The 2020 iPad Pro might be worth upgrading to for this new security feature

iPad Pro 2020 Trackpad Hero
iPad Pro 2020 Trackpad Hero (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • The 2020 iPad Pro isn't a huge upgrade.
  • But it does have a cool new security feature.
  • It will disable its microphone when a case is closed.

It's fair to say that the 2020 iPad Pro isn't a huge upgrade for those who already have the 2018 model. But there's one feature that might make it worth picking up – it will automatically disable its microphone to avoid eavesdropping.

This is a feature that first debuted on the 2018 MacBook models that included the T2 security chip, but this is the first time that it's come to the iPad lineup. And it's a biggie that was spotted by 9to5Mac. You can get the full details in Apple's Platform Security documentation.

iPad models beginning in 2020 also feature the hardware microphone disconnect. When an MFI compliant case (including those sold by Apple) is attached to the iPad and closed, the microphone is disconnected in hardware, preventing microphone audio data being made available to any software—even with root or kernel privileges in iPadOS or in case the firmware is compromised.

If you never needed a reason to pick up an MFi case rather than the cheapest one you can find on Amazon, this is probably it.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.