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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to tell when apps are accessing your camera and microphone on Android

How to tell when apps are accessing your camera and microphone on Android

access dots in the status bar

Privacy is a big topic when it comes to mobile devices. iPhones and iPads show small orange and green indicator icons when apps access the device’s camera or microphone. Here’s an Android app that can do the same.

Like the LED light on a webcam, the iPhone and iPad show colored dots in the status bar when an app is accessing the camera or microphone. Android shows when apps can access your location, but these indicators are missing.

RELATED: What are the orange and green dots on an iPhone or iPad?

The app we̵

7;ll be using to port this functionality to Android is called ‘Access Dots’. It mimics the colored dots present on iPhone and iPad. The app is easy to set up and gives you more information about what apps are doing in the background.

First install “Access Dots – iOS 14 cam / mic access indicators” from the Google Play Store on your Android phone or tablet.

entry points in the games

When you first open the app, you will be greeted by a switch to enable Access Dots. Turn it on to get started.

turn on the switch

Toggling the toggle will take you to the Android accessibility settings menu. For Access Dots to work, we need to run it as an accessibility service. Select it from the list of installed apps.

select access points

Then enable “Use Access Dots” to continue the function.

enable usage access points

A popup will ask you to confirm that you want to allow Access Dots to be on your device. Tap “Allow” if you agree.

tap allow to confirm

Now go back to the Access Dots app. The feature is already active, but you will probably want to make some adjustments. Tap the gear icon to open the settings.

tap the gear icon to open the settings

First, you can change the color of the dots by tapping the circles and choosing a different color from the picker.

change the color of the dots

Then you can decide where you want the indicator dot to appear. Select one of the locations (custom location requires an in-app purchase).

select a position

Finally, use the slider to adjust the size of the dot.

adjust the size of the dot

In addition to the indication dot, the app also keeps a log of apps that have had access to your camera and / or microphone. From the Access Dots main screen, tap the clock icon to view the history.

tap the clock icon to view the history

You will now see the colored dots when an app is using your camera or microphone.

access to dots in action

That’s all there is to it. This is a nice little app to keep track of apps that access your sensors in the background without your permission.

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