Green and orange dots on your iPhone? Here’s what they really mean

The information at the top of the iPhone screen is generally pretty self-explanatory. The icons that live there display information about things like your battery level, your service provider, and the strength of your Wi-Fi connection. But there are two little icons that are a bit mysterious: green and orange dots that appear periodically while you’re using the phone. Since there’s nothing that explicitly says what they’re for, and touching them doesn’t do anything either, many iPhone users are left scratching their heads as to what these green and orange dots mean.

The points have been around since the introduction of iOS 14, which launched in 2020, and are actually quite simple and easy to understand once explained. Here’s what you need to know about the green and orange dots that appear at the top of your iPhone’s screen.

What does the green dot on your iPhone mean

Joe Maring/Digital Trends

A green dot appears on your iPhone whenever an app uses your iPhone’s cameras. It can also indicate when an app is using your camera and microphone together. The green dot doesn’t distinguish between an app that uses your camera for pictures or video, but if an app uses it to record video, assume that the microphone is also activated.

Common apps that will display a green dot on your iPhone include FaceTime, Instagram, Snapchat, or the camera app itself. The green dot is useful for tracking when your camera is in use, so you can track when you might be filmed or photographed.

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What does the orange dot on your iPhone mean

Orange dot on iPhone.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

An orange dot will appear at the top of your iPhone screen every time your microphone is being used to record audio. You’ll typically see it when you’re using something like the Voice Memos app, when you’re making calls, or when you’re using the text-to-text feature to record something with your voice.

While all apps should ask for your permission to access your microphone when they open them for the first time, the orange dot can help you track which apps are actively using your microphone.

If you have an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max, you’ll see these green and orange dots inside Dynamic Island. If you have a notch iPhone model, green and orange dots will appear in the upper right corner of the screen.

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