The Dev Channel of the Windows Insider program is home to the latest and greatest features, but it looks as though Microsoft might have slipped one big feature under the rug. As spotted by BleepingComputrer and Neowin, Dev Channel Windows Insiders now have a new Privacy Auditing feature, designed to help you see which apps are accessing sensitive parts of your device.
Microsoft didn't officially blog about this feature , but David Weston, who is the vice president of the OS security and enterprise at Microsoft tweeted about it:
New Windows 11 Privacy Auditing features allow you to see history of sensitive device access like the Microphone pic.twitter.com/vq3IJkAIMO
— David Weston (DWIZZZLE) (@dwizzzleMSFT) June 16, 2022
To confirm, we checked for the feature on the latest Windows 11 Dev Channel build and discovered the same settings page as David, seen below.
Indeed, under Privacy and Security in Windows 11's settings, there's now a new recent activity page, which shows which apps have accessed the microphone in the last week. The apps are clearly listed and labeled, and even have a time stamp. This is a lot like the iOS location settings page, which shows you an indication for apps that recently accessed your location. It's also a change from the current public version of Windows 11, which (upfront) only lists on/off controls for which apps accessed your microphone or webcam.
In addition to Microphone access, this privacy audit tool can also show you which apps are pulling message, location, and screenshot data. This seems like a big step forward for privacy in Windows 11, and we hope it's something that makes it to the final version of the next major Windows 11 update, especially after all the controversy with it in Windows 10.