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Guide To iPhone Symbols And Icons On The Status Bar

The iPhone has icons at the very top of the screen to show you features that are enabled.

Some are obvious – like Wifi or signal strength. Other icons can be confusing and even worrying. So if you have ever asked yourself ‘what do the symbols mean on my iPhone?’ read on to find out in our in-depth guide…

Where do you see these symbols?

The iPhone icons and symbols appear in the status bar.

On the iPhone 8 and earlier models, the status bar icons appear along the top edge of the screen.

iPhone 7 status bar


On iPhone X and later, only some of the icons appear in the top-left or top-right corner of the screen on either side of the notch. Due to the notch placement not all of the symbols mentioned below appear due to the lack of space.

iPhone X status bar

If you see an orange or green circle

This feature only appears on iOS 14 or newer.

To enhance security and provide detailed information on your device Apple has added an indicator in the status bar that tells you when your camera or microphone is switched on.

This is handy as you know when Apps take over control of these functions without your knowledge.

orange light in status bar
The orange indicator on an iPhone status bar


An orange indicator microphone on status bar icon means the microphone is being used by an app on your iPhone .

green light in status bar
The green indicator on an iPhone status bar

A green indicator  Camera and microphone on status bar icon means either the camera or the camera and the microphone are being used by an app on your iPhone.

If you see blue, green, or red bubble

On iPhone X and later, the color shows as a bubble behind the time. On iPhone 8 or earlier, the color goes all the way across the status bar. Here’s what each color means:

ios12-time-status-sharing-hotspotYour iPhone is either providing a Personal Hotspot or an app is actively using your location.

ios12-time-status-on-a-callYou’re on a call.

ios12-time-status-recording-screenYour iPhone is either recording sound or your screen.

iOS symbols explained

The battery symbol always appears in the top right with another iPhone icon next to battery, usually signal strength or WiFi.

The iPhone call symbols meaning depends on the icon shown but normally indicates the type of cellular network in use – such as 3G, 4G or 5G. It can also show if call forwarding is enabled.

If you ever thought “what are the symbols on my iPhone?” the table shows the full list. It includes status bar icons used on iOS since the first iPhone release together with the phone symbols meaning.

Original iOS icon Current iOS icon Description What does this symbol mean on my iPhone?
original cell signal icon current cell strength symbol Mobile/Cell signal Shows whether you’re in range of the cellular network and can make and receive calls. The more bars, the stronger the signal. If there’s no signal, the bars are replaced with “No service.”
original airplane mode icon current airplane mode symbol Airplane mode Shows that airplane mode is on—you cannot use the phone, access the Internet, or use Bluetooth® devices. Non-wireless features are available.
original lte icon current lte symbol LTE Shows that your carrier’s LTE network is available, and iPhone can connect to the Internet over that network. (iPhone 5. Not available in all areas.)
Not used current 5G icon 5G E Shows that your carrier’s 5G E (GSM) network is available, and iPhone can connect to the Internet over that network. (iPhone 8 or later. Not available in all areas.)
original 4g icon current 4g symbol UMTS Shows that your carrier’s 4G UMTS (GSM) network is available, and iPhone can connect to the Internet over that network. (iPhone 4S or later. Not available in all areas.)
original 3g icon current 3g symbol UMTS/EV-DO Shows that your carrier’s 3G UMTS (GSM) or EV-DO (CDMA) networkis available, and iPhone can connect to the Internet over that network.
original edge icon current edge symbol EDGE Shows that your carrier’s EDGE (GSM) network is available, andiPhone can connect to the Internet over that network.
original gprs icon current gprs symbol GPRS/1xRTT Shows that your carrier’s GPRS (GSM) or 1xRTT (CDMA) network is available, and iPhone can connect to the Internet over that network.
original wifi icon current wi-fi strength symbol Wi-Fi Shows that iPhone is connected to the Internet over a Wi-Fi network. The more bars, the stronger the connection.
original do not disturb icon current do not disturb symbol Do Not Disturb Shows that “Do Not Disturb” is turned on.
original hotspot icon current hotspot enabled symbol Personal Hotspot Shows that iPhone is connected to another iPhone providing a Personal Hotspot.
original synch icon current device syncing symbol Syncing Shows that iPhone is synchronising with iTunes.
original network activity icon current network activity symbol Network activity Shows network activity. Some apps also use the icon to show an active process.
original call forwarding icon current call forwarding symbol Call Forwarding Shows that Call Forwarding is set up on iPhone.
original vpn active icon current vpn symbol VPN Shows that you’re connected to a network using VPN.
original lock icon Not used Lock Shows that iPhone is locked. This icon is not used in iOS 11.
original tty icon current tty symbol TTY Shows that iPhone is set to work with a TTY machine.
original music playing icon Not used Play Shows that a song, audiobook, or podcast is playing. This icon is no longer used in iOS 11.
original portrait lock icon current portrait lock symbol Portrait orientation lock Shows that the iPhone screen is locked in portrait orientation.
original alarm set icon current alarm set symbol Alarm Shows that an alarm is set.
original location services in use icon current location services symbol Location Services Shows that an item is using Location Services.
original bluetooth icon current bluetooth symbol Bluetooth Blue or white icon: Bluetooth is on and paired with a device.
Gray icon: Bluetooth is on and paired with a device, but the device is out of range or turned off.
No icon: Bluetooth is turned off.
original bluetooth battery icon current bluetooth battery symbol Bluetooth battery Shows the battery level of a supported paired Bluetooth device.
original battery charging icon current battery charging status icon Battery Shows battery level or charging status.
Not used current car play icon Car Play Your iPhone is connected to CarPlay.
Not used current dual sim status bar icon Dual SIM Signal On your iPhone with Dual SIM capability, you’re in range of your cellular network and can make and receive calls. If there’s no signal, “No service” appears.
Not used current WiFi call symbol WiFi Call Your iPhone has WiFi calling enabled. This allows you to make phone calls via the WiFi network rather than the GSM network.
Not used current airplay symbol Airplay Airplay is switched on and is ready to wirelessly connect to nearby devices. This allows you to play music and video on a connected device.
Not used current voice control symbol Voice control Voice control for your device is switched on.
Not used current siri eyes free symbol Siri Eyes Free Siri optimized for use in a car is enabled. This allows you to make voice requests hands and eye free.

There are no specific Verizon symbols on iPhone. In fact, all the icons are the same regardless of which carrier you use.

You can find out more about setting up and using iPhone here. You can also get support on other issues in our in-depth how-to guides.

Which iPhone models are likely to have these symbols?

iOS 6 and earlier

The iPhones that may have iOS 6 or earlier and will show these icons are:

iPhone 3G:

This model can only be upgraded to iOS 4.2.1 and will definitely display the icons shown in the table above.

iPhone 3GS:

Can only be upgraded to 6.1.6 and will also definitely show the symbols above.

iPhone 4:

Shipped with iOS 4 but can be upgraded to iOS 7.1.2. So if your phone hasn’t been upgraded to the latest operating system it may show the icons above.

iPhone 4S:

This model shipped with iOS 5 but can be upgraded to iOS 9. Like the iPhone 4 it may show the symbols above if it hasn’t been upgraded.

iPhone 5:

The iPhone 5 shipped with iOS 6 but can be upgraded to iOS 10. This may show the icons in the table if not updated to latest iOS.

You will see the icons listed in the leftmost column of the table.

iOS 7 and later

Which iPhone models are likely to have these icons?

If you have an iPhone 5S or newer you are going to see the icons listed in the middle column of the table.

Any changes made to the icons or symbols since iOS 7?

There are no changes in the status bar symbols on the Apple iPhone between iOS 7 and iOS 12.

As mentioned above, there was a major change between iOS 6 and iOS7.

One of the interesting things to note is that the lock and play symbols were removed from the status bar when Apple redesigned iOS 7. Apart from that, the other major change is in the design which has been flattened and simplified.

14 thoughts on “Guide To iPhone Symbols And Icons On The Status Bar”

  1. LiL-Bit Confused!

    I am seeing things that I have never seen before in my Settings. I believe someone has my Apple ID and changing things in my phone. I had certain pictures saved and now some of them are different, by color or the wording I did in Word, changed! I can not save a password nor Email period!! I had a text message I was working on and was sending it when, right in front of my eyes it changed colors and the text message changed wording! It was unbelievable! I worry now how things can be thought of one way, when it perceives to be another. It looks like a lot if info for a
    Developer and I am not even close! I can’t keep an email much less understand what I am seeing. Can the software update make this happen? Or is someone else sharing my device that I’m not aware of? HELPless!

  2. Glenda Brownfield Schmidt

    I got a star right above my battery symbol the other day. It was only there for about 5 minutes and disappeared. I can’t find what it was anywhere. Do you know? It was just a bit larger than the battery symbol and was yellow.
    Thank you

  3. Not for my problem. I have 2 tiny hyphens on the upper right hand side of my screen! How can I get rid of them please?

    1. Kevin Craighead

      It sounds like the network hotspot icon. It means your iPhone has been set up as a mobile internet hotspot that other devices could use. To disable it go to Settings > Personal Hotspot > And Turn off ‘Allow others to join’. Turning this off also has the additional benefit of reducing battery useage.

    1. Kevin Craighead

      Tap Photos and pick the first photo you want to send. Tap the icon at the bottom left. Scroll through your photos and tap the others you want to share. At the bottom tap the Mail icon. Address the email message and send it.

  4. You’re so awesome! I don’t think I’ve truly read through anything like this
    before. So nice to discover someone with some unique thoughts on this issue.
    Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is something that
    is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

  5. When I was low on battery iPhone SE, it showed the battery 1%, an almost empty battery symbol and butted up to the battery on the right where the lightning symbol resides if charging was a small green rectangle. I’m wondering what that is.

    1. Kevin Craighead

      Is this in the control center? If so, it’s a little iPhone icon, green to show your phone is providing the communication path for the watch.

  6. Marian Williams

    While reading my email,I noticed a little file box at the bottom. Is that for archiving or actually filing in docs?

    1. Kevin Craighead

      The little box that looks like a file (which is second in from the left) is for moving the message to a different folder within the email App. It doesn’t put it in a doc folder.

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