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Which apps are listening in through your mic? Windows 10 will now let you know

windows 10 october update
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Windows 10 receives major updates twice a year, and the operating system is always seeing new improvements. Microsoft currently is beta testing an icon in the system tray that should make consumers more aware of which apps are listening in through their computer microphone. The feature brings another touch of privacy to the upcoming Windows 10 19H1 update, and was officially unveiled in a blog post on Wednesday, November 28.

The new icon (image via Microsoft) Image used with permission by copyright holder

Currently, this can be previewed by enrolling a PC in the Windows Insider program and downloading Windows 10 19H1 Fast Ring build 18290. Though Microsoft warns this version of Windows is still unstable, hovering on the new microphone icon in the taskbar after installing will show which apps are recording. Double-clicking it will also open the shortcut for Microphone Privacy Settings, but Microsoft promises that more could be coming for the experience soon.

“If multiple apps are using your microphone, then it will just list how many are actively using your microphone. We still have a bit more to do, stay tuned!” Microsoft explained.

These are all just the latest set of changes for the upcoming version of Windows 10, code-named 19H1. A previous preview previously introduced the ability for consumers to remove more of the preinstalled Microsoft apps on a PC. Another version also introduced a new light theme, as well as an improved search feature.

The same preview build also introduces some tweaks to the Windows 10 Start Menu. It now features more polished buttons for the sleep, shut down, and restart options. Microsoft even added in new icons to help consumers identify which of the buttons does what function. Elsewhere, the preview build brings new abilities to manually synchronize the system clock with Microsoft’s time server. Also new is an updated landing page for Windows Search and Cortana, which now have a light theme and acyclic looking effects.

There is still not an exact date for when standard non-beta Windows users can expect these features on their PCs. Microsoft usually depends on the feedback from its Windows Insiders testers to perfect new features before pushing it out to everyone else.

Major Windows 10 updates are typically released around April and again around October. Microsoft recently missed that time frame when releasing the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, and it actually launched on November 13 following a round of bugs and glitches.

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Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
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