Seeing green or orange dots on your iPhone status bar? Here’s what they mean.
On modern versions of iOS, your iPhone now shows an orange or green dot in the top-right corner at certain times. If you’re not familiar, these dots can be confusing and make you think something is wrong.
Let’s look at what the orange dot and green dot on iPhone mean, and how you can use the information they provide.
What Are the Orange and Green Dots on iPhone?
Starting in iOS 14, you’ll see colored dots appear in the top-right corner of your screen, near the battery and network information icons. These icons signify the following:
- An orange dot on your iPhone means that an app is currently using the microphone on your device.
- A green dot on your iPhone means that an app is using the camera (or both the camera and the microphone) on your device.
These dots appear whenever an app is actively using the camera or microphone. Once the app stops using the feature, the dot will disappear. Keep in mind that you won’t see both an orange and green dot at the same time, as camera access (green) implies microphone access (orange).
The dots don’t give you any information about what an app is actually doing with the camera footage or microphone audio. Hopefully, it’s only using these functions for their intended purposes. But it could be saving the data on the company’s servers or performing other shady activity, in theory.
How to See Which Apps Used Your Microphone or Camera
Your iPhone will also tell you which app is using your microphone or camera. After you see an orange or green dot appear, opening Control Center will provide you with this info.
You’ll see the name of the app at the top of the panel. It will add recently to the name if the app just stopped using your camera or microphone. This only appears for a short time, so be sure to check it before long if you want to know.
To open Control Center, swipe down from the top-right on an iPhone without a Home button, or swipe up from the bottom on iPhone models with a Home button.
How to Turn the Orange Dot Into a Square
If you’re colorblind or prefer another way to differentiate these dots, you can enable an accessibility setting on your iPhone. Head to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size and enable Differentiate Without Color.
Among other changes on your iPhone, this will turn the orange dot into an orange square so you can tell them apart without color.
Managing the Mic and Camera Permissions on Your iPhone
Normally, you should only see the dots for apps that use your camera and microphone with permission. For example, it’s fine to see them when calling with FaceTime, or when giving Siri voice commands.
But if you see the dots appear at other times, you should head to Settings > Privacy and disable the Microphone and Camera permissions for apps you suspect are abusing the privileges. This is just one of the important ways to protect your privacy on iPhone.
If you think there might be a bug in the app, or have questions about this usage, it’s not a bad idea to reach out to the app developer, too. If you don’t trust an app at all, it’s best to uninstall it.
Orange and Green Dots Give You a Heads-Up
The purpose of the orange and green dots on your iPhone is to let you know when an app is accessing a sensitive part of your device. It’s easy to grant camera and microphone permissions to every app that wants them and then forget about it. But remember that once granted, apps can use these permissions whenever they like.
Keep an eye out for those dots appearing when you don’t expect, and uninstall any apps from your phone that don’t use these functions properly.
Image Credit: Dedi Grigoroiu/Shutterstock
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