If you're wondering what the green and orange dots are that you sometimes see in your Mac's menu bar, just next to the Control Center icon, you've come to the right place. Apple has added these to macOS as a privacy feature in order to indicate when an app is using your Mac's microphone or camera.

control center
The feature was first introduced on iPhone and iPad, after it emerged that some popular apps were accessing device cameras in the background, unbeknownst to users. To tighten Mac privacy and security, Apple has brought it over to macOS.

Green Dot

  • Green dot means an app is currently using the your Mac's camera.

Orange Dot

  • Orange dot means an iOS app is currently using the microphone.

If you open the Control Center when you see a colored dot, there will be a camera or microphone icon along with the name of the app that was recently using the feature.

In this way, recording indicators prevent the camera or microphone from being accessed by an app in the background without your knowledge, so you can be sure that apps aren't sneakily recording conversations or videos.

sysprefs
You can control the access that individual apps have to your Mac's camera and microphone. Launch System Preferences and select the Security & Privacy pane, then click Camera or Microphone in the sidebar. To remove an app's access to your mic or camera, simply uncheck the box next to it in the list.

Related Roundup: macOS Monterey
Related Forum: macOS Monterey

Related Stories

fullscreen menu bar macos

How to Make Your Mac's Menu Bar Stay Visible in Full Screen Mode

Friday January 7, 2022 9:20 am PST by
In macOS Monterey, when you take an app fullscreen by clicking the green traffic light icon in the top-left corner of the app window, the menu bar may be hidden from view in order to draw your focus to the window's content. If you're using a Mac that has a camera housing or "notch" centered at the top of the screen, like a 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro, hiding the menu bar effectively makes ...
notch behavior feature

How to Make an App's Menu Bar Fit Below a MacBook Pro's Display Notch

Friday October 29, 2021 11:53 am PDT by
When Apple unveiled its new MacBook Pro models with a notch to house the camera in the thinner display bezel, many users saw it as a potential problem for third-party apps that place additional content across the menu bar, such as menus that extend from the left or menu items that extend from the right. However, it turns out Apple was wise to the potential issue of having menus or menu items ...
macbook pro 2021 notch feature

How to Hide the MacBook Pro Notch

Monday November 1, 2021 11:46 am PDT by
Apple's 2021 MacBook Pro models unexpectedly came with a display notch, or as Apple calls it, a camera housing, which sits dead center at the top of the screen. This article covers all the ways you can conceal the notch or at least make it play nice with your apps using software-based solutions. The inclusion of a notch on the redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro allowed Apple to slim...
macOS Monterey FaceTime Portrait Mode

How to Blur Your Background on a FaceTime Call on Mac

Thursday December 16, 2021 1:50 pm PST by
In macOS Monterey, Apple brought several enhancements to FaceTime on Mac, including new visual and audio effects to improve the video call experience. One of the new visual features is Portrait mode in calls. With this mode enabled, you can blur your background so that the focus is on you rather than what's behind you. The feature is commonly used by other video conferencing apps like...
Monterey Mac as External Monitor Feature

How to Clean Install macOS Monterey Easily Using the New Erase Mac Option

Monday October 25, 2021 1:45 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS 12 Monterey, and whenever a new operating system is released for the Mac, some users prefer to perform a clean installation. This article explains how to perform what is effectively a clean install of Monterey using a brand new option that's available on Apple silicon-powered Macs and Intel Macs with a T2 security chip. Clean installing macOS is often done to...
airdrop logo

AirDrop Not Working? Here's How to Fix It

Wednesday December 22, 2021 3:06 pm PST by
AirDrop is a handy feature on Apple devices since it lets users discover nearby Macs and iOS devices and securely transfer files between them over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The only problem is that it doesn't always work. If that sounds like your current experience with AirDrop, this article offers some troubleshooting steps that may help. AirDrop is designed to let you send and receive photos,...
erase content settings monterey

How to Erase All Content and Settings on Mac

Wednesday October 27, 2021 8:33 pm PDT by
Following in the footsteps of the iPhone and iPad, Apple silicon Macs and Intel Macs with a T2 security chip (2017-2020 models) now have an "Erase All Content and Settings" option available in macOS Monterey. This article explains what the option does and how and when to use it. Traditionally, wiping a Mac and returning it to factory settings involved manually signing out of a range of...
magicmouse2 1

How to Customize the Mouse Pointer in macOS Monterey

Thursday December 9, 2021 8:03 pm PST by
In macOS Monterey, Apple allows you to change the color of the mouse pointer from the standard white outline and black fill, to pretty much any color combination you want. So if you're having a hard time working out when it moves or changes to an insertion point, crosshair, hand, or other shape, it's worth switching things up. The following steps show you how. Launch System Preferences...

Popular Stories

safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time [Updated]

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
iphone 5g mmwave

U.S. Airlines Warn of 'Catastrophic' Crisis With Impending 5G Rollout, AT&T and Verizon Agree to Delay Around Airports

Tuesday January 18, 2022 10:35 am PST by
Verizon and AT&T's upcoming rollout of new C-Band 5G technology could cause chaos and lead to widespread delays of passenger and cargo flights, major U.S. airlines said on Monday in a letter sent to the White House National Economic Council, the FAA, and the FCC (via Reuters). "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially...
iphone se 2020 top

iPhone SE With Larger 5.7-Inch Display May Launch in 2023, 'iPhone SE+ 5G' Also Rumored

Monday January 17, 2022 6:46 am PST by
Apple is planning to release a fourth-generation iPhone SE with a larger 5.7-inch display as early as 2023, according to display industry consultant Ross Young, who has proven to be a reliable source of information for future Apple products. The fourth-generation iPhone SE has until now been rumored to launch in 2024, but Young now says a 2023 release is looking more likely....
tesla carplay solution

Developer Showcases Apple CarPlay Workaround for Teslas

Monday January 17, 2022 7:24 am PST by
A Tesla Model 3 owner has resorted to a workaround to implement Apple CarPlay in his vehicle, amid no sign of official support from Tesla (via Tesla North). Apple CarPlay and Apple Music support are among the most-requested Tesla features, but with no indication that Tesla is willing to implement Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, Polish developer Michał Gapiński took matters into his own...
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...