iOS 14 was recently released by Apple in September 2020. The new arrival consists of new upgrades and a lot of privacy features. The new function comes as a green dot at the top of the screen. The green dot lights up to hint that the app that you’re using is accessing the camera.
The iPhone Green Dot
This green light that is next to the webcam and turns on with the camera is quite familiar for the mac users. However, the modified version; iOS 14 successfully takes this feature into your phone.
The glow of the green light helps in recognizing the installed apps that access your camera. The glow of the orange light helps in recognizing the apps that access the microphone. The main purpose of these 2 options is to protect user privacy. If you see the green light but if there isn’t any app that needs the access, then an app may be spying on you.
“An indicator appears at the top of your screen whenever an app is using your microphone or camera,” Apple says. “And in the Control Center, you can see if an app has used them recently.”
What Was The Motivation?
Several instances of spying using mobile cameras were recorded with the help of the green dot in iPhones recently. Some iOS 14 beta mode users found Instagram spying on them even when they hadn’t taken any photos or videos.
However, the spokesperson’s reply said that it was just an error in which they are working on.
“We only access your camera when you tell us to — for example, when you swipe from Feed to Camera. We found and are fixing a bug in iOS 14 Beta that mistakenly indicates that some people are using the camera when they aren’t,” the spokesperson said. “We do not access your camera in those instances, and no content is recorded.”
Brittany Condit, an Instagram user filed a lawsuit against Facebook in September 2020 in federal court in San Francisco. She claimed that Instagram purposely uses the camera with the objective to collect “lucrative and valuable data on its users that it would not otherwise have access to.”
According to Brittany, both Facebook and Instagram have the potential to gather valuable insights and market research by spying on intimate personal data on the users.
The Way The Green Dot Protects You
This green dot is extremely valuable to find which app is responsible for spying.
Apps need to have users’ permission to access the microphone or else the camera in the device. Normally, users do this at the installation of the app. Although the permission was required the users never knew when the apps actually made use of it. Thus, the apps have been given the total freedom to access the camera and the microphone of the device with no indication to the user.
The issue has now been solved with the iPhone green dot. You just need to swipe down the corner of the mobile screen as soon as you notice the green light. Then you will be driven to the control center of your mobile and it will reveal you information on the app that is using the camera or the microphone.
You have the option to revoke the permissions if you feel uncomfortable with the apps that use your camera or microphone.
The only thing that you need to do is to go to your mobile settings and to scroll down to find the app in question. Use the toggle to switch off the access to the mic or the camera. Here, you can also take away its ability to access other parts of your mobile such as location and the gallery.
The Commitment to User Privacy
The company has also added some more privacy features that are very much required for the safety of the users. One of those are the periodic reminders on the apps that access your location and another one is the option to only share specific photos with any given app.
Tim Cook, the Apple CEO considers privacy as a “human right” thus all these modifications are part of the public commitment of the company.