Guide To Icons and Symbols on iPhone 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 symbols can be confusing and even worrying. So if you have ever asked yourself ‘what does this icon mean?’ read on to find out in our in-depth guide…

Where do you see these icons?

Icons appear in the status bar of your iPhone.

On the iPhone 8 and earlier models, they 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 orange or green circle icons on the status bar

This feature only appears on iOS 14.

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.

iOS status bar icons explained

Here is the full list of status bar icons used on iOS since the first iPhone release together with an explanation of what they mean.

Original iOS icon Current iOS icon Description Explanation
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.

If you see blue, green, or red in the status bar

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.

Status bar icons and symbols on the iPhone

There are a whole set of icons that appear along the top of your iPhone on the status bar.

Some symbols you may be aware of as you see them every day – such as the mobile/cell signal.

But others are more obscure.

I have put together a full list of icons and symbols you can expect to see on an iPhone.

It should explain what those odd-looking iPhone symbols mean.

iOS 6 and earlier

Which iPhone models are likely to have these icons?

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.

Did you find this article useful?

If you found this article helpful please take a moment to tweet, like, or share this article by using the buttons at the top of this page. I’d really appreciate it. :)

Also, if you are feeling extra generous after having your issue solved please leave some encouraging feedback in the comments section at the bottom of the page. I love getting feedback from visitors. It encourages me to find further solutions to those awkward little iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Mac problems that we all suffer from.

Thanks for taking the time to read my website and I hope to help you again soon!