The reason that Zoom users were able to discover that the app had their microphones on in the first place is because Apple recently implemented a visual cue to alert its users when an application or device is accessing either their microphone or camera. These visual alerts appear in the Menu Bar as an orange dot when the microphone is being used or as a green dot when the camera is being used.
Updated but not fixed
After macOS Monterrey was released late last year, Zoom users first noticed the issue and took to the company's Zoom Community support page to voice their concerns. This prompted Zoom to release an update at the end of December that was designed to address the bug.
While the update's release notes say that Zoom version 5.9.1 (3506) “resolved an issue regarding the microphone light indicator being triggered when not in a meeting on macOS Monterey”, it appears that the fix didn't take with one user still seeing the orange dot after applying it, saying:
“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.”
In an email to TechRadar Pro, a Zoom spokersperson explained that no audio data was sent to the company as a result of the bug, saying:
"The Zoom client for macOS 5.9.3, released on January 25, 2022, fixed a bug involving the failure to properly terminate the microphone use post-meeting. Zoom has determined that this bug did not result in audio data being transmitted back to Zoom's platform. As always, we recommend users make sure their Zoom client is updated to the latest version."
With more people working from home than ever before, many users simply leave Zoom open so that they can be ready for their next call. However, until this issue is completely fixed, it's probably best to open the app before a call and close it immediately after.
Via The Register
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After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.