Apple’s latest iPhone software update features a new ‘warning dot’ that enables users to see whether one of their apps is watching or listening in.
Released this week, iOS 14 displays a small orange dot at the top corner of an iPhone’s display to let users know their microphone is activated.
The small but noticeable dot appears at the top of the iPhone display, just above the signal bars or next to the battery indicator.
This is not much to worry about when users are enjoying a video call over apps like Zoom and Facebook Messenger, which need a camera and audio to work.
But the dot will be a crucial indicator that other apps are snooping when they shouldn’t be.
The helpful dot is part of Apple’s increasing focus on privacy as part of the new iOS.
‘Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do, Apple says on its website.
‘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.
‘An indicator appears at the top of your screen whenever an app is using your microphone or camera.’
iPhone users can also go to their phone’s Control Center to see if an app has used the microphone or camera recently.
Users can deny apps access to their camera and microphone if they’re constant offenders – or delete the apps altogether.
For iPadOS 14 – the new operating system for Apple tablets – the tiny dot is orange when the microphone is in use and green when the camera is in use.
Another privacy-focused update that comes with iOS 14 is the ability to share only an approximate location with apps, rather than an exact location.
This suits iPhone users who are wary about revealing to certain apps exactly where they live, for example.
To enable this feature, iOS 14 users need to go to Settings, Privacy and Location Services and then select the app from the list.
Toggling on Precise Location to green will let the app know exactly where the user is, while turning it off will let apps only determine an approximate location.
iOS 14 was released on Wednesday, following Apple’s ‘Time Flies’ event, which also unveiled the new Apple Watch Series 6, iPad Air and the 8th Generation iPad.
The software is available on iPhone 6s and above, giving users access to a redesigned home screen, widget gallery and a new Siri interface.
iOS 14 is letting also let users set their own default apps for web browsing and email for the first time ever, as opposed to forcing users to stick with its own native apps, Safari and Apple Mail.
This means that users who prefer using Google Chrome, for example, won’t have to go out of their way to use the browser.
Many Apple fans were disappointed that the company did not reveal the upcoming iPhone 12 this week as expected.
The company has already confirmed that new iPhone won’t be available until next month, fuelling speculation it will hold another announcement event in a few weeks.