Where are Android microphone settings?

Microphone access on smartphones is an important permission that many apps request in order to provide full functionality. However, granting microphone access also raises potential privacy concerns for users. The microphone allows apps to record audio, which could include sensitive conversations if proper precautions are not taken. It’s important for Android users to understand how to manage microphone settings and permissions in order to find the right balance between utility and privacy.

Finding Microphone Settings

You can open Settings on any Android device by opening up the Apps screen or app drawer and tapping on the Settings app icon. For example, on Samsung Galaxy phones, you would swipe up from the bottom of the home screen or tap the Apps icon to open the app drawer, then find and tap on the Settings gear icon to launch Settings.

Alternatively, open the notification shade and scroll down to the bottom – there you’ll see a button or icon labeled Settings which will also open the Settings app (DigitalCitizen.life, 2022). Once inside the Settings app, you can navigate to various sections to adjust different options and permissions.

So in summary, open Settings on Android by:

  • Opening the Apps screen or app drawer and tapping the Settings app
  • Swiping down notifications and tapping the “Settings” button at the bottom

This provides quick access to the full Settings menu where you can find microphone options.

Microphone Permission

In order for an Android app to access your device’s microphone, it must request the RECORD_AUDIO permission. This is done by including the following line in the app’s manifest file:

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO" />

When an app that requests this permission is installed, the user is shown a dialog asking if they want to grant microphone access to that app. The user can choose “Allow” to grant the permission or “Deny” to reject it.

Once granted, the app can then call methods like MediaRecorder.start() to begin capturing audio from the microphone. The user can revoke the permission at any time through the Apps section of Settings.

For more details on requesting permissions, see the Android documentation here: https://developer.android.com/training/permissions/explaining-access

Review App Permissions

To see which apps have permission to access your microphone, you can go to the App Permissions section in your Android settings. Here is how:

Open the Settings app and select “Apps”. Look for the “App Permissions” option and tap on it. This will show you a list of permission categories like Calendar, Camera, Contacts, Location, Microphone, etc. Tap on “Microphone” to see all the apps that currently have microphone access.

This permission list will let you know exactly which apps can record audio using your microphone. You can individually toggle each app’s microphone access on or off. Android requires apps to ask your permission before accessing the microphone, unless you have previously granted access. Going to App Permissions gives you an overview and control.

For additional details, visit Change app permissions on your Android phone.

Toggle Microphone Access

Android allows you to toggle microphone access on or off for each individual app. This gives you granular control over which apps can access your microphone.

To toggle microphone access:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > App permissions.
  2. Tap Microphone.
  3. You will see a list of apps that have requested microphone access.
  4. Toggle the switch next to each app on or off depending on whether you want to allow or deny microphone access.

Toggling the switch off will deny microphone access for that app. The app will no longer be able to record audio or access your microphone. Toggling the switch on grants microphone access to that app.

You can toggle microphone access for individual apps on or off at any time. It’s a good idea to periodically review which apps have microphone access and restrict access if needed.

Microphone Usage

Many different apps on Android devices request microphone access for various features. However, some apps may use the microphone in the background without your knowledge.

Apps like Facebook, Instagram, Google Assistant, and ridesharing apps like Uber use the microphone for voice commands and speech recognition. Streaming and video calling apps like Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom need microphone access for calls and video chats. Games such as PUBG Mobile use the mic for in-game chat. Even some weather and news apps request mic access for interactive features.

According to Samsung, the camera and microphone icons in the status bar indicate when an app is actively using those sensors. Check these icons regularly to monitor usage.

You can also review all app permissions in Settings. Go to Apps, select an app, and check the list of permissions granted. Toggle off microphone access for any unnecessary or suspicious apps.

Location of Microphone Icon

The microphone in use icon will appear in the status bar at the top of your Android screen whenever an app is accessing your device’s microphone. The status bar is the area at the very top of your screen that displays notifications, the time, WiFi and cellular connectivity, battery percentage, and other status icons.

Specifically, the microphone icon will display on the right side of the status bar, near the clock. It’s represented by a small microphone image, usually colored green, white or gray. The icon is designed to be easy to spot so you can quickly identify when an app may be listening through your phone’s microphone.

On some Android devices like Samsung Galaxy phones, the microphone icon may also show up on the always-on display when the main screen is off. This ensures you can still see the mic access indicator even when your phone is locked.

Tapping on the microphone icon in the status bar will open a list of apps that have recently accessed your phone’s microphone. This allows you to review which apps may be listening and adjust their permissions if desired.

In summary, look for the microphone icon in the top status bar or always-on display of your Android phone to see when an app may be accessing your microphone.

Additional Privacy Settings

Beyond microphone permissions, Android has other privacy settings that can impact how apps access your microphone. One relevant setting is Web & App Activity which monitors your activity across Google services to provide personalized features and recommendations.

You can adjust Web & App Activity settings by going to Settings > Google > Google Account Services > Web & App Activity. Here you can toggle it off completely or choose to pause it. Pausing it will retain your data but temporarily stop collection. Keep in mind turning off Web & App Activity may affect recommendations and personalization in apps.

Another related setting is Voice & Audio Activity which can be managed in My Activity. This controls how Google handles and uses recordings of your voice commands. You can delete past recordings or choose to auto-delete recordings after 3 months or 18 months.

It’s recommended to review all privacy settings under Google Account Services to understand how your activity is tracked. Adjust these based on your comfort level with personalized services versus privacy.

Best Practices

Here are some tips for managing microphone access on your Android device:

Review which apps have microphone permission in your settings. Go to Settings > Apps & notifications > App permissions > Microphone to see which apps can access your microphone and toggle access on or off.

Only enable microphone access for apps you trust and actually need to use your microphone, like voice assistants or video chat apps. Disable access for apps that don’t need it like games or news apps (source).

Check microphone permissions when installing new apps. The installation process will show what permissions the app requires, so look out for microphone access.

Keep your Android OS and apps updated. Updates may include privacy enhancements related to the microphone and other permissions.

Use antivirus software to scan for malicious apps that could misuse microphone access. Only install apps from trusted sources like the Google Play Store.

Adjust microphone settings for maximum privacy. Disable “Ok Google” voice activation, mute your microphone when not in use, and disable microphone access system-wide if desired (source).


In summary, managing microphone permissions on Android devices is important for protecting user privacy and security. The microphone can pick up sensitive audio information, so apps should only be granted access if necessary for their functionality. Users can review and edit permissions in Settings under App Permissions, and toggle access on or off for individual apps. The microphone icon in the status bar indicates when the microphone is active. Following best practices like only downloading trustworthy apps, reading reviews, and minimizing unnecessary permissions helps safeguard microphone access. Overall, carefully managing microphone settings preserves user control over this sensitive data.

To conclude, it is recommended that Android users regularly check microphone permissions to ensure privacy. Disable access for apps that do not need the microphone to function properly. Utilize available privacy controls like toggling the microphone on or off through Quick Settings. Only install apps from trustworthy sources like the Google Play Store. Look out for the microphone icon when it is in use. With some diligence, users can maintain strong safeguards over who has access to their microphone.

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