Notice an Orange Dot on Your Phone? Here’s What it Indicates and Why You Should Watch Your Words

By: Stephen Thompson | Last updated: Nov 12, 2023

The introduction of smart devices has made living more accessible and hassle-free. This results from decades of hard work that scientists put into developing and updating these devices.

Many people have said that they couldn’t live their daily lives without their phones, and while this is true, we owe ourselves the responsibility to manage what we share through our devices.

How Do Smartphones Evolve?

Smart devices have been programmed to harness as much data as possible to meet client requests and constantly evolve to the next best update. Have you ever wondered how they do that? 


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They do that by tracking your interactions or sometimes even listening to your conversations without your knowledge. Many applications track your needs through the things you say in private, and this may put you at a security risk.


That Orange Dot On Your Screen Is Trying To Tell A Secret

When Apple provided new updates in their IOS 14 in 2020, many users confirmed seeing an orange dot above their network bar. 


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Many who were not tech-inclined most likely believed it was just an update that came with the new software; others probably never noticed, as the orange dot is small and easy to miss. This orange dot icon means an app is utilizing your microphone, and you may not know which one unless you check.

The Update With More Transparency

With the new IOS 14, apparent changes were made to all Apple devices, such as the ability to pin messages, improvements with maps, focus assists, and widgets, which aided in organizing the home and lock screen. 


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This update made our mobile devices look neater and prettier, without a doubt. There were also changes made to Apple privacy settings which provided more transparency to its users.

Privacy Settings

The changes in privacy settings are to provide more information to users on the access they are granting to third-party apps when they click accept. 


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Many of these apps have access to a user’s microphone, photos, camera, contacts, and even locations. This may come as a shock, but many people have given access to these apps without even realizing it. 

How Data Is Obtained Without Your Knowledge

To confirm which apps utilize your private materials, you can easily check by looking through your privacy settings to find out the apps used. 

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You may also come to realize some of these apps may have no valid reason for obtaining your data, especially listening to your conversations. Thankfully, the update helps users know what they’ve agreed to with new and existing apps on their devices.


Smart Speakers

Mobile devices are not the only smart devices that people depend on. Smart speakers like the Apple Home Pods, Google Nest, and Amazon Echo use Artificial Intelligent (AI) Software such as Siri, Alexa, or Google. 

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These devices are activated using a wake word like “Hey Siri” or “Hey Alexa.” Once activated, they listen for instructions and help out.


Wake Words

Although the personal assistant only responds when they are activated with their wake word, users who had concerns made some investigations into Amazon Echo and how it uses cloud computing in its services. 

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These users realized their data is transmitted to a remote server, and then a response is rapidly sent back to Alexa.  


Understanding Cloud Computing

To understand more about cloud computing, think of situations where you may have said something casually or made a web search for a particular product. Suddenly, you open your phone and get flooded with ads related to what you had a conversation or web search about. 

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These devices obtain data from your interaction and recommend products based on what you have searched about.


The Dark Side Of These Personal Assistants

Smart devices may also listen in when we don’t use the wake word, which has been a concern to users who feel their privacy is in question. These personal assistants can mistakenly get activated, believing they heard the safe word. 

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Some research has found that these devices can be fooled into activation and obtain data they should not, which is not good news to many who do not want their private business out there.


Taking Charge Of Securing Our Privacy

The manufacturers of these products have assured their customers that they are working on updating features that would make their users feel safer.

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The manufacturers of the Amazon Echo have assured customers they are working on improving the accuracy of their wake word. As much as we love these devices, it is our responsibility to keep our privacy as much as we can.