Have you ever wondered what do the orange and green dots next to the notch on your iPhone mean? No worries, you are not alone to have found their existence perplexing. First introduced in iOS 14, there is a reason why these indicators show up in the iPhone status bar. In this article, I will help you decode these simple privacy symbols and why you should pay close attention to them whenever they pop up in the status bar.
Orange and Green Dots in iPhone Status Bar (2022)
What Does the Orange Dot in iPhone Status Bar Mean?
When an orange indicator appears in the iPhone status bar, that means an app is currently using the microphone on your device. You will see an orange dot next to the notch on your iPhone while using Siri voice commands, recording notes, videos from the camera app, and when you are in a Clubhouse audio room, among other things.
Now, it is safe to assume that almost all apps on your iPhone respect your privacy and will only access the microphone when required. But if you ever notice the orange dot on your device when it shouldn’t be there, it simply means some app is misusing the mic permission and eavesdropping on your conversations. We have explained how to fix such a privacy loophole in the sections below.
It’s worth pointing out that this indicator appears as an orange square if you have enabled the “Differentiate Without Color” feature on your iPhone. Navigate to “Settings -> Accessibility -> Display & Text Size” and enable/ disable the “Different Without Color” toggle, as per your need.
What Does the Green Dot in iPhone Status Bar Mean?
If you see a green dot in the iPhone status bar, that means an app is actively using the camera on your device. Also, it’s worth noting that the green indicator not only signifies camera permission, camera access means microphone permission access too. You will not see a separate orange dot for microphone access here, even though it is usable along with the camera.
For instance, as you can see in the screenshot above, I’m using the FaceTime app on my iPhone and only see the green indicator next to the notch. It represents that the app is using both the camera and microphone at the moment.
Now, if you randomly see the green dot on your iPhone, it means some app is invading your privacy by accessing the camera and recording you without your permission. Follow the steps in the section below to find out which app it was and get it under control.
What’s the Purpose of Green and Orange Dots on iPhone?
The green and orange dots are like alarms designed to alert you about the usage of the camera and microphone on your iPhone. If an app is using them unnecessarily, you can take the needed action right away and disable the access.
Disable Camera and Microphone Permissions for Apps
So, if you are wondering whether the orange or green dot on your iPhone can be disabled or not. Well, the answer is yes, and you can follow the steps below:
1. Navigate to Settings -> Privacy on your iPhone.
2. Then, head into the “Privacy” settings menu, where you can access the “Camera” and “Microphone” permissions individually.
3. Simply turn off the toggle next to the name of the app for which you want to disable the camera (green dot) or microphone (orange dot) on your iPhone.
How do you which apps are accessing the camera or microphone permissions, though? Well, Apple has made it easy to know what app had recent access to either of these permissions. You can simply pull down from the top right corner of your iPhone to open the Control Center. At the top of the Control Center, you will see the permission type (camera or microphone) along with the name of the app, as shown in the screenshot below.
Many a time, apps have been caught red-handed using microphones and cameras secretly. Apps that need these privacy features to work would go all out to abuse the permission you have granted – in the disguise of offering a personalized experience.
“Facebook is being sued for allegedly spying on Instagram users for market research. Instagram users noticed that a green FaceTime symbol appeared at the top of the Control Panel when they were scrolling through their feeds. The green symbol appears when the camera is activated,” said a recent Independent report.
Worse, there is no dearth of shady apps that want access to the camera and microphone, even if there is no obvious reason whatsoever. And once they gain access by hook or by crook, they could misuse the camera and microphone permission at will.
Since there was no way to tell when apps were using your iPhone camera/ microphone in iOS 14, you could do nothing to prevent this foul play. With the introduction of the App Privacy Report in iOS 15, Apple has further tightened the screws on apps’ access to privacy features. You can use this new iOS 15 setting to keep an eye on apps’ every single activity.
Green and Orange Dots Keep Track of Camera/ Mic Usage on iPhone
Hopefully, you have now got a good hang of what the orange and green dots mean and the sole purpose behind their existence. That’s not all, though. Apple has also launched a slew of other security and privacy features, including Apps Tracking, Local Network, Private MAC address, and more, over the past few years. While these features seem to massively crackdown on apps that serve ads, they are a boon for privacy-conscious users. Do let me know your thoughts on this privacy-centric feature and whether knowing about the microphone and camera access is essential to you.