With the iPhone 7 came the death of the headphone jack and the birth of the AirPod. The wireless earbuds are good enough, we suppose, but their reception has been a largely mixed bag. The iPhone X has a Live Listenfeature right on the front screen (if you swipe down, it’s the ear icon) and again we have to wonder whether its inclusion is a good thing.
Live Listen helps you to better hear anything near your iPhone.
What is Live Listen?
Live Listen allows for iPhone users with hearing impairment to hearpeople across a room, in a noisy environment, or even tune into a TV without having to crank up the volume. All they need to do is enable the Live Listen feature on their iPhone and sync it to their hearing aid (or AirPod) and their iPhone turns into a directional mic.
In Apple’s own words, “with Live Listen, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch becomes a remote microphone that sends sound to your Made for iPhone hearing aid. Live Listen can help you hear a conversation in a noisy room or hear someone speaking across the room.”
Will people with hearing issues really be able to use this tech to help in their daily lives? Apparently, they already have. Apple has always been known for their intuitive, user-friendly gadgetry and the Live Listen feature is no exception. There’s even an option to adjust volume on the fly, and set it as a preferred Accessibility Shortcut like we mentioned earlier.
Access Live Listen with a simple downward swipe.
No good deed goes unpunished, however, and for all the help that this feature is giving to the hearing-impaired, it’s also creating some more questionable uses.
The problem with Live Listen
Live Listen works well – maybe too well. Users have discovered that if you leave your iPhone in another room, it still transmits sounds straight to your AirPods. The result is that you can now use Live Listen to pick up conversations you wouldn’t normally be a part of: Eavesdropping.
The feature works from up to 15 meters away, which makes it very easy to conveniently leave your phone a couple rooms over and still remain privy to what others are saying. The Twitter user above also commented that Live Listen could be used as a makeshift walkie-talkie, or even to cheat on school tests.
Apple still promises privacy
It’s 2019 and we’re all very quick to be afraid and point fingers at anything that threatens our privacy. The great data breaches and leaks of late have made us more fearful than ever. Apple is still standing resolute, however, and maintains their stance that privacy is of the utmost importance to them. Besides, can you really hold Apple accountable for something that you could have already done with a standard recording device? If you’re that concerned you could always just disable the Live Listen feature like this:
How to turn off Live Listen
1. Open your iPhone Settings 2. Go to General 3. Press Accessibility 4. Open MFi Hearing Devices 5. Tap on the name of your hearing aid or AirPod 6. Select End Live Listen
Press this to end all feed to the synced AirPods.
Is this a helpful feature that will help the hearing-impaired from this point forward? Or should Live Listen be removed from all future models of iPhone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for the latest in tech news.