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How to use AirPods as a spying device

Hidden in plain sight.

apple airpods wireless charging audio sharing
Image: Unsplash

Thanks to some tech trickery Apple added to iOS 12, you can turn the combo of your iPhone and AirPods into a makeshift spy gadget.

The feature is called Live Listen, and it lets you turn your iPhone into a directional microphone, transforming it into an accessibility hearing aid of sorts.

Although it’s aimed at accessibility, AirPod users can abuse the feature by utilizing it as an unsuspecting spying device.

YouTuber Sam Sheffer shows off Live Listen below:

Pretty wild, right? 

Want to learn how to do it? This article will show you how to spy with AirPods or use them as a listening device in a few simple steps.

Whether you use these tips for good or bad, that’s your call. Use these tips wisely, but always be responsible.

How to turn your AirPods into a listening device

Here’s what you need:

  1. Grab your AirPods and link them to your iPhone. (We’ve seen reports that you could possibly use any Bluetooth headphones, although we’ve not tested this)

    iphone live listen airpods ios 12

    Image: Unsplash

  2. Add the Live Listen feature to the Control Center. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Control Center > Hearing.

    Image: Cult of Mac

  3.  Then activate Live Listen in Control Center.

    Image: Cult of Mac

  4. Aim your phone at what you want to hear, just like those wacky directional microphones they use on spy shows.

    Image: Digitalfilmmaker.net

  5. Voila! Audio gets piped into your AirPods, so you should hear people from across the room. Moreover, you can listen to music simultaneously, with one AirPod playing music and the other playing Live Listen’s feed.

How to listen to a conversation in another room with AirPods

Either way you slice it, you’re probably not going to feel great about yourself doing this, but sometimes it has to be done.

To pull this off, walk away and “accidentally” leave your iPhone on the table when you leave. Now, your iPhone is transmitting everything to your AirPods.

Effectively, you can listen to a conversation in another room and see if anyone says something interesting when you’re gone.

So there you have it, one of the best accessibility tools of recent memory turned into a spying tool for you paranoid types.

Just remember, if you’ve read this – your target probably has too.

Plan on trying this out? Carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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