What the iPhone Symbols & Status Bar Icon Indicators Mean

Jun 18, 2013 - 64 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


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  1. Angela says:

    What doe the blue arrow pointing left directly BELOW the time in the text messaging screen on an I phone signify?
    Sometimes there is a number to the right of the blue arrow (2 or 3 etc.) what does that number stand for??? I can not find anything online to answer this. Thank you.

    • Paul says:

      Angela, the blue arrow below the clock when you’re in Messages is the “back” button. If there’s a number attached to the blue arrow back button, it means there are that number of unread messages within the Messages app.

  2. Lori joseph says:

    I have a an icon on my screen does not go away it has a hand with finger pointing up a button that speaks what is on screen. Also number 1/12 tjen goes to 2.

  3. Lori koseph says:

    I have a an icon on my screen does not go away it has a hand with finger pointing up a button that speaks what is on screen. Also number 1/12 tjen goes to 2.

  4. Shirley longhurst says:

    What is the red dot on the left of my access symbols?

  5. Charlotte says:

    That’s what I’m trying to find out!

  6. Fred says:

    In the control panel there is an icon that looks like TV remote. How does one use it? When I press it it starts a searching spnning wheel and nothing else happens. No reaction to pressiing yhe other icons: Menu. mike button, TV symbol. At the top it says “Choose a TV.

  7. Pratapchand surana says:

    All the icons have not been discussed

  8. L.Subramaniam says:

    How to turn off do not disturb

  9. Jeff says:

    No use – I have an icon in the top fpright corner below the battery icon that looks like a double on/off switch that only seems to appear on the unlocked screen and it fades in and out – what does it indicate?

  10. Tina says:

    Didnt help I have a triangle with an h in the middle what does this mean and how do I remove it . Please

  11. tim mahoney says:


  12. MizAZ says:

    Under my Service, Wifi, and Battery status icons is an icon that looks like two on/off sliders stacked on top of each other. What is that?

  13. AZ says:

    Under my Service, Wifi, and Battery status icons is an icon that looks like two on/off sliders stacked on top of each other. What is that?

  14. Tamra says:

    I had a icon that looks like head phones pop up next to my batter percentage. What is it and how do I get it off. I’ve never had it pop up before.

  15. Anishca says:

    Thank you, this is very helpful. Does the location services use data and will you recommend it being switched off instead? *A

  16. Teri Fields says:

    My Samsung phone has a hand in the top left corner as if to say ” stop” also the writing on the home page is written in Chinese

  17. Becky says:

    I have an iPhone 6, and today the Portrait Lock icon appeared on my phone. What’s up with that?

  18. Julie says:

    I have a purple bar across the top of my 6S and what looks to be a microphone on it – what does the microphone mean and where did the purple bar come from?

  19. Mishael says:

    Or better said it’s showing the battery life of your earpiece.

  20. Mishael says:

    Abby I have the same . Mine is on because my phone instantly connects to my clock radio by Bluetooth when I walk in the house .the battery is because I’m charging my earpiece that is also connected by Bluetooth. Hope it helps .

  21. Abby says:

    On the top of my screen there is a symbol and it’s a headphone Symbole but I don’t have my headphone connected or anything! And next to it is a little battery Symbole and I am so confused! Help!!

  22. jackie brake says:

    What does a white phone emblem along with another white phone emblem ringing mean on the top of my phone when i’m calling someone?

  23. Kathi says:

    How do I delete the TTY icon?

    • Sandy says:

      If you see in the status bar, it means that TTY is on. Choose Settings > Phone to turn TTY on or off.

  24. barry says:

    what does the three squiggly lines mean looks like a tire tread? And how do i remove?

  25. Laura says:

    What does the triangle with an exclamation mark mean on message +

  26. Faris says:

    Thank god your website really helps thanks!

  27. Anthony Das says:

    How to turn off location service ?
    I phone 5 s

  28. Christine says:

    What does TTY mean

  29. Ron says:

    I was fulling with old events, when I noticed the cell was on mute. I turned it up & the cell phone icon went away. Thank you

  30. Ron says:

    Picture of a slant cell phone, next to the signal bar. What is it & how the heaven did it get to be there. Huawei Boost Mobile service. Thank you Ron

  31. Karen vice says:

    Can I get a poster with all the icon maintenance ( Mojoes ) or a book

  32. Davidjpi says:

    My status bar is white on black for a while to the right of the LTE symbol was a long gray hot dog shaped element what was that?

  33. Eugene Brown says:

    What does a rectangle box that is leaning and has a little white line in it in the bottom of the box mean ( in the icon bar)?

  34. John says:

    My iPhone has a locked symbol on the status bar with a circle around it and my iPhone won’t allow me to turn on wifi

  35. 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?

  36. Brenda Thrower says:

    How do I turn “do not disturb” off

  37. 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

  38. 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.

  39. Vicky says:

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

  40. Tracy says:

    How do I turn off location services?

  41. Angela taylor says:

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

  42. Melissa says:

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

  43. 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.

  44. Kevin says:

    How do I get the TTY icon off!

  45. Cathy says:

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

  46. Bill Hall says:

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

  47. Greg Wallace says:

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

  48. Robin says:

    How do I get my screen unlocked from portrait orientation?

  49. Lou says:

    Very helpful

  50. 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.

  51. Pat says:

    This is very helpful. Thanks.

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