How to view which app is using your camera or microphone on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

If you’re using the camera or microphone for an app, you’ll see an indicator at the top of your screen. In addition, you can see what app is currently using that tool, along with which app used it recently.

These are helpful additions to the security features on your device, so we want to show you how to use them on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Camera Recently Used in iPad Control Center

What are the green and orange dots?

If you are using an app that is accessing your camera, you’ll see a green dot on the top right of your screen. And for apps using your microphone, that dot will be orange.

Camera Microphone Recording Indicators on iPad

So if you see one of these indicators on your screen and don’t believe you’re currently recording with your camera or microphone, this lets you know that you actually are and can take action.

It’s not just an indicator that you’re using the Camera app. The green dot appears for any app that uses your iPhone or iPad camera. So if you start a Live Video on Facebook, scan a document in Notes, or snap a shot for Instagram, you’ll see the green dot.

Similar to the green dot for your camera, you’ll see an orange dot when you’re recording a Voice Memo, dictating a message in Slack, or making a request to Siri. Any app or service using your microphone will put the orange indicator in your status bar.

See apps currently or recently using your camera or microphone

If you’re not sure which app is using your camera or microphone, it’s easy to find out. You don’t have to cycle through all of your open apps; just open Control Center.

At the top of your Control Center, you’ll see which app is currently using your camera or microphone. Like the recording indicators, the camera icon will display in green and the microphone icon will be orange. Next to that indicator, you’ll see which app is currently using it.

Camera Microphone Current on iPad

If you close an app that was using your camera or microphone, you can see this too. Open Control Center, and at the top, you’ll see the icon for the camera or microphone and which app was using it most recently.

Camera Microphone Recent on iPad

On iOS 16, you can even tap that message to expand it and see everything on one screen.

Privacy screen in iPhone Control Center

On Mac, while the camera and microphone are in use, you will see the green and orange dots next to the Control Center icon in the menu bar.

And to know which apps recently used your Mac’s camera or microphone, simply click the Control Center icon. Here, you will see the green and orange icons with the app name signifying recent camera or microphone access.

Control Center on Mac showing microphone access

See apps that have permission to access the camera and microphone

When you install a third-party app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac that wants access to something, you’ll receive a prompt asking if it’s okay. They might ask to access your camera, microphone, Photos, Contacts, Calendar, etc. If you want to use the app, you likely accept and move on. But over time, you probably forget who you’ve given access to and for what.

Now we are going to show you how to see which apps can have such permissions. You can then decide if they should still have that access or if you want to revoke it.

On iPhone and iPad

1) Open the Settings on your iPhone or iPad and then tap Privacy & Security.

2) You’ll see each app or item on your device that access can be granted for, from Contacts and Calendars to your microphone and camera. Tap one of these like Camera or Microphone and you’ll then see the apps and services that have access to it.

iPhone Privacy Settings Apps

3) Some of the apps you’ll find won’t be a surprise. For example, apps like Messenger, Telegram, and Spark will have access to your Contacts. And if you use another calendar app like Fantastical or Google Calendar, they’ll have access to your Calendars.

iPhone Privacy Settings Contacts Calendars

4) But if you take a look at Bluetooth, Microphone, or Camera, you might scratch your head as to why some of these apps need access to those items.

If you want to remove access for any app, just turn the toggle off. If you then use the app and realize why it needed access, you can grant it again if prompted or just head back to Settings > Privacy and turn that toggle back on.

iPhone Privacy Settings Camera

On Mac

To see that information in macOS, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and click the Privacy tab. Then select Camera or Microphone from the left sidebar, and it will show which apps are permitted to access these features. Click the lock icon and authenticate if you want to make changes.

Camera access for apps in Mac privacy settings

Important privacy features

If you’ve ever been concerned about privacy in the sense that you thought you were being recorded with an app on your device, these features should help. You can immediately see if your camera or microphone is recording you and which app is the culprit.

What do you think about these privacy features on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS?

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