How to see which applications are using your microphone in Windows 10
To verify which applications have used your microphone in Windows 10:
- Start the configuration application.
- Click on the Privacy category.
- Click on the Microphone page in the left sidebar.
- Applications that have used their microphone will have "Last access" or "Currently in use" under their name.
Applies to Windows 10 1903 and up to
The May 2019 update of Windows 10 added a small but useful privacy feature. It is now possible to see when applications use your microphone, so you are always informed when the sound is recorded.
You will see a microphone icon appear in the tray system once an application begins recording. It will remain present until all applications have finished recording. You can hover over the icon to see information about tools with the application name.
For a historical list of the applications that have used your microphone, open the Settings application. Click on the Privacy category and then on the “Microphone” page under “Application permissions”.
The page is divided into two sections. First, you will see a list of all the Microsoft Store applications that can access your microphone. You can use the toggle buttons to prevent individual applications from recording sound.
Under the name of each application, you will see the time you last used your microphone. If the time is not displayed, the application has not yet recorded sound. Applications that are currently accessing your microphone will have "Currently in use" under their name in bright yellow text.
At the bottom of the page, there is a separate section for desktop applications. Because desktop applications access your microphone through different methods, you cannot prevent them from using your device. You will only see a list of all applications that have recorded sound in the past. "Currently in use" will continue to appear in the applications you are recording now.
Microsoft warns that desktop applications can record sound without notifying Windows. Because they are not subject to the sandbox restrictions of Microsoft Store applications, a desktop program can interact directly with your microphone hardware. This means that malicious software could record without Windows knowing, so it will not appear on the list or show the microphone icon in the system tray.
Further reading: privacy, Windows 10