Access Dots displays camera and microphone activity indicators on Android

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 22, 2020
Apps, Google Android

Access Dots is a free application for Google's Android operating system that displays camera and microphone activity indicators on the screen.

Apple unveiled a new version of its iOS operating system this year, and one of the new features of the operating system introduced activity indicators for cameras and microphones. Devices that run iOS 14 display green and orange dots in the top right corner of the screen when there is camera or microphone activity. The main idea behind the feature is to inform users when an application uses the microphone or the camera of the device.

While that is usually wanted by the user, e.g. when the camera application is opened or when a voice call is made, it could also happen that apps use the camera or the microphone covertly (after having given permission to them once).

Google introduced persistent indicators in Android 9 when devices need access to the camera or microphone, but these are easy enough to overlook or turn off.

Access Dots implements the privacy feature that Apple introduced in iOS 14 for Android devices. The app needs accessibility privileges as it uses these to determine whether the camera or the microphone is being used on the device. Once you have given the permission, it will show green and orange indicators on the screen whenever the camera or the microphone are being used.

You can test this by opening the camera app on the device; a green dot should be displayed for as long as the camera app is active. The application does not need to be started to display the indicators; as soon as it is installed, it starts to display the indicators.

Access Dots includes some settings that you access from the preferences page. Only some of the settings are available to all users, others become available only after you may a donation to the author.

The settings that all users have access to allow you to change the color of each dot and the position on the screen. Options to change the position to a custom one and to change the size of the dots are reserved for users who donated to the developer.

Access Dots keeps track of camera and microphone activity, and you can access the data in the access log. There you find a chronological list of all activity that the application detected on the device. For each, date and time, the name of the app, and the length of access, are displayed in the table.

The application displays advertisement in its interface, e.g. the access log or configuration.

Safe Dot is an alternative that provides similar functionality.

Closing Words

While it is best to only install and run apps on the device that don't use the camera or microphone covertly, or at all, it may be helpful to run an app like Access Dots for some time to find out if any of the installed applications misbehave in this regard. Keep the application active for a day or two to find out if any applications use the camera or microphone without you knowing about it, and then remove it again.

You could reset application permissions if that is possible on the device as well to block apps from using the camera or microphone in first place.

Now You: How useful are the two indicators, what is your take on this?

software image
Author Rating
3.5 based on 4 votes
Software Name
Access Dots
Operating System
Software Category
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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments ( Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [] and it appears there but as well here at []

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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