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Is Your iPhone Recording You? Here’s How to Tell

Michele Debczak
Marco_Piunti/iStock via Getty Images
Marco_Piunti/iStock via Getty Images / Marco_Piunti/iStock via Getty Images
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Since the dawn of the smart tech era, private conversations shared at home have become less private. You are reminded of that every time Siri butts into a conversation, or Instagram shows you an ad for the shoe brand you were discussing five minutes ago. If you're not willing to quit your iPhone cold turkey, there is a way to identify any secret recordings that may be happening on your device.

According to Lifehacker, your iPhone automatically tells you when the phone or microphone is active—you just have to know where to look. When your phone is taking a video recording, a green dot will appear in the top-right corner of the screen. For audio recordings, an orange dot will be visible in the same place. You can test the feature by launching your Camera and Voice Memo apps.

Seeing the recording symbol when snapping a selfie isn't unusual, but the dot can appear at unexpected times as well. Hundreds of apps have been known to eavesdrop on background audio to collect personal information for advertisers. If an orange circle shows up at the top of your screen when you're not recording anything, a sneaky app may be the culprit.

So what can you do to stop digital spies short of chucking your phone out the nearest window? Do your yourself (and any passing pedestrians) a favor and go to your iPhone's Settings page. From there you can open Privacy and tap Microphone to see which apps have permission to take audio recordings. Toggle off any permissions you want to revoke, and then head to Camera under Privacy and do the same for video permissions.

Of course, this only limits the access of third-party apps. You can't take away microphone and camera permission from your iPhone's standard features, like the Camera app. One step you can take is deactivating Listen for "Hey Siri" by going to Siri & Search under Settings. As long as the voice assistant is on, you can assume that your device is always listening to you. Here are more privacy tips for iPhone users.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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