Millions of Android users could be affected by this warning that should not be ignored

Android phones have a secret warning icon in the corner of their screens that many people have only just noticed.

Android phones have secret warning icon that many people have only just noticed
© SOPA Images - Getty Images
Android phones have secret warning icon that many people have only just noticed

It is most phone users' worst fear that they are being spied on in some way or that their privacy is being invaded. Many users have often wondered if their conversations are being picked up on or if their camera is in use without their knowledge.

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That’s why Android users are being alerted to a security feature on their phones, which many are not aware of. There is a warning icon that appears on screen that can indicate if a user’s phone is being manipulated by a rogue app or spying tool, and this is what you need to be on the lookout for.

Privacy dashboard

Google’s special inbuilt indicators will show if the microphone or camera is in use at any point so that users are aware that other people might be listening in. The feature was added back in Android 12, so check your settings to see that you are on this operating system or later.

The icons are in the top-right corner of the screen and usually in green. They appear as either a small microphone icon or camera icon – and sometimes both.

The feature is part of the Privacy Dashboard and it indicates that an app is currently using either your microphone or camera and you can tap the icon to find out more information. This will show you which apps have been using your camera or microphone and give you the option to revoke access should you want to.

Google explains how the feature can be used to keep track of your phone history, as per The Sun:

With the new Privacy Dashboard, users will have a simple and clear timeline view of the last 24 hour accesses to location, microphone and camera.

There will be times when you see these icons quite frequently and with good cause, when you are using WhatsApp or Instagram for instance. However, if they are there at strange times or when using an app that should have no need for your camera or microphone, it might be worth investigating further.

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iPhone privacy

iPhones have a very similar feature, which was introduced back in September 2020 with the iOS 14.These indicators also appear in the top-right of iOS but as tiny dots.

If you see a green dot then that means the iPhone camera is currently in use and an orange dot indicates the microphone.

To access permission settings for iPhone you will need to go to Settings and deny permissions for microphone or camera in the specific app settings.

Disabling these functions on each individual app on your phone rarely impacts the functionality of the app itself but will boost your privacy and security.

If you have any concerns about the permissions an app has, it might be worth doing some background checks on the app. Many apps are disingenuous and could be stealing your personal information for targeted ads or otherwise. If you are still unsure about an app it could be worth deleting it as it could be some kind of malware, as per Privacy Parent.

Read more:

WhatsApp users warned about huge changes that could come to the messaging app

Sources used:

- The Sun 'People are just realizing Android has secret ‘icon warning’ that millions should never ignore – it could be dangerous'

- Privacy Parent 'Block Access to Your Camera and Microphone'

Millions of android users warned over Google Chrome - check if your phone will be affected Millions of android users warned over Google Chrome - check if your phone will be affected