Are you paranoid that your mobile phone is listening to you?

iOS update privacy

Now you can check with Apple’s new update.

The arrival of the new update for iPhone, iOS 14, brought along several key new features and many smaller changes – and you may be wondering what these are for.

One of the biggest new features of the iOS 14 update includes a new orange warning dot in the top right of your iPhone when your microphone is activated. This means the microphone is being listened to and could be recorded. This might show up when you are using Siri or Dictation (e.g. need the iPhone to transcribe your speech to text). Presuming all mobile apps are acting in good faith, the orange dot should only appear when you’re doing something which requires the microphone.

If you want to know which app is using your microphone you can simply go into your Control Centre to find the details. If you believe something looks suspicious, then either contact the app software developer, deleting the app or amending the permissions in Settings.

When questioned about the changes Apple stated, “Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do, that’s why with iOS 14, we’re giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it’s used.”

So, what does the green dot on the iPhone mean?

The green dot in the top right will appear when an app is using the camera e.g. when taking a photo or video. Camera access implies access to the microphone too, but in this case you won’t see the orange dot separately.

If an application is accessing the camera when it doesn’t make sense, it may mean the app is invading your privacy. iOS doesn’t know why an app needs access to the camera hardware and so your best bet is to contact the software developers of the app you are using, or delete the app.

The green light doesn’t necessarily mean the camera is being recorded and saved by the app, all iOS knows is that the app can access the camera feed at that time. It’s not certain what the app is doing with the data.

Another feature Apple have included in the iOS update is the ability for users to have more control over their location settings. Now, an iPhone user can provide apps with a ‘rough’ location rather than their exact location.

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