Recently, we received a question from Teresa, who emailed us asking:
What does the little orange dot in the right hand corner of my iPhone?
The orange and green dots you see at the top of your screen are part of an enhanced privacy and security update for iOS 14 or later. Learn more about what these notification dots mean below, not only for iPhones but Androids too!
What does it mean if you see the orange dot on the top of your iPhone?
When an orange dot appears in the top-right corner of your screen — right above your cellular bars — this means an app is using your iPhone’s microphone.
It could be any third-party app, or even when you’re using the basic functions of your phone, such as making calls, enlisting the help of Siri or whenever using voice-to-text to dictate text messages to your friends and family.
Which iPhone apps are using your microphone?
If you see the orange dot, you can:
- Swipe down from the top right of your screen to reveal which apps are using your microphone
- You’ll see the orange icon at the top of your screen with the device next to it
- In the case below, the app that is using the microphone is the iPhone
What does it mean if you see the green dot on the top of your iPhone?
When a green dot appears in the top-right corner of your screen — right above your cellular bars — this means that an app is using either the camera or the camera with the microphone on your phone.
Which iPhone apps are using your camera?
Like the orange dot, if you see the green dot, you can:
- Swipe down from the top right of your screen to reveal which apps are using your camera or camera with the microphone
- You’ll see the green icon at the top of your screen with the device next to it
- In the case below, the app that is using the camera is Facetime
What does it mean if you see the green dot on the top of your Android device?
If you’ve got an Android 12 or later, you’ll notice that there’s only a green dot indicator (no orange dot) indicator in the top right corner of your screen that will inform you when the phone’s camera or microphone is being used by an app. When an app first accesses your camera or microphone, you’ll see a camera icon and a microphone icon before it changes to simply a green dot. This dot will remain on for as long as the app uses your microphone or camera.
Which Android apps are using your microphone or camera?
If you see the green dot, you can:
- Swipe down from the top of your screen to show the notification bar
- Click the green dot, and you will see which apps are using your camera or microphone
What if an app is using my microphone or camera and I can’t find it to delete the app?
If you see that your microphone and/or camera is in use even though you don’t have an app opened, it likely means that an app has permission to use those features on your phone even when it isn’t being used, or your phone may have been hacked. In Is your device spying on you? you will find step-by-step instructions to see which apps have permission to access your microphone or camera and when.
If you’ve gone through your permission settings and your microphone and camera are being accessed without your consent, there is a chance that some malicious spyware may be using your device to spy. If you’re not sure your phone has been compromised, you can check for these additional signs outlined in How to tell if your phone has been hacked.
To avoid this altogether, consider adding antivirus software to your phone to ward off any malware.
Lock up your tech
My biggest desire is to educate and inform you about the increased real threat to each of our connected devices and encourage you to use strong antivirus security protection on everything in your life connected to the rest of the world. The best way to protect yourself is to install antivirus software on your devices. Our top choice for Antivirus software is TotalAV. It’s very easy to install, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ll have real-time protection, phishing scam protection, ransomware protection, plus more. Protects Windows, Mac, Android & iOS Devices. Limited-time deal for CyberGuy readers: $19 your first year (80% off).
Now that you know what those green and orange dots mean – what other questions do you have that we can answer? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.