What do the symbols at the top of an Android mean?

Android is a popular mobile operating system developed by Google. At the top of every Android device is a status bar that displays important information and notifications. This status bar contains a variety of icons that provide users with quick information about their device’s battery, connectivity, notifications, and more.

The icons in the Android status bar allow users to see key details about their device with just a glance. Understanding what these symbols mean can help you quickly gather information about your Android device.


The battery icon in the status bar at the top of an Android device shows the remaining battery charge level and charging status. When the phone is unplugged, the battery icon displays a visual representation of the percentage of battery left, with an empty battery outline indicating low charge and a full solid green battery indicating a full charge.

When the phone is plugged in and charging, the battery icon displays a lightning bolt or flashing charge lines inside the battery outline. The amount of charge filled in with green indicates how far along the charge is. Once fully charged, the lightning bolt disappears and the battery icon becomes completely filled in and solid green.1

Different Android manufacturers may use slightly different battery icons, but the basic meaning is the same – the icon communicates remaining charge level and charging status at a glance in the status bar.

Signal Strength

The signal strength icons in the status bar indicate the strength of the cellular network connection[1]. The icons show a set of bars, typically ranging from 1 to 4 bars. More bars represent a stronger signal, while fewer bars indicate a weaker signal.

On Android phones, the signal strength icons can represent different cellular network technologies depending on your carrier and location, such as:[2]

  • 4G LTE
  • 4G HSPA+
  • 3G UMTS

Newer network technologies like 4G and LTE can offer faster data speeds and lower latency. But connectivity and performance will still depend on having more signal bars in the status icon.

If there are no bars shown at all, it means there is no cellular network signal and you are disconnected from voice/data services. Having only 1 bar indicates a weak signal that may result in lower quality calls and slow data speeds.


The Wi-Fi icon indicates the status of your device’s Wi-Fi connection.1 When connected to a Wi-Fi network, the icon will show bars to indicate the signal strength – the more bars, the stronger the signal. A crossed out or disconnected Wi-Fi icon means your device currently does not have an active Wi-Fi connection.

The Wi-Fi icon may also show additional symbols:

– Arrows pointing up indicate data is being uploaded
– Arrows pointing down indicate data is being downloaded
– A lock symbol means you are connected to a secure Wi-Fi network

These extra indicators provide more detail about your Wi-Fi connection status and activity at a glance.


The Bluetooth icon at the top of an Android device indicates whether Bluetooth is turned on and if any devices are connected via Bluetooth. When Bluetooth is off, the icon will not appear at all on the status bar.

When Bluetooth is turned on but no devices are connected, the icon will display as an outlined Bluetooth symbol in gray or white. This indicates Bluetooth is ready to connect to devices.

When actively connected to a Bluetooth device like headphones or a smartwatch, the icon turns blue. The symbol may also show animated icons indicating it is pairing or syncing data with the connected device.

A flashing blue Bluetooth icon means the connection is not stable. This could happen when connected devices move out of range. Try moving closer to the Bluetooth device to restore a solid connection, indicated by a static blue icon.

Having Bluetooth turned on does use slightly more battery versus having it off completely. But the difference is usually minimal, especially if no active connections are maintained. Turning it off may help conserve battery life when not needed.

Airplane Mode

Airplane mode is a setting on Android phones that disables all wireless network connections including cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and more. When airplane mode is enabled, the airplane icon will display in the status bar at the top of the screen.

The airplane icon indicates that all radios that emit wireless signals have been turned off. This prevents potential interference with sensitive equipment on airplanes and other locations where radio signals are restricted. Enabling airplane mode turns off calling, texting, data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other connectivity features.

Airplane mode is useful for situations when you don’t want your phone making or receiving calls/messages and don’t need online access. It helps preserve battery since it shuts down power-draining connectivity features. The setting allows use of offline features like games, music, videos, and more while flying. Users can manually re-enable Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth in airplane mode if permitted by the airline.

In summary, the airplane icon means airplane mode is on and your phone cannot connect to any wireless networks until the setting is disabled. Tapping the airplane icon in the status bar will toggle airplane mode on or off.


The alarm icon shows up in the status bar when you have an alarm set on your Android device. It’s a visual reminder that you have an upcoming alarm scheduled. The alarm icon usually looks like a clock.

The alarm icon will persist in your status bar even after the alarm goes off, until you manually disable or delete the alarm. This is so you don’t forget that the alarm is still enabled. If you snooze your alarm instead of turning it off, the icon will remain as well.

To remove the alarm icon from your status bar, you need to open the Clock app and delete or disable any upcoming alarms that are set. You can also long press on the alarm icon and select “Delete all alarms” to quickly turn off any active alarms. This will immediately remove the icon from your status bar.

Some people find the persistent alarm icon annoying if they only have a single alarm set, like for their morning wake up. But it’s intended as a helpful visual cue by the Android OS developers. If the icon is stuck even with no alarms set, try rebooting your phone to refresh the status bar.

Overall, the alarm icon is there to remind you that you have an upcoming alarm, and won’t disappear until you cancel the alarm. It’s an intended feature of Android to provide at-a-glance info about your device in the status bar.


The sync icon on Android phones represents synchronization of data between the device and cloud services. When data is syncing, you may see an animated arrow icon indicating the process is active (Source 1). Syncing allows data like contacts, calendar events, emails, photos, and other files to stay up to date across multiple devices and the cloud.

Some examples of sync icons in Android include two curved arrows forming a circle for general syncing, overlapping rectangles resembling a chain link for Google Drive sync, and a cloud with a downward arrow for syncing from the cloud (Source 2). Tapping the sync icon typically opens sync settings to manage what gets synced and see details on the last sync.


The voicemail icon on Android phones indicates there are new voicemail messages waiting (Voicemail notification alert | Join the discussion, ask …, 2021). When you see this icon, it means someone has left a message for you that you can listen to by accessing your voicemail box.

The icon typically shows an envelope and/or numerical badge indicating the number of unheard messages. For example, you may see a “5” displayed on the envelope icon, meaning you have 5 new voicemails waiting. Tapping on the voicemail notification will usually open the phone app and direct you straight to your voicemail so you can hear the messages.

This icon displays whenever you miss a phone call that results in a new voicemail being left. It acts as a handy visual reminder to check your messages. Without it, you’d have to remember to manually check your voicemail periodically to see if anyone left new messages.

The voicemail icon and notification feature varies slightly between Android manufacturers and service carriers. For example, certain brands may use a different looking icon or display the number of waiting messages in a different location. But in general, whenever you see this icon it indicates you have new voicemails to check.

Other Status Icons

Other common status icons that may appear in the status bar include:https://www.makeuseof.com/android-phone-icons/

Mute – Indicates that all sounds except alarms and media are silenced.https://www.lifewire.com/what-are-android-status-bar-icons-4774877

Do Not Disturb – Notifications will be silenced to avoid disturbance.https://www.makeuseof.com/android-phone-icons/

Location In Use – An app is actively using your location data.

Screen Casting – Your screen is being casted or mirrored to another device.

Hotspot In Use – Mobile hotspot is active and sharing your data connection.

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