Facebook Messenger

If you've ever received an advertisement in your Facebook feed that was eerily related to something you were just discussing with a friend, you might be thinking that Facebook is listening in on your conversations through the Messenger app, of which you may have given permission to access the microphone when you started using it.

Facebook has gone on record to state that it does not listen in on your conversations.

Facebook does not use your phone's microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed. Some recent articles have suggested that we must be listening to people's conversations in order to show them relevant ads. This is not true. We show ads based on people's interests and other profile information – not what you're talking out loud about.

We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio. This might include recording a video or using an optional feature we introduced two years ago to include music or other audio in your status updates.

But, it is a really creepy coincidence when your mom tells you, in a face-to-face conversation (not via any chat method) that she needs Apple Cider vinegar for a recipe and then less than a half hour later, she sees an advertisement for apple cider vinegar (this actually happened to my mom and I). Even though Facebook isn't listening, for privacy sake, it's not a bad idea to just disable the feature when you're not using it. I mean, really ... how often do you actually use it.

Note: If you revoke permission for Facebook to access your microphone, you won't be able to use it to send audio chats and you won't be able to share Facebook Day stories in Messenger without re-enabling it.

How to turn off the microphone in the Facebook app

In order for any third-party app to have access to your iPhone or iPad microphone, you have to give permission when it first asks for it. When you first installed the Facebook app, you may have given permission for Facebook to access your microphone. If you'd like to revoke that permission, you can do so in the Settings app.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap Microphone.
  4. Tap the Facebook switch to turn it off.

If Facebook is not listed in the Microphone section of your Privacy settings, it's because you've never given Facebook permission to access your microphone on that device. You can double-check this by checking the apps' permissions in Settings.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll all the way down to the apps section and tap Facebook.
  3. Tap the Microphone switch to turn it off.

If you don't see the Microphone switch, it means you've never given Facebook permission to access your microphone.

How to turn off the microphone in Facebook Messenger

The official Facebook app isn't the only app Facebook can access your microphone from. You may have also given permission to Facebook Messenger to access your microphone at some point in the past. You can revoke permission in the Privacy section of your Settings app on iPhone and iPad.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap Microphone.
  4. Tap the Messenger switch to turn it off.

If Messenger is not listed in the Microphone section of your Privacy settings, it's because you've never given Messenger permission to access your microphone. You can double-check this by checking the apps' permissions in Settings.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll all the way down to the apps section and tap Messenger.
  3. Tap the Microphone switch to turn it off.

If you don't see the Microphone switch, it means you've never given Messenger permission to access your microphone.

You should also review other apps you've given permission to access your microphone and disable any that you don't actually use its microphone feature with.

How to turn off the microphone for Safari if you use Facebook's mobile website

If you use Facebook through Safari on your iPhone, instead of the official Facebook app (or maybe in addition to it), you might consider turning off the microphone and camera for Safari. I mean, who uses the microphone and camera while browsing the web on their iPhone anyway, amIright?

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Safari.
  3. Scroll down and turn off the Camera & Microphone switch under Privacy & Security.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about how to stop Facebook from accessing your iPhone or iPad microphone? Put them in the comments and we'll help you out.

Updated March 2018: Added steps for revoking permission in the official Facebook app.

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