WhatsApp has confirmed that an Android bug is causing it to appear as if the messaging app is accessing some users’ microphones in the background. Google also said it was investigating the issue.
Users report WhatsApp microphone access
The issue caught the attention of many more users when Twitter engineer Foad Dabiri tweeted that the app accessed his phone’s microphone at night.
This tweet was reinforced by Twitter owner Elon Musk, who said in a quote tweet that WhatsApp cannot be trusted.
However, the bug was also previously reported by WABetaInfo, which reported the bug in April 2023.
WhatsApp says bug causes access notifications
Dabiri and Musk’s tweets appear to have prompted WhatsApp to make a statement on its own Twitter feed.
In its tweet, the company said:
“In the past 24 hours we have been in contact with a Twitter engineer who reported an issue with his Pixel phone and WhatsApp. We believe this is a bug on Android that incorrectly assigns information in their privacy dashboard and asked Google to investigate and remedy.”
He added that once granted access permission, WhatsApp will only use the phone’s microphone when you make a call or record a voice note or video using the app. He also highlighted the end-to-end encryption technology used by the app, saying WhatsApp would not be able to access those recordings and calls.
But if you don’t want to just take WhatsApp’s word for it on faith alone, Google has also said it’s aware of the issue.
According Engadgeta Google spokesperson said the following in a statement:
“We are aware of the issue and are working closely with WhatsApp to investigate.”
If you’re still wondering if apps are accessing your microphone or camera in the background, you can use the privacy dashboard on Android to track the different apps they’re accessing.
WhatsApp and Google are working on the bug
Both WhatsApp and Google have confirmed that a bug appears to be causing Android to mark WhatsApp as accessing your microphone in the background. But if you’re still worried, you have the option to completely remove microphone access from the app, although this will prevent some features from working.