uses their microphone when they are not in a meeting.

What is Zoom up to?

“I can’t believe @Zoom is still pulling off stuff like this,” said developer Felix Krause on Twitter. “The Zoom Mac app listens to the microphone even when not in any meetings. No way I’ll ever install their app.”

“Experienced this myself,” replied Philipp Holly. “You can see the orange dot on Mac since the last update. Also, Airpods doesn’t work properly after exiting a meeting, because they are still in BT mic mode (crappy music sound).”

Other users, who began monitoring how long Zoom stays active using apps like Timing, say the app sometimes remains in use for hours after a call ends.

“I’ve just noticed the orange dot again, and when I quit Zoom, told me that I’d apparently been on a 2 hour Zoom call,” wrote another user in a Zoom community forum, reports The Register.

What can you do?

If you rely on Zoom, you can take some steps to ensure the conferencing service stops using your microphone when you exit a meeting. One is to make sure you quit the Zoom app when you don’t need it, rather than allowing it to lurk in the background.

Another great solution is to not install Zoom’s native app at all. Instead, just use the web version inside Safari (or another browser of your choice). You can then close the browser tab when your meeting finishes. Then you won’t need to worry about Zoom spying on you.

Zoom told The Register it is “looking into this,” so we may see another bug fix soon. Whether it will actually work this time is another matter.


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