What the iPhone Symbols & Status Bar Icon Indicators Mean

Jun 18, 2013 - 23 Comments

iPhone status bar icons and symbols

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:

iPhone status bar icons and what they mean

iPhone status bar icon meanings

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:

iPhone status bar icons and symbols and what they mean

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.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Pat says:

    This is very helpful. Thanks.

  2. george taylor says:

    What is: LTE, umts, umts/EV-DO, EDGE, GPRS/1XRIT
    personal hot spot, sync with iTunes, VPN, TTY, location service, ios device.

  3. Lou says:

    Very helpful

  4. Robin says:

    How do I get my screen unlocked from portrait orientation?

  5. Greg Wallace says:

    Swipe up from the bottom to the Controll panel and it’s the top far right icon.

  6. Bill Hall says:

    What’s the symbol between bluetooth and phone bars? Looks like a pair of hands holding a cylinder.

  7. Cathy says:

    I’ve had the same symbol as bill.
    Looking for answers too.
    iPhone 4s.

  8. Kevin says:

    How do I get the TTY icon off!

  9. tasha says:

    What does the icon mean that looks like a sheet of paper? It’s square with 3 lines on it straight across. The middle line is half way.

  10. Melissa says:

    What is the icon on the top of my iPhone 5c beside my battery % it’s a phone with dots under it

  11. Angela taylor says:

    What is the icon at the top that is a lock with a arrow clockwise around the lock.

  12. Tracy says:

    How do I turn off location services?

  13. Vicky says:

    Now I can come to this page and find out myself and not look like an idiot thank you very much

  14. Bee says:

    The iPhone 4S has begun having a cyan blue bar at the top which is where the signals like ATT, the wifi-bar, and battery indicator are displayed. But that bar didn’t used to be CYAN; it must have been black so I hadn’t thought about it before. Does anyone know the meaning of this change on a phone? I just want to be sure it isn’t signalling anything.

  15. Ron says:

    Siri has no volume. I downloaded 9.0 and I can not get any volume out of the program. It just gives a vibration when I click on it respond in words but no volume any help here

    Thank you

  16. Brenda Thrower says:

    How do I turn “do not disturb” off

  17. Patsy says:

    I cannot receive or send text to some iphone users and some I can. If they do receive it, it is sent as a text message and in green not blue. My sister and I both of iphones and we are not receiving each others text and we don’t have each other blocked. Any ideas?

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