Fact check: The orange dot on the iPhone does NOT mean someone is listening to you

Fact check: The orange dot on the iPhone does NOT mean someone is listening

warning signal

Does the orange dot on iPhone mean someone is listening or spying on you? No, that’s missing the context: A cybersecurity expert told Lead Stories the orange circle is a warning from Apple that the microphone is being used by an app on the phone, but that doesn’t mean anyone is listening or spying on you.

The claim appeared in a video posted to Instagram on November 1, 2022. It opened:

If you see this orange dot on your iPhone, you need to get help seriously and quickly. If you see an orange dot like this one at the top of your iPhone, it means someone is listening to you.

This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:

Screenshot from 12/23/2022 at 16.22.01.png

(Image source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wednesday 28 December 19:54:04 2022 UTC)

The person in the video claimed:

It’s been all the news lately, and in fact, the orange dot is a warning sign from Apple that someone is using your microphone without your permission. If you don’t have any apps open and it’s still there, someone is spying on your phone and listening to your conversations. So if you see this orange dot, turn off your phone immediately and get help. And make sure you follow me to stay safe.

“The orange dot indicates an app is using the microphone on Apple iPhones running iOS 14 and later,” Jake Moore, global cybersecurity advisor and spokesperson at ESET, a software company focused on cybersecurity, said on Dec. 28, 2022, per E -Mail to Lead Stories. “This feature cannot be disabled, so users will know immediately if their conversations are being monitored.” He explained that the orange dot is not an indicator that he is being spied on:

Many people have felt in the past that their devices are listening to them without giving permission, but the orange dot only appears when the user has given specific apps access to the microphone to use and only when the app is open .

Apple’s website specifically addressed the orange dot with a section on the site titled “About the orange and green indicators on your iPhone status bar”:

An orange indicator means the microphone is being used by an app on your iPhone. This indicator appears as an orange square when the Differentiate Without Color setting is on. To turn on Differentiate Without Color, go to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size.

The orange dot was added in 2020 as an improved security feature in iOS 14, as reported by several news outlets including Forbes and Business Insider. It was created to help users protect their privacy and warn them when an app is using the device’s microphone. It shows up when an app is using the microphone, e.g. B. when filming a video for Instagram or when using Zoom for a video conference. It’s intended as an alert for users to track which apps have access to and are using the microphone on the device, but it doesn’t automatically mean that someone is eavesdropping or spying on the device or the user.