What the iPhone Symbols & Status Bar Icon Indicators Mean

Jun 18, 2013 - 8 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.

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, 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

8 Comments

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  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?

    • chris says:

      go to your home screen and swipe from the bottom up to top of your phone .. look for lock symbol top right and touch it.. the lock symbol will come off of your phone.. look next to batter ..

  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.

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