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Hidden iPhone trick from viral TikTok has people losing their minds

Published Jul 9th, 2021 9:52AM EDT
iPhone Spying
Image: Apple

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The latest viral video from TikTok shows how easy it is to use your iPhone to spy on someone with AirPods. The video was first posted online back in April but has since started to pick up steam.

The gist of this little iPhone trick is that you set up your iPhone to always be “listening,” whereupon the sound can be directly relayed back to you via your AirPods. All in all, it’s a clever trick. It’s worth highlighting in case you see an errant iPhone just laying around while you’re discussing sensitive or private information.

How the iPhone spying scheme works

First, take your AirPods out and put them on. Once you’ve done that, open up the Settings app on your phone. Next, scroll down a bit and open up the Control Center. Hit “Customize Controls” on the bottom. You’ll now see a list of apps that are currently in the Control Center and apps not in the Control Center. If you keep scrolling, you should see an option that says “Hearing.” Tap the green “plus sign” to the left and it should now be added to the Control Center.

Now here’s where things get interesting.  Bring up the Control Center by swiping down from the top of the screen. You should now see an ear icon at the bottom. Tap that once and you should see a heading that says “Live Listen.” It will be turned off by default, but if you tap it once it will turn on and any sounds the iPhone picks up will be transported right to your AirPods (assuming that you’re in range, of course.)

Image source: Apple

In a very Apple-esque move, the feature only springs into action once you’re far enough away from your iPhone.

Live Listen works with all iOS devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It also works with AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and Powerbeats Pro. Here’s the viral TikTok that has been viewed millions of times:


For all u crazy girlfriends out there😉#greenscreenvideo #hack #tips #iphone #airpods #technology #love #relationship #killyourvibe #fyp

♬ original sound – Dalila

Admittedly, this seems like a way to spy with an iPhone. Apple, however, designed it so that people can “hear a conversation in a noisy area or even hear someone speaking across the room.”

Incidentally, we’ve seen a lot of iPhone trick videos on TikTok in recent months. One of my favorites shows how easy it is to record video while simultaneously playing music from Apple Music or Spotify in the background.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.