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What the status and notification icons on Android actually mean

AndroidPIT samsung galaxy note 9
© NextPit

It seems that the icons in the status and notification bar get shaken up with every major Android update, sometimes changing appearance or disappearing entirely. If you find yourself not knowing what some of these icons mean, do not worry. You're not alone! We're here to help make sense of these unintelligible glyphs.

Because Android smartphone makers customize the user interface on their devices, even the most commonly used icons may differ from one brand to another. Also, chances are high you are reading this article because you are confused about a specific icon on your smartphone that you can't make sense of. To quickly check what it might be, you can use the jump to links below to quickly see if the icon in question has been listed. If the icon you're looking for isn't listed on your smartphone's manual, chances are high you will find them on Google's font page anyway.

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Status bar and notification bar: What is the difference?

The status bar

The status bar and the notification bar are very similar, but in reality, they are two different things. The status bar is located at the top of the display, on the right. This is where you will see things like the current time, battery status, and current connections (Bluetooth, cellular network, and Wi-Fi). The Notification bar, on the other hand, is located on the upper left side, where you'll find app icons to alert you to new messages, updates to the Play Store, and other notifications. 

So, if you listen to music via Spotify or, the corresponding icon will be displayed on the notification bar. Usually, the sequence of the icons indicates how new or old the notifications are. The most recent notifications are displayed on the far left.

AndroidPIT Facebook notification settings 1
The status bar shows you the current time, the battery status, and the connections / © NextPit

The notification bar and drawer

The notification bar also contains notifications, which you can open with a swipe-down gesture. This gesture reveals a lot of information – the example of which includes recent screenshots, a WhatsApp message, Facebook notifications, and email alerts. You can then clock the notification to open the corresponding app or simply swipe to the right or left to dismiss the notification. 

Modern Android versions allow users to respond directly within the notification without the need to open the app that sent the notification. For example, you can reply to a WhatsApp message from within the notification bar without the need to open WhatsApp app. 

In addition to the notifications, another set of important things you can access from this swipe-down gesture are the quick settings toggles. From here, you can quickly turn on/off a feature without having to go to the settings menu. Some of the most common things you can change from here include enabling and disabling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other connections, turning on/off the hotspot, toggling the auto-rotate option, and switching on the flashlight.  If you press and hold down an icon, you will enter the settings for this function. 

Most manufacturers also customize the quick settings themselves. Therefore, there are always several options here. Fortunately, the selection can be personalized to your tastes and habits, so you always have access to the most important settings for you. Also, you can always disable annoying or uninteresting notifications just by long-pressing an alert. This will open a small menu where you can choose how you want to be notified by the app.

android 10 icons
Here's how the icons look on stock Android 10. Things haven't changed too much on Android 11 / © NextPit

The most common notification and status icons by manufacturers

Below, we take a look at some of the most commonly used notification and status icons that you may come across while using your smartphone. We have listed most of the prominent smartphone brands and their custom Android skins below. Whilst these customizations don't fundamentally change the way the status and notification icons look or react, you can often find options that are exclusive to the software you are running.

Samsung (One UI)

Samsung's user manual includes a list of symbols that are usually displayed on the notification bar. Check the image below to see the most important ones.

samsung icons 2
The common icons you would see on Samsung smartphones running OneUI / © Samsung

Xiaomi/ Redmi/ Poco

Here are the most commonly used status icons on Xiaomi smartphones. These icons will be seen on almost all devices from the company that run MIUI. This includes sub-brands like Poco and Redmi as well.

MIUI status icons
Status icons you will come across on phones running MIUI from Xiaomi/ © Xiaomi

OnePlus

These are the icons you will encounter while using OnePlus smartphones that run the company's own Android skin – OxygenOS.

OnePlus Icons
The common icons on OnePlus' OxygenOS / © OnePlus

Huawei/ Honor (EMUI)

Honor might have separated from Huawei, but as of 2021, some of you might still be using Honor devices that run EMUI. The most commonly used status icons on EMUI are listed below.

Huawei Status Icons
These are the common icons you would encounter on Huawei and Honor smartphones that run EMUI/ © Huawei

Stock Android (for Google, Nokia, Motorola, Sony, and Asus smartphones)

If you happen to be an Android purist who prefers the stock Android experience, chances are high you would own either a Google Pixel smartphone or one of the many devices that offer the stock Android experience. The brands that offer the stock Android experience to users include Nokia, Motorola, Sony, and even Asus. 

Some of the icons that you will encounter on stock Android are listed in the image below. While these icons are from Android 11, most of these have remained unchanged since Android 10 and will not be changing even on Android 12.

notification icons Android 11
Some of the most used Android notification icons as of Android 11 / © Google

In case the icon that you are looking for isn't listed above, Google has a comprehensive list of icons that are part of Android 11 on its Fonts portal. This page lists all the icons that you will encounter on your Android phone. It is divided into multiple sections, some of which are listed below. 

Have you ever seen a notification or an icon that you just can't figure out the meaning of? Describe it in the comments, and let us know what type of phone you have!

Rahul Srinivas

Rahul Srinivas

Among the most experienced tech journalists from India, Rahul has spent the better part of the past decade writing and experiencing technology. In his decade-long career, Rahul has contributed to several Indian and International publications, including Mobilegeeks, Onlygizmos, iPhoneHacks, and The Inquisitr. Before joining NextPit, he held the position of Senior Editor at MySmartPrice - one of India's largest product research platforms.

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  • Adalaide Paterson 4 months ago Link to comment

    I have a oppo 94 5g mobile and there is a upside down pear symbol with white at the bottom on my notification bar can you tell me what it could be please.


  • Sparkerlife 4 months ago Link to comment

    I have a note 21 ultra and a notification that I belive may be restarting my phone is an "s" with eyes.

    What is this??


  • irvincamp 7 months ago Link to comment

    This will be a long shot but I really hope someone knows what it is. I have a Maxwest Neo LTE flip phone and there a notification icon that (to me) looks like a champaign top & cork
    going into a notch in a rectangle that looks like the top edge of the bottle.
    So basically the bottom half of the icon is a horizontal rectangle with a square notch in the
    top center. In the notch is a vertical rectangle (the cork) with a horizontal rectangle on top
    of the cork like the top of a champaign bottle.
    I've written to Maxwest but they doesn't have any customer service people. I went through
    most of the settings on the phone and made changes and couldn't get the icon to go away.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Irv


  • STEPHEN WOLFE 8 months ago Link to comment

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra; white dot inside white circle, 3 curved small lines on outside, almost looks like a radar emitting signals?


  • Sue Schneider 9 months ago Link to comment

    I have a Moto Edge 2020 at the top right I see an icon I've never seen before. I have, from right to left, the time, battery level and battery icon, data level, WI Fi level, and the one I have no idea about is simply a small filled in dot. It's not dirt or anything I can't wipe off. The camera is in a large black "dot" on the far left upper corner. This is a much smaller black dot I can't come up with a meaning for. Any ideas?


    • Alikat 8 months ago Link to comment

      I have this same little pin head dot and I'm trying to find out what it means. If you do figure it out, please let me know.


  • ann 9 months ago Link to comment

    I have the samsung galaxy S21 (Samsung SM-G781U1) and the icon is a speaker notes icon i believe (that is what it says when i look it up) however i dont know what that is or where it comes from. it is like a message icon shaped the same but has three lines in it the top two are the same the bottom one is shorter and it has a dot by each line which makes it look like bullet points. the icon is white the lines and dots are black


  • Confusedashell1234 10 months ago Link to comment

    Trying to figure out what the circle with a smile icon is


    • Maz Brown 10 months ago Link to comment

      Is that not Upday news ? It comes with Samsung or Bixby which is built in with your phone. You can disable it.


  • Lorna Spies 10 months ago Link to comment

    We have a Samsung Galaxy A22 5g, there's an icon top left, next to the time, it looks like the signal icon, but has a question mark on the left. Since this afternoon we have no Internet. Can someone please help?


    • Maz Brown 10 months ago Link to comment

      That is telling your WiFi is off or you aren't getting phone signal for your mobile data. Go to settings > Wifi> Connections and look for your Router, put in your routers password and you should connect to your WiFi. Hope this helps. If you are using your phone data then make sure you have mobile data switched on :)


  • Tooltimegirl10 10 months ago Link to comment

    It appears that your questions go unanswered anyway. But I still will give this a shot period and the face page the very first one that appears black with say your time on it Before you activate it I have a camera icon that I don't understand it is the camera with an arrow up along the side of it I have an Android 7 I believe


  • Kindred 11 months ago Link to comment

    I have a Nord 100 and in the notifications on the top left shows a head with shoulders and + sign to the right of it


  • Joseph Stilwell 11 months ago Link to comment

    Samsung galaxy a32 5g with a shield with a lightning bolt inside.


  • Jon S. Dec 2, 2021 Link to comment

    Looks like an eye in the top right of screen, next to the 4g notification. It showed up for a second and then left soon after. I have a samsung a10e


  • M P Nov 24, 2021 Link to comment

    i have a nokia 7.1 mobile and have a notification icon which is a head and shoulders with a plus sign


  • Stllwatn Oct 23, 2021 Link to comment

    I have an LG G3 Android smartphone it won't hold a charge and it won't charge and there's a arrow indicators pointing to one side of the phone


  • Art she Oct 7, 2021 Link to comment

    I have a Google Pixel 4a-5g. In the top right corner I now have a icon that appears to be what looks like a ekg symbol, or heartbeat line with a slanted line through it. Like it's turned off. I noticed this as now my camera app isn't loading.


    • Ravon Rayne 9 months ago Link to comment

      Did you find a solution to this? I have the same exact problem and can't find any information online.


      • My cell 8 months ago Link to comment

        Did you find. Solution to the squiggly symbol with a slanted line?

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