How To Guide What iPhone Symbols & Status Bar Icon Indicators Mean

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Ever wonder what all the icons and status symbols that sit in the iPhone status bar at the top of the screen mean? You’re really not alone, and while some of these little symbols make perfect sense, others can be a mystery even to long-time iPhone users. Sure, obvious ones like the cell bar signal (or a real numeric signal if you turned it on) and the 4G, LTE, battery, and Wi-Fi indicators are pretty self-explanatory, but what about the little circle you sometimes see? Or how about a moon icon or two interconnected circles? Or a little arrow pointing up and to the right?

Don’t let these status bar icons be a mystery, because Apple provides a nice little table in its official guide that organizes things and shows each individual icon and its meaning. However, since that user guide is a PDF file, most people will never see it, so we’ll quickly run through the table below.

The latest iPhone models with modern iOS have sophisticated status bar icons designed to quickly convey meaning, here’s what they are and what the icons represent, straight from the Apple iPhone User Guide:

iPhone status bar icons and what they mean

Meanings of iPhone status bar icons

In previous versions of the iPhone with iOS software, the status icons are almost the same, but they have colors and are only slightly different, as shown below:

iPhone status bar icons and symbols and their meanings

You’ll find that iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch have a lot of overlap with these icons, and most of the variation is due to whether or not the latter two devices have cell phone features. Yes, some icons will change slightly in iOS 7 and iOS 8 compared to how they appeared in previous versions of the operating system, but Apple will not reject the current precedent and the changes will be small enough to still make status icons identifiable to users.

This is from Apple’s official iPhone User Guide (PDF file), which can be quite a useful addition to iBooks on any iOS device if you want to save the pdf file locally on your phone for later use.

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