Sonoma’s New Privacy Awareness Icons

That green video camera icon that appears in your menu bar when sending video in Sonoma isn’t the only one that can appear in that spot, and we’ve fielded questions from people who are surprised and confused by these icons appearing. Don’t worry; they aren’t an indication of malware on your Mac! Apple added them so you’d always be aware when an app was using your Mac’s camera or microphone, or recording the screen. You can think of them as an expansion of the tiny green LED that lights up next to the Mac’s camera when it’s in use.

The three icons you might see are: 

  • Green camera, which indicates that the Mac’s video camera is in use. The microphone may also be active, but that’s not indicated separately.
  • Orange microphone, which shows that the Mac’s mic is recording audio.
  • Purple screen, which tells you that an app is recording your screen. Beyond screen-sharing apps, other apps like screenshot utilities can trigger this icon.

Click the icon to see what app is involved. You could even see multiple apps listed at the top, if several apps are recording the screen, for instance.

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