Tech Tricks: My iPhone On iOS 14 Shows A Green Or Orange Dot In The Status Bar; What Does It Mean?

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Sep 09, 2023

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Tech Tricks: My iPhone On iOS 14 Shows A Green Or Orange Dot In The Status Bar; What Does It Mean?

In the ever-evolving world of technology, it's common to encounter new features and notifications on our devices. With the recent iOS 14 software update, Apple has introduced a unique addition to the iPhone's status bar - a green or orange dot. But what exactly do these dots signify?

The orange dot serves as an indicator that an app on your iPhone is currently accessing the device's microphone. It provides users with a visual cue, ensuring transparency and awareness regarding which apps are utilizing their microphone. This feature is particularly crucial in terms of privacy, as it allows users to know when their microphone is being accessed, potentially preventing unauthorized recordings or eavesdropping.

On the other hand, the green dot appears when an app is accessing your iPhone's camera. Similar to the orange dot, this visual cue aims to enhance user privacy and control over their device. By clearly indicating when the camera is in use, it empowers users to identify and address any potential privacy concerns related to camera access.

These new additions to the iOS 14 update highlight Apple's commitment to user privacy and data security. By providing users with clear notifications about microphone and camera access, Apple ensures that individuals have greater control over their personal information and can make informed decisions about app permissions.

While the introduction of the green and orange dots is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, it also raises broader questions about the role of technology in our lives. How can we further enhance user control and privacy in the digital landscape?

One potential solution lies in the concept of stigmergic social annotation. This framework, inspired by the principles of decentralization and open source software movements, aims to empower individuals in the collective quest for sensemaking. By creating a decentralized ecosystem for storing and querying stigmergic markers - the digital traces of human attention - this framework seeks to free human attention from control by platforms.

In the current platform-centric ecology, user annotations such as likes, retweets, and other forms of engagement are confined within platforms' data silos, primarily serving to optimize platform growth. However, the Open Source Attention (OSA) framework seeks to shift the focus from exploitation to support. It emphasizes the importance of stigmergic markers as indicators of epistemic value, whether for extractive purposes like ad-tech or constructive purposes like collective sensemaking.

OSA proposes the use of basic hypertext primitives such as emotional valence (likes), bi-directional links, span highlighting, semantic categorization (tags, bookmarks), and textual annotations as a starting point for freeing stigmergic markers. By introducing interoperable protocols and storage for these markers, diverse Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) apps can share data and contribute to collective sensemaking efforts.

However, the question of scale remains a significant challenge. To compete with massive, well-established platforms, OSA needs to adopt a "protocols, not platforms" approach. Instead of direct competition, OSA can leverage existing PKM growth to bootstrap Collective Knowledge Management (CKM). By introducing interoperable protocols and storage for stigmergic primitives, OSA can tap into the vast data from various PKM apps, fostering a collaborative and collective approach to sensemaking.

In conclusion, the green and orange dots on iOS 14 are valuable additions that enhance user privacy and control over their iPhones. They serve as visual cues, notifying users when their microphone or camera is being accessed by apps. However, these features also prompt us to consider broader issues surrounding user control and privacy in the digital realm.

The Open Source Attention framework offers a potential solution by freeing stigmergic markers from platform control. By leveraging basic hypertext primitives and interoperable protocols, OSA aims to empower individuals in collective sensemaking efforts. To implement this framework successfully, collaboration and adoption across diverse PKM apps are crucial.

To further enhance user control and privacy, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Regularly review app permissions: Take the time to review and modify app permissions on your device. By being proactive and selective about which apps can access your microphone and camera, you can ensure greater control over your personal information.
  • 2. Stay informed about privacy updates: Keep up-to-date with the latest software updates and features, particularly those related to privacy and security. By staying informed, you can take advantage of new tools and enhancements that protect your privacy.
  • 3. Support initiatives for decentralized and open-source technologies: Explore and support initiatives that prioritize user control and privacy, such as the Open Source Attention framework. By advocating for decentralized and open-source technologies, you contribute to the development of a more transparent and user-centric digital ecosystem.

By implementing these actionable steps and supporting initiatives like OSA, we can collectively work towards a future where user control and privacy are at the forefront of technological advancements.

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