2020 iPad Pro microphone has ‘hardware disconnect’ for added security

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Apple Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro
It stops software from listening in when you think your iPad is asleep.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s newest iPad Pro has the ability to disconnect its microphone when the device is not in use for increased security. The disconnect happens at a hardware level so software cannot override it — but there’s a catch.

The feature only works for you if you have the right accessories.

Using Zoom? Take these steps to protect your privacy [Updated]

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yoga class zoom
Zoom lets you keep attending your local yoga class, but at what cost?
Photo: Anupam Mahapatra/Unsplash

Video-conferencing tool Zoom is seeing a surge in use during the coronavirus pandemic, due to people being stuck at home and unable to meet in meatspace groups. I’ve read about people using Zoom to drop in on yoga and pilates classes, as well as for more usual business-related activities.

Zoom shares data with Facebook even about non-Facebook users [Updated]

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Zoom video conferencing for Mac
Zoom became very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has some sketchy privacy practices.
Photo: Zoom

The Zoom video conferencing app has been a lifesaver for many people unexpectedly forced to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak. But privacy experts have raised concerns that this app shares more user data than many might realize. That includes the iOS version reportedly sending information to Facebook, even about users who don’t have a Facebook account.

Update: Zoom has removed this controversial code.

Lawmakers want Apple to halt menstruation apps which share user data

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Calendar
Some tracking apps may share user data without users' knowledge.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Democrat lawmakers want Apple and other tech giants to rethink their stance on menstruation-tracking apps.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Apple, Google, and Samsung, New Jersey senator Bob Menendez and representatives Bonnie Coleman and Mikie Sherrill voiced their concern about menstruation- and fertility-tracking apps which share user health data without permission.

How to check the exact time someone read your WhatsApp message

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a crumpled up paper receipt
The correct fate for all receipts.
Photo: Michael Walter/Unsplash

In a civilized society, there would be no such thing as a “read receipt” for messages or emails. You’d send your message, and that would be it. But read receipts are here, and if you’re one of the folks that doesn’t turn them off, then you’re going to love this WhatsApp tip.

You already know the meanings of the checkboxes that indicate successfully sent, delivered and read messages in WhatsApp. Today we’ll see how to check the exact time a recipient read your WhatsApp message.

FCC plans to hit U.S. cellphone carriers with massive fines

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Verizon
All the major carriers are about to get fined.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

America’s largest cellphone carriers are about to get hit with hundreds of millions of dollars in fines from the Federal Communications Commission according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Officials at the FCC found the companies broke the law by selling customers’ location data to third parties and are prepared to make AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint pay big time. The companies have reportedly been notified that fines could be on the way.

How to stop your UWB-equipped iPhone 11 from tracking you

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This is not how Apple's UWB tracking works.
This is not how Apple's UWB tracking works.
Photo: Hadis Malekie/Unsplash

The latest generation of iPhones (the 11 and 11 Pro) contain the new U1 chip, which lets your iPhone locate other iPhones with pinpoint accuracy. Currently it is only used to show you the direction of other iPhones when you AirDrop a file. However, it will almost certainly soon be used to keep track of the rumored Apple Tags (or AirTags) tracking devices.

But what if you want to turn off UWB (ultra-wideband) tracking altogether? No problem.

FBI director says Feds still can’t unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case

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FBI director says Feds still can't unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case
FBI wants Apple to help it unlock handset.
Photo: Dave Newman/Flickr CC

FBI director Christopher Wray says that the Feds are still unable to access the encrypted data on an iPhone belonging to the shooter responsible for killing three Americans at a Pensacola, Florida naval base in late 2019.

The FBI says that it has reconstructed the phone after it was damaged. But it still can’t access the information on the handset itself.

Why everyone’s upset about AirPods Pro, and Tim Cook’s favorite shower tech, this week on The CultCast

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CulCast 424
Finally, you too can shower like Tim Cook. We'll tell you how.
Photo: YSR50

This week on The CultCast: It’s not your imagination — Apple changed AirPods Pro and made them worse! We’ll tell you what’s going on. Plus: A new report says Apple caved to FBI pressure to keep your iCloud backups less safe. And stay tuned to hear about about Tim Cook’s favorite new … shower tech? Rub-a-dub-dub, my friends.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast, and use offer code CultCast at checkout for 10% off your first purchase.