Have you ever wondered which applications on your PC listened to your microphone? A new feature in May 2019 update of Windows 10 you said it, but it's easy to miss. This feature works for both desktop and store applications.
How to see what to do with your microphone now
If an application uses your microphone, a microphone icon appears in your notification area. system tray. It is black if you use the bright theme of Windows 10 and white if you are using the dark theme of Windows 10.
Place your cursor on the icon and Windows will tell you which application is currently using your microphone. If several applications are currently using your microphone, Windows will tell you the number of applications using your microphone.
If you do not see the microphone icon, check the overflow menu by clicking the up arrow to the left of your notification icons. If the microphone icon is hidden here and you prefer to display it on your taskbar, you can drag it to the notification area of your taskbar.
This icon only appears when an application is using or listening to your microphone. If you do not see it, no application uses your microphone at the moment.
If several applications use your microphone and you want to know which one, click on the icon. This will take you to the Settings> Privacy> Microphone window. Scroll down the list and look for apps with the red text "In use".
Note that there are two lists here: a list of "Microsoft Store Apps" and one of the traditional "desktop applications." Be sure to go through each list.
How to see which apps have already used your microphone
Even if no application currently uses your microphone and the icon is not displayed, you can check which applications are using your microphone. Go to Settings> Privacy> Microphone in Windows 10 to open the microphone settings.
Scroll through the list of applications allowed to access your microphone and look for a "last accessed" date and time under each. Windows will tell you the exact date and time of the last use of your microphone by the application.
The Settings> Privacy> Camera pane also shows the latest application access to the webcam hardware on your computer. However, there is no similar notification icon for webcam access. According to Microsoft, your computer may already have a visible webcam light.
Do not fully trust this for desktop applications
Like Microsoft Remarks, desktop applications can interact directly with the hardware of your microphone or webcam and bypass the controls and privacy monitoring of Windows 10.
In other words, it is possible for a desktop application to access your microphone or webcam but not appear in this list. An application can access your microphone hardware at a low level and the microphone icon may not appear.
However, Windows should detect microphone access for the vast majority of desktop applications. Specially coded RAT malware, however, could escape detection.