Zoom still using Mac microphone outside of calls despite fix, claim users

Zoom on Mac
Zoom on Mac (Image credit: Zoom)

What you need to know

  • Zoom has been dealing with a bug that means it keeps listening to your Mac microphone once calls have ended.
  • The company was supposed to have fixed this in a recent update.
  • Some users say the problem still persists.

Multiple users of popular video conferencing app Zoom say the app continues to use their Mac's microphone once calls have ended despite Zoom's attempt to fix the issue in a recent update.

The problem was first raised by one concerned user at the end of 2021:

I'm running MacOS Monterey. Several times in the last few weeks, I've noticed the orange dot indicating the microphone is being used by an app, and I click on the Control Center and see that Zoom is accessing the microphone. I'm not in a meeting and simply have the Zoom app open. Why would Zoom be accessing the microphone when I'm not in a meeting?)

In response, Zoom told the user the bug was addressed in macOS version 5.9.3, which purportedly applied a fix to the issue on December 27. However, multiple users claim the issue still persists:

Well, that most recent update seems to have made no obvious difference. I've just noticed the orange dot again, and when I quit Zoom, Timing.app told me that I'd apparently been on a 2 hour Zoom call.At this point, it looks like it's safest to only run Zoom while on active calls and keep it quit otherwise.

Further users responded in kind to say they were still experiencing this issue, as indicated by the orange dot in macOS Monterey that notifies you that your microphone is being used. They also raised more worrying concerns about their privacy. Zoom suffered a series of worrying and embarrassing public security revelations when it shot to prominence at the start of the pandemic.

However, the seriousness of the issue remains unclear, Zoom in explaining the bug described "a bug relating to the Zoom client for macOS, which could show the orange indicator light continue to appear after having left a meeting, call, or webinar." This careful wording could indicate that the bug simply means macOS displays the microphone warning light even though Zoom isn't actually accessing the mic, as opposed to indicating the app is actually still listening to you once calls have ended.

There is no further indication that any audio has been recorded, listened to, or transferred to another location. A Zoom spokesperson told The Register it was looking into the matter.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9