Apple’s release of macOS 12, known as Monterey, introduced a new data protection function to show when the microphone on a Mac or accessory is activated. This is indicated by a small virtual light on the right-hand side of the menu bar, allowing users to be aware of when an app or the system may be listening. However, there is a bug in the system where the orange dot indicating microphone access does not always deactivate when access has ended. This bug has persisted in both macOS 12 and macOS 13.
Despite numerous user complaints, Apple has yet to fix this issue. This bug has caused frustration for computer and video artists who use Macs for their installations, as the orange dot can appear on external displays and disrupt their work. An open source developer has created a tool that can completely deactivate the microphone indicator, but it requires deep system access.
However, there is a simple workaround to remove the broken microphone indicator without resorting to radical tools. The issue lies with Apple’s central macOS audio daemon, coreaudiod. By killing this process, the microphone indicator will disappear and the daemon will automatically restart. Killing coreaudiod can be done through the activity monitor or the terminal. It is important to avoid ending processes that the system needs, so using the terminal is the preferred method. By entering “sudo killall coreaudiod” in the terminal, confirming with an administrator password, the daemon will restart and the problem will be resolved.