People are Just Realising What the Three Little Dots on your iPhone Mean


The discovery of an overlooked iPhone privacy feature by Apple has caught the attention of users in recent times.

We’ve all experienced those moments when we discuss needing a particular item with a friend, such as a vacuum cleaner, only to open our phones and suddenly find ourselves bombarded with advertisements showcasing an array of Henrys and Dysons on our feeds.

While many have become accustomed to the idea of certain apps listening in on conversations, few were aware that there is actually a way to determine when an app is utilizing their iPhone’s microphone or camera. Despite being introduced with iOS 14 in 2020, the true significance of the three little dots has only just begun to resonate with some users.

These orange and green dots materialize in the top right corner of the screen, above the signal, Wi-Fi, and battery indicators. Apple’s official website provides an explanation, stating, “With iOS 14 or later, an orange dot, an orange square, or a green dot indicates when the microphone or camera is being used by an app.

“An orange indicator signifies that the microphone is currently being used by an app on your iPhone. If the Differentiate Without Color setting is activated, this indicator appears as an orange square. To enable Differentiate Without Color, navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size.

“A green indicator signifies that either the camera or both the camera and microphone are being used by an app on your iPhone.”

The final dot appears as a blue arrow pointing to the right.

“Occasionally, a blue arrow may appear when the app you’re using requests your location,” Apple clarifies. The Stem Support reveals that these dot indicators are made possible through Apple’s Application Programming Interface, a computer program created by the company.

“This means that a visual indicator will appear regardless of whether the app explicitly informs you of its microphone usage,” the outlet explains.

While it’s undoubtedly valuable to be aware of being monitored, one may wonder how to determine which app is responsible for accessing their microphone and/or camera. By swiping down to access the Control Center, users should be able to find this information.

iPhone users have taken to social media to express their appreciation for this privacy feature.

A Twitter user expressed their admiration, saying, “This speaks volumes about how Apple prioritizes privacy. This dot indicates when an app is utilizing the microphone or camera. Absolutely brilliant.” However, another user questioned, “Why? I don’t have any apps that have requested access to the microphone!”

In response, a third user commented, “I believe Apple added the dots to reassure users and provide a sense of security. Without these dots, we would never know if our microphone or camera is active. Every app includes a privacy option in the settings.”

Echoing this sentiment, a final iPhone user concluded, “The best and most underrated feature of iOS 14 is the presence of the orange and green dots indicators, along with the Copy-Paste indicator.”


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