Recently, I received a question from Teresa, who emailed asking:
“What does the little orange dot in the right-hand corner of my iPhone mean?”
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 – it 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.
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 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) 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.
Click here to find step-by-step instructions to see which apps have permission to access your microphone or camera and when.
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.
See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices by searching ‘Best Antivirus’ at CyberGuy.com by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.
Related: Free antivirus: should you use it?
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.
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