Why There's an Orange Dot on Your iPhone

Apple's iOS 14 added a silent indicator you can customize

What to Know

  • The orange dot at the top of your iPhone's screen lets you know an app is accessing your phone's microphone.
  • You cannot disable the dot since it's part of an Apple privacy feature that lets you know when apps use different phone elements.
  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size and toggle on Differentiate Without Color to change it to an orange square.  

In this article, you’ll learn what the orange dot at the top of your iPhone means, why it activates, and how to customize it. This feature came with the update to iOS 14.

What Does the Orange Dot on iPhone Mean?

The orange dot at the top of your iPhone’s screen activates whenever an app on your phone uses the device’s microphone. The orange indicator light is one of a few new privacy features Apple introduced with iOS 14.

A screenshot of the iPhone orange dot from the home screen.

The iPhone’s orange dot will appear whenever you use apps like Voice Memo or third-party applications that require your microphone to be activated. You will also see the orange indicator whenever making phone calls or even using voice-to-text to dictate text messages to your friends and family.

You may also see a green dot appearing on your iPhone in the same place the orange dot appears. This colored dot lets you know an app is accessing your camera and will appear when using your phone’s camera app, Facetime, and other apps that record video.

Can You Disable the Orange Dot on the iPhone?

Because the orange dot and its green counterpart are part of Apple’s push to prioritize user privacy, you cannot disable the feature. However, those who have difficulty differentiating between colors can change how the orange dot appears on the iPhone’s notification bar by modifying its shape.

Follow the steps outlined below if you need to change how the iPhone’s orange dot appears.

  1. Tap the Settings icon on your home screen and scroll down until you see Accessibility.

  2. Tap the Accessibility options by tapping on the word in the Settings list.

  3. Now, tap Display & Text Size.

  4. Look for the Differentiate Without Color setting and press the slider to the right of it.

    Steps to change the orange dot's appearance on iOS.

Turning this setting on will make the orange dot appear as an orange square. The green dot will remain the same shape and color.

How to Tell What Apps Are Using Your Phone’s Microphone

The main reason the orange dot exists on your iPhone is to let you know when an app uses your microphone, but how do you see which apps are using it?

A cropped screenshot of the iPhone's quick options pulled down to reveal which apps are using the device's microphone.

Whenever you see the orange indicator appear at the top of your screen, you can swipe down from the top to reveal which apps are using your microphone. For example, swiping down when using the phone app will include an orange circle with a microphone in the middle at the top with the app’s name to the right.

  • How do I make the orange dot on my iPhone screen go away?

    You can't make the orange dot go away forever, but it will disappear once you stop using any apps that are accessing the microphone. Of course, the orange dot will turn on again the next time another app accesses the microphone.

  • Why does the orange dot appear when my phone is locked, then disappear when unlocked?

    It's possible that one of the apps on your iPhone is accessing the microphone when it's locked. Go to Settings > Privacy > Microphone and look for any apps that look out of place or otherwise shouldn't be accessing your microphone. Disable any permissions you find suspicious, then check to see if the orange dot reappears when your iPhone is locked.

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