New iOS 14 safety feature update
What does the orange dot on iPhone mean?
What does the green dot on iPhone mean?
The green dot appears when an app is using your iPhone's camera, like the Camera app or Snapchat. In cases where the camera and microphone are in use, say when you're taking a video, the camera access implies microphone access too, so you'll just see the green indicator instead of seeing both.
If you see the orange and green dot but aren't aware of using any apps that are accessing your camera or microphone, you can check which app was using the camera or microphone by swiping down to open the control centre. The control centre will show you exactly which app was using the camera or microphone, and if you find that the app is abusing these functions, you can limit its camera and microphone permissions in your settings.
In the image below, you can see in the control centre that the Camera app had been using the camera function recently, while the Messages app had been using the microphone function.
If you find that the application accessing your camera or microphone doesn't make sense, it may mean that the app is invading your privacy. If you are suspicious about the app's use of your camera or microphone, you can contact the support channels of the app to find out why the app is accessing them.
Sometimes, it may be a bug that triggers a false notification when the camera or microphone isn't actually being accessed, but if you are sceptical, you can delete the app to protect your privacy.
The orange and green dot does not necessarily mean the camera feed is being recorded and saved; all iOS knows is that the app can access the camera feed at that time. But you can never know what the app could be doing with the camera or microphone feed. The data could be used momentarily, it could be staying entirely on the device, or it could be recorded and shared.
The introduction of the camera and microphone use indicators are part of a push by Apple to give users more confidence about their privacy and safety through transparent information. It brings attention to when these features are being accessed. If apps are using them unnecessarily, users can take action by naming and shaming, approaching the app to figure out why, or delete suspicious apps from their devices.
Hopefully most of the apps on your device behave as they should and these camera and microphone indicators will never appear when you wouldn't expect them to.
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