Another privacy-enhancing feature brought out by the iOS and iPadOS 14 updates makes it so you can easily tell whether some app is currently shooting video with your device’s camera.
Both iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 display a tiny dot indicator in the status bar whenever an app is using the microphone or camera. We already told you about the handy orange light that indicates an app is currently recording audio with the microphones in your iPhone or iPad.
As it turns out, this feature also extends to camera access so that every time an app uses your iPhone or iPad’s camera, a green dot is displayed in the status bar for your convenience.
Recording indicators in iOS and iPadOS 14
These handy indicators are displayed in the status bar area whenever an app is using your camera or microphone and remain in the Control Center so you always know what’s happening.
You may see a message in your Control Center about the last app that used your microphone or camera. To test how this works, I shoot a short video with my iPhone. Then I opened the Control Center and, sure enough, was informed about recent camera access.
As evidenced on the screenshot above, what you may see is the app icon along with its name and approximate time when microphone or camera activity took place.
Why Apple is implementing these indicators
It is no coincidence that Apple has added the recording indicators to iPhones and iPads — it’s their way of helping dispel any concerns that iPhone users are being unwittingly recorded.
3 things about this photo of Zuck:
Camera covered with tape
Mic jack covered with tape
Email client is Thunderbird pic.twitter.com/vdQlF7RjQt
— Chris Olson (@topherolson) June 21, 2016
As Apple’s software engineering boss Craig Federighi told Fast Company:
I get emails from customers saying to me, ‘I am sure this popular app I downloaded is secretly listening to me. I was just talking about this thing and this ad came up that was just about what I was talking about. I’m sure it was listening to me.’
Now, in many cases, this, in fact, was not happening. We know it was not happening. But they believe it is. And so, providing that peace of mind through a recording indicator that will always let you know whether an app, at that moment, is accessing your camera or accessing your microphone is important.
Found a @facebook #security & #privacy issue. When the app is open it actively uses the camera. I found a bug in the app that lets you see the camera open behind your feed. Note that I had the camera pointed at the carpet. pic.twitter.com/B8b9oE1nbl
— Joshua Maddux (@JoshuaMaddux) November 10, 2019
The article is fascinating so be sure to read the whole thing over at Fast Company.
Do you still believe apps are recording us?
What are your thoughts about one of the more popular conspiracy theories that apps are secretly using our device camera and microphones to spy on us? And which camp do you belong to, the deniers or those who cover their MacBook and iOS device cameras with tape?
Join us for discussion in the commenting section down below.