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Why does latest Sonos app update for Android activate my phone's microphone?

  • 17 November 2021
  • 6 replies
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I recently noticed that the Sonos app for android is activating my microphone on my Samsung S21 when I launch it. FYI, I also have permission DENIED for Microphone in Sonos app setting.  NOTE: I have an app that senses when apps activate microphone or camera.  Please stop this behavior at ONCE!  I’m sure your users would not take kindly to SONOS listening in to their conversations whenever the Sonos app is running.

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Best answer by James L. 17 November 2021, 15:40

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What app are you using to sense microphone activity?

I checked my phone(also S21) and do see that Sonos has the microphone access permission.  I’ve changed the setting so that the app needs to ask permission every time.  I’m not aware of anything the app would need the microphone for on the android version.  Of course, iphone would need the mic for trueplay.  I suspect that this is more of a bug introduced in the current version when separating distinct iphone and android OS copies of the app...if that makes sense.

 

Hi,

Thanks for confirming the issue. I suspected it was ‘possibly’ a bug with latest Sonos app update but we must always be vigilant. At first I suspected a new Trueplay like feature for Android but did not see this.

FYI, I am using an Android App called “Access Dots” which will illuminate a small Orange or Red dot at upper left of screen if an app activates the mike or camera. 

Still, however, I would still like to see an OFFICIAL RESPONSE from Sonos and also when they will provide a patch/fix/update.

Should be noted that my app has not had the latest  update yet.  Still on 13.3.2

Hi @gritz,

 

I’ve checked with our engineers, and I can confirm a couple of things here.

 

The Sonos app asks for microphone permission during the setup process of most S2 players that can setup via the “audio chirp” method. This is where the player plays a series of tones to transmit its setup codes to your device. The Sonos app does not use the microphone for any other purpose on Android. 

I can confirm that we are not using the mic to listen in to your conversations, and if you have disabled microphone permission for the Sonos app from system settings then it has no access at all. I would extremely concerned if an Android app could circumvent the Android security mechanisms to enable permissions without user intervention, and I can assure you that we are not doing that here. That would be a major security issue on Android as a whole.

I suspect that the Access Dots app is falsely flagging microphone access in this case. Personally, seeing as that app asks for full system control, I’d be more concerned about using it than anything else.

 

Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Did a little research on Access Dots.  It seems that the app logs and identifies the mic or camera was accessed , and what app was at the foreground at the time, but does have the ability to say which specific app accessed mic/camera.  You would have to assume the foreground app is the culprit.

So it’s entirely possible that a background app or process access the mic right when Sonos app launched.  Repeated tests of launching the app could prove this is the case.

Hi. I reported the issue.  What I did was toggle the Android permission for Sonos app for microphone from ‘access denied’ to ‘ask every time’. Restarted Sonos app to see if it would prompt for microphone access and it did not. I then set back to ‘access denied’ and restarted Sonos and the issue went away.  Thanks for your prompt replies

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