Apple added Live Listen to the iOS 12 update. It was a new feature designed for the AirPods to have hearing aid capabilities for people with minor hearing disabilities. This feature has been around since late 2018, but many people still don’t know about it.
Owing to the way it works, some people have figured out how to spy on others using Live Listen and their AirPods. Breaching people’s privacy is an issue of morals and ethics, so it is up to your judgment whether or not this is acceptable.
Keep reading to find out how to enable this feature on your AirPods and AirPods Pro. However, TechJunkie doesn’t encourage or support the use of AirPods for spying. Keep in mind that it can get you into serious legal trouble.
Apple named this feature Live Listen on the AirPods, and Transparency Mode on the AirPods Pro. Activating the feature on any iOS 12 or later device is a cakewalk. You need to add the Live Listen option to your device’s Control Center.
This additional step only applies to Live Listen, while you can instantly activate Transparency Mode, without any trouble. Perhaps you have been using these features already but didn’t think of them as spying tools.
If that’s the case, you can keep doing that because using these features to improve your hearing is fine. Using it for spying, on the other hand, is unacceptable. Abusing this feature can get you into trouble, so do it at your own risk.
AirPods Pro Transparency Mode
Transparency mode is limited to the AirPods Pro only, while the regular AirPods don’t have this feature. This mode is helpful for people with hearing impairments. It uses a microphone array on your AirPods Pro to listen to a conversation in a crowded room, or from a distance. Don’t mistake this with Noise Cancellation, which is another option from the same menu.
Activating Transparency Mode is dead simple. Again, you will need a newer iOS device, a Mac, or an Apple Watch. Here are instructions for enabling it on iOS devices:
- Open the Settings on your device.
- Tap on Control Center. Make sure that you have your AirPods Pro in your ears.
- Press the volume slider and keep your finger on it until a new window pops up on your device.
- Select Transparency.
Here is an alternative method for iOS:
- Launch the Settings on your Apple device.
- Select Bluetooth.
- Press the info button (i) adjacent to the AirPods from the dropdown choice of devices.
- Select Transparency.
You can also activate Transparency on Mac:
- Make sure that your AirPods Pros are paired with your computer.
- Enter the volume control settings in the menu tab.
- Select AirPods Pro.
- Click on Transparency.
Finally, you can even use it on Apple Watch:
- Play some audio on your Apple Watch.
- Select the Airplay button.
- Select Transparency.
AirPods Live Listen
AirPods Live Listen is available for all iOS devices operating on the iOS 12 update or above. Before you enable it, you need to add it to the Control Center. Follow the instructions:
- Open the Settings app on your iOS device.
- Enter the Control Center.
- Choose Customize Controls option.
- Press the plus icon adjacent to the Hearing option.
- Press Back in the top-left corner of the screen to confirm.
After you do that, you can enable Live Listen on your phone or tablet:
- Launch the Settings app.
- Go to the Control Center.
- Press the ear button (hearing aid).
- Select Live Listen.
- Increase the volume on your phone or tablet to the comfortable level.
- Put your device near a person that is talking to hear them better.
The Elephant in the Room
Apple deserves praise for being so considerate towards people with hearing impairments. However, people are still unsure if the company knows how the feature could be misused. There are no official statements from the tech giant, yet many people are complaining.
The hearing aid is a fantastic thing, but spying is not. Imagine being on the receiving end of a spying attempt from someone you know. You probably wouldn’t feel great about it. Live Listen and Transparency Mode make spying easy; all you need to do is enable the features and place your device near a person.
Sure, iOS devices aren’t tiny, nor is a Mac computer. That might make them hard to conceal. Still, some people may believe that there’s nothing fishy going on when you leave your iPhone (with the Live Listen feature active) on the table and casually go to the bathroom.
Yes, the hearing aid features are that good, you can hear people from another room without an effort. That is, as long as your AirPods are within the range.
To Spy or Not to Spy
A spying attempt can get you in a lot of trouble. You can quickly lose people’s trust if you try to spy on them, and they could even take it to the authorities. Note that most Apple devices are big (except for the watch), and potentially hard to hide.
Additionally, a lot of people already know about these features, so if you are wearing your AirPods, they can easily connect the dots. In the end, the decision is up to you. Feel free to post a comment below in the comments section.