What the iPhone Symbols & Status Bar Icon Indicators Mean
Ever wondered what all those status icons and symbols mean that sit in the iPhone status bar, along the top of the screen? You’re certainly not alone, and while some of those little symbols make perfect sense, others can be a bit of a mystery even to longtime iPhone users. Sure, the obvious ones like cell bars signal (or the true numerical signal if you enabled it) and the 4G, LTE, battery, and Wi-Fi indicators are pretty self explanatory, but what about that little circle you see sometimes? Or what about the moon icon, or the two interlinking circles? Or the little arrow that points up and to the right?
Don’t let those status bar icons be a mystery any longer, because Apple provides a nice little table in their official User Guide to sort things out, showing each individual icon and what they mean. Because that user guide is a PDF though, most people don’t ever see it, so we’re reproducing the table below for quick reference.
The newest iPhone models with modern iOS have refined status bar icons that are intended to convey a meaning quickly, here is what they are, and what the icons indicate, directly from the Apple iPhone user guide:
On prior versions of iPhone with iOS software the status icons are more or less the same but contain colors and are just a bit different, as seen below:
You’ll notice there is quite a bit of overlap with these icons on the iPhone and the iPad and iPod touch too, with most variation coming from whether the latter two devices are equipped with cellular capabilities or not. Yes, some of the icons are changing a little bit in iOS 7 and iOS 8 versus how they appeared in prior versions of the OS, but Apple isn’t abandoning existing precedent and the changes are minor enough for the status icons to still be recognizable to users.
This is from the official iPhone User guide from Apple (PDF file), which can be a pretty useful addition to iBooks on any iOS device if you want to save the pdf file locally to your phone for future reference.