I recently noticed a small red dot on my iPhone camera and was immediately confused. I was sure I hadn’t seen it before, and it wasn’t something I’d put there myself. After some research and testing, I found out that the red dot is an indication that the camera’s microphone has been disabled – a feature that Apple added with the release of iOS 14. In this blog post, I’ll explain why the red dot appears, how you can enable or disable the microphone, and other solutions I discovered during my research.
|Red Dot on Selfie Camera||Proximity sensor and/or ambient light sensor (ALS)||Understand that it’s a normal part of the iPhone and not a cause for concern|
|Blinking Red Light||Infrared projector in use||Know that it’s usually unnoticeable and only indicates that iPhone is checking for facial recognition and continued usage|
|Blinking White Dot||Lens reflection or ambient light sensor||No action required; it’s a normal occurrence|
|Sensor Issues||Dust, screen protector, or case||Restart iPhone, clean screen, remove screen protector and case, update iOS|
|Cracked iPhone Screen||Pressure affecting sensors||Have iPhone replaced or repaired|
|Orange or Green Dot||Microphone or camera usage by an app||Check settings or control center to identify which apps have recently used camera or microphone|
So What’s the Dot I See on My Selfie Camera?
People have reported seeing some sort of red or infrared dot in their selfie camera, especially in low light settings or dark rooms. If you’re worried this means your front-facing camera is on and recording you, relax. Your camera isn’t watching you; it’s your proximity sensor and/or your ambient light sensor (ALS) at work.
The proximity and light sensor can be found near the front camera at the top of your iPhone. This is a common feature in phones nowadays and in many cases, the proximity sensor and ambient light sensor are the same hardware device.
The proximity sensor is placed there so it can recognize nearby objects like your face or ear when you’re on a call and protect your screen. It’s built to shut the screen off so that objects don’t accidentally click unwanted apps or buttons while saving battery power at the same time.
The ambient light sensor, on the other hand, regulates your screen brightness according to the light environment of your phone.
What’s more, you’ll need these sensors when you’re using the Face ID feature.
Why Is This Dot Blinking?
If the sensor at the top of your phone is blinking, there can be a few explanations for this.
- Red Light
Indicates that an infrared projector is at work. This usually means your sensors are currently in use. You can see the red light in certain settings when you’re activating your Face ID as Apple uses a combination of sensors and cameras for their TrueDepth system.
The red light should normally be unnoticeable. If you find it odd that the light is on while you’re using your phone, this just indicates that your iPhone is checking for facial recognition and continued usage.
- White Dot
When people report a white dot on their camera, it is usually just lens reflection. The bright lights in your environment are bouncing off your camera lens. If you can identify that it’s not your camera, it may be the ambient light sensor at work.
There’s Something Wrong With the Sensors
Now that you’ve identified what these lights can mean you may be noticing some other issues with your iPhone such as constant flickering, or accidental touches, during phone calls.
If you’re worried about your sensors bugging out or your Face ID not acting up to par, you can take a few steps before you contact Apple Support.
- Restart Your iPhone
This is usually the first fix for many phone issues. Restarting your phone can sort out common bugs and glitches, so it should be the first action you take.
- Clean Your Screen
If your phone is still acting buggy after a restart, it’s possible that dust has accumulated on top of your sensors and you just need to wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. Focus on the top section near your camera, as that’s where your sensors are.
- Remove the Screen Protector and Case
In line with cleaning your screen, dust and grime that collects along your phone case and screen protector can make certain features of your iPhone act up.
You may have to remove the screen protector and case of your phone and give it a deep clean. You can also sanitize it with a cloth or phone wipes.
- You Have a Cracked iPhone Screen
If you’ve done the steps above and notice a crack on your iPhone screen, this may be the cause behind your sensors bugging out. The pressure may be affecting the functionality of your sensors.
This likely indicates you need to have your iPhone replaced or repaired.
- Update Your iOS
Apple is constantly pushing out updates and your software may no longer be as good as it was before. You can be encountering software issues from a previous update. It’s best to update to the latest stable iOS you can to maximize your phone’s functionality.
What You Should Really Look Out For
Read more: Why is my iPhone suddenly lagging?
If, after having read all this, you’re worried about your privacy and safety, you can rest easy after the iOS 14.4 update.
Look out for orange (often mistaken as red) or green dots on your status bar just above your cell service. An orange dot indicates an app is using your microphone, while a green dot means your camera (and microphone!) is being used.
You can go through your settings or access the control center via swiping down from the top right corner to learn which apps have recently used your camera or microphone.
Now that we’ve cleared up why there’s a red dot on your iPhone camera, we hope reading this has sorted out any strange dots or lights you don’t recognize!