What Does Arrow Icon Mean? Location Services Explained

Do you see an arrow icon at the top of your screen? Is it sometimes blue, sometimes hollow? And are you wondering what this icon means? That means that your phone is currently accessing your location. This icon can be in different format/colors. Different colors mean different things. This article explains what these different color arrow icons mean and how you can disable, if you want to do so.

location services arrow icon

In short, when you enable Location Services, a black or white-hollow arrow icon may appear indicating that your device is using Location Services (e.g., maps, Camera, weather apps, etc). When you enable your Location Services, you are letting your iOS device determine your location. Your iPhone or iPad uses GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile networks to obtain the most accurate location. When you disable this, it will be disabled for all apps.

Some apps may need this enabled as they may use this information to work correctly. For instance, you may set up location based reminders. Or Find My iPhone will not work if you disable Location Services. Without Location Services, you may not be able to use map apps. You may enable or disable this for certain apps. Note that Location Services may drain your battery.

Arrow icons

As I stated above, if you see this arrow icon, that means that your iPhone is accessing your location:

  • A hollow arrow means that some apps (one or more than one) are actively using geofencing. This means that this will trigger an action when you go to a set location. For instance, you may set up a location based reminder (e.g., “set a reminder to call Bobby when I am home”) and when you are home, you will be notified. Obviously your iPhone will have to use Location Services.
  • A solid (black) arrow means that your device is actively accessing yoru location. For instance, when you use a Map app, you will see this.

How to show or hide the arrow icon

You can hide or show the Location Services icon easily. However you can only show or hide System Services Location Services. Note that this is not enabling or disabling Location Services. If you want to turn on and off this, please see the following section.

  • On your iOS device, tap Settings > Privacy > Location Services
  • Scroll down and tap System Services
  • Scroll down and toggle off “Status Bar Icon”Status bar Icon

How to turn off and on Location Services

You may want to disable this for various reasons. For instance, you may disable Location Services to extend your device’s battery life. Note that some apps may not work if you disable this. Here is how:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Privacy and Location Services
  • And toggle off “Location Services”

You want to enable Location Services but you also want some apps not to access your location? You can also turn off and on Location Services for certain apps. Here is how:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Privacy and Location Services
  • Find the app that you do not want it to access your location
  • And then select “Never”. This means that this app will no longer use Location Services. There are other options that you may also choose. “While Using the App” means that the app will use Location Services when it is being used.

Location Services Not Working?

You may try to reset your Location Services by going to Settings > General > Reset and tap Reset Location & Privacy.

See also:

Please note that some apps that use Location Services will ask for permission to access your location the first time you launch them. You may decide to give them permission to access your location.

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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10 thoughts on “What Does Arrow Icon Mean? Location Services Explained”

  1. What is the difference between, the arrows with the circular back, and the red dot with the white dot inside, also when it says where the location is how do you know what location belongs to which arrows

  2. This started happening with iOS 14.4. It seems Find my IPhone is running most of the time. The hollow arrow icon appears on the left screen. It’s draining my battery rapidly.

  3. I can’t get rid of the arrow on the top left of my screen. I’ve disabled all location settings. I’ve reset to factory defaults. It just won’t go away. The arrow opens another screen that I have no idea what to do with. Stupid arrow gets in the way of everything. Help!!!

  4. I’m having a problem and I can’t get an answer. My Facebook page seems to be bigger than it use to be.. The home and other 2 arrows at the bottom of the page are now down under the black frame of the phone. I have to pull the screen down from the top to bring the arrows up so I can get out of the page I’m on. How can I make the page smaller to bring the arrows up where I can see them?

  5. There is an icon in the top left of my notifications. It’s a white elongated square in a vertical direction with soft
    rounded corners . In the bottom right corner there is a white solid circle (except for the description below of the vertical and horizontal lines that meet) that overlaps to the bottom right and a little below outside of the aforementioned square and the lines of the square have a small gap above and to the left of the circle (not touching the white circle). Inside the circle is two parts of a connected box. First part is a vertical line and second part is a horizontal line touching and starting at the bottom of vertical line going to the right. Both lines are equal in length and width. Almost looking like a stubby ‘L”. To the direct and close left of the white circle is a white squared dot (inside the elongated white box at the bottom) and it is parallel where the bottom of vertical line and horizontal lines meet inside the white circle. My notification bar is green so white is the only other color in this icon. The symbol inside the white circle almost looks like a heart. I can’t see anything in my notifications when I swipe from top to bottom.

  6. Yes my ex husband has been hacking my iPhone 5 as I’ve seen what he’s looked up the screen will change by self ect and it’ll be 100 per at 9.00am then by 12.00 it’s dead,how is he doing it I’m hooked up with Donestic Viokence and he’s also managing to make up text messages sent to him from me making it look like it was me I have to try stop him as court will be involved and he also said I put a heap of s$h$t on my sons DS.I wouldn’t even know what to do with one and he’s using the kids other devices as well what to do

    • Dana, this is not the place to get this kind of help. Do a Google Search for a “forum” that gets close to your personal need.
      An iPhone is very difficult to hack without having given your ex permission at some point. Even the US Government couldn’t do it.
      First step would be to change your phone’s & related accounts’ passwords. In fact changinging passwords, whether he had them or not, would be a good idea.


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