What’s this icon? Galaxy S4 notification bar icons explained

July 9, 2013
79

The Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone has a lot of features, options, and settings. Surely you've seen an odd icon appear in your notification bar up top and wondered what exactly it was. Plus if you're anything like me, you've had your parents call more than once saying, "What's this eye-shaped icon" and things of that nature. Well, Samsung has an icon glossary explaining each and every icon.

I'm pretty familiar with all phones and I know what most icons mean, even if they're a bit different thanks to custom skins from the manufacturer. Like Samsung. But everyone isn't like us Android enthusiasts, and have probably Googled "what's this bulls-eye icon on my Galaxy S3" more than once. Apparently Samsung wants to help you guys out, and added a glossary for help.

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 11.25.09 AM

In case you didn't know, if you head into settings > more > scroll to the bottom and go to the about me page (where you check for updates) there's an options called "Icon Glossary" as you see above. This was news to me, and appears to also be present on the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy S4. So if you're wondering what some of those odd icons are, here's the easiest way to find out.

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 11.25.56 AM

We've seen these questions countless times, so figured a quick PSA was in order. Usually the bulls-eye shaped icon for GPS has many confused, and the recent eye icon for smart stay and smart scroll on the Galaxy S4 has users confused. So if you've ever wondered what an icon is, or how to remove it just take a peek at the image above or the icon glossary in settings. From there simply find the setting and disable it. If you don't need it on of course.

Good luck, and next time your parents call with questions you can direct them here if they use a Samsung.


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  • Funkmon

    So what’s the diamond with the stink lines coming off of it to the right?

    • Michael McGrade

      I believe that is for NFC.

      • Joe

        Its for E911. You can’t turn it off, kinda pointless to show it on.

      • Grace

        If it is for E911, isn’t that an invasion of privacy, by the phone companies not letting the user choose rather or not to make their location available, and by allowing the police access to anyone’s location without just cause or a warrant?

      • Toots

        Yes Grace, it is allowing the police access to anyone’s location, that is why I wear a foil lined hat when using my phone. In an emergency, I wouldn’t want anyone to find me.

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      lol oh snap.. that isn’t listed. Samsung fail #smh

    • John

      Its A-GPS, feature phones call it location access.

      • Terry

        It’s not GPS…GPS is the bulls-eye looking icon.

    • indolent83

      That’s the specific one I came to this article looking for. Went through the list twice thinking I was just overlooking it…

    • fhsu

      It is for location access. Not gps

  • Dan Freeman

    Galaxy s4 does bot have glossary icon. Att 32gb

  • dunnowhattodo

    did you ever update your comparison between the S4 and HTC One?

  • rahlquist

    Don’t see this on the SGH-M919.

  • t3342left

    Not available on the SGH-M919.

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      Weak. It’s on my Verizon model. Interesting.

      • dude

        The Icon Glossary is in a different place on my S4. There is a Help icon on the Apps page. The Icon Glossary is on the main help page.

  • deeters

    I just bought a Samsung galaxy 4 today… THERE IS NO ICON GLOSSARY…. I did exactly what it said….. not there… wanna help me out here

  • Vicki

    I found the icon glossary on my phone but the icon I’m looking for isn’t in it. It is, however, on the phone that’s pictured in this article. What is the icon that is directly to the left of the Bluetooth icon? It’s the one that looks like a diamond with a plus inside it with radio waves coming off it.

    • Dave

      I am looking for the same answer and am curious as to why no glossery lists this icon and no one seems to be able to provide an answer to this icons meaning.

      • Dan

        Me too!! the only one I can’t find!

      • summer

        Same here

      • Aegina

        I was wondering the same — the answer is above. It’s Access My Location (DJ posted this.) It was driving me crazy! :-)

      • tabetha

        Its ur signal strength when connected to WiFi or a network

  • Frank Rivera

    I keep getting a plus sign its a notification but its an advertisement. And I want to stop it but don’t know where it’s coming from any thoughts…?

  • Smartphone Neophyte

    I don’t see one on my S4, model # SPH-L720. If anyone needs an icon glossary, it’s me. :O(

  • megan

    Im looking to find out what the arrow looking one is with the plus sign its the one at the end all the way over to the left

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      That means there is more than the bar was able to display…

      • kjm

        THANK YOU! That’s been driving me nuts!

  • darren

    Hi I keep getting a shield like simbal on my screen on the s4 , security policy update , how do I fix it or get rid of it pls ? Thanks

    • phil

      Me too, just came up and won’t stop there everytime i swipe on phone??? nobody at sprint store can fix either.

  • DebChic

    The On Time ringtone keeps going off every minute on my S4. I have no idea why this is happening? Any ideas?

  • Alvin

    WHAT IS THE ICON BETWEEN THE SMART STAY AND THE BLUETOOH??

    • DJ

      It is the “Access My Location” under the Location Services, which is under Permissions.

  • Christina Joy Culver

    What is the little lock icon with the ! connected to it?

  • Help me :(

    On my screen I have a stop sign icon? What’s that about?

  • Ahmad
  • Dennis

    Parallel arrows angled and pointed in either direction, bottom one is green, please respond. Why can’t we find the icons online??

  • Claire Bingley

    Anyone know what the white N with a blue wifi type sign overlapping the bottom left hand corner is? It appears on the left side of the notification bar and is next to the wifi connection sign

  • Claire Bingley

    Anyone know what the white N with a blue wifi type sign overlapping the bottom left hand corner is? It appears on the left side of the notification bar and is next to the wifi connection sign

    • Doug C

      Its when you turn the NFC on, under settings – connections – NFC

      • TonjaS

        Thank you. The phone did an update and that icon appeared and I could not, for the life of me. figure out what it was.

  • guest

    Not true on my S4, no such menu items under the more selection.

    • guest

      yeah,same with mine,what do I do now? Someone please reply

      • Obbsie

        S4 has no such menu option that I can see (sorry if I’m being blind). Have a white check (tick) mark, an upwards arrow in cloud (can only assume something has been, or is waiting to be uploaded to cloud storage), and 2 Facebook symbols – 1 is the standard white “f” in blue square, the other is a negative version of same. What do all these mean? Thanks.

    • guest2

      You have to scroll to bottom of settings and click on About Phone then you will see Icon glossary there.

      • Jay Smith

        Not on s4.. You have software update Status, legal information and device name

  • Alison

    I have bought music on google play but its says I won’t be able to listen to my playlist on my device unless im on line? First time I’ve had a samsung but with the IPhone when you purchase music it goes straight onto your phone and you don’t have to be online, very confused!

  • jpa

    I unchecked smart stay, but the eyeball icon is still displaying. I restarted the phone and it is now gone. This icon only started appearing this week. I have a Galaxy 4S.

  • Help

    what does it mean when I have a look-a-like “N” icon. next to the WIFI or Signal.

    • FYoung

      I’m just guessing, but I suspect it means that you are connected to Wifi using the n standard, as in ” 802.11a/b/g/n/ac” The n standard is the second fastest speed, second only to ac.

      • Xavier Adams

        nope it’s not the wifi I have the same icon.and never had the icon on before. it just happens to be next to the wifi icon it is two one sided arrows (like the number 7) really.close together in a shape that looks like a capitol “N”

      • Russell

        Xavier, go to your NFC option and turn it off. See Robert Duran’s reply to FYoung. Worked for me.

      • xavier adams

        I figured it out lol bit thank you

      • Robert Duran

        I had the same issue. i just got off the phone with Tmobile and it’s that your “NFC” mode is on. If you slide down from the top to get to your tools, tap on that square icon on the top right corner so you can get to a bunch of options (like airplane mode). You will see the your NFC is lit up. tap it to turn it off. the NFC function allows you to touch phones with another samsung galaxy s4 user to transfer pictures or files. I turned mine off.

  • mamateacher

    Ok, so I have seen the responses to the questions about the icon that is a DIAMOND W/PLUS SIGN IN IT WITH WAVES COMING OFF IT TO THE RIGHT. I used to have this icon but now it’s gone. I go to ACCESS MY LOCATION and all is “ON” but I still have no icon visible and my WI FI is soooo sporatic!! any suggestions?

  • mimi

    can someone please tell me what the ‘bubble with black quotation mark (“) is. Thanks

    • Heather

      Google Hangouts

  • asdf

    All of you gotta go look in the HELP glossary, whose location is stated in the post above.

  • Curious

    It looks like a cursive J what is that one?

  • Eigentor

    When I’m talking on the phone, I inadvertently scroll the task bar (presumably with my ear/cheek) and the icons get selected and changed, multiple windows open….. Does this happen to any one else? Any advice?

    • pengun20

      If you push and hold down the back arrow, it will hide your tab for the task bar completely

  • Denise Jordan

    what does the smart stay icon on the s4 do?

    • ggbdbcxvxcvdcxvcxv

      Eye detection.

  • Errol

    i have an s4 and do not know what i did but the screen is locked on the clock display with padlock thing on top left hand corner who can help me please

    • xavier adams

      Try tapping on the padlock icon.also if u have Norton’s then u might have to talk to them. . . Hope it’s just the first one

  • mia

    I have an s4 mini and the icon glossary doesn’t have some of the icons I can see on top. What is the speech bubble with the quotation marks in it? Also, I can’t get wife everywhere. And the weather never updates. Please help.

    • Erik Richardson

      Hangouts

    • xavier adams

      If you want weather updates (assuming you haven’t signed up for them) tap and hold the home button. Then tap the Google symbol. Go through the setup and u should start receiving weather update cats occasionally in your tray.

  • Jay Smith

    Well I have s4 and an odd icon just appeared today.. Its a hand with <<>> either side.. And there is definitely NO icon glossary in the about phone.

    • pengun20

      I believe the icon you’re describing indicates that air gestures are available for use

      • Jay Smith

        In that case theres a bug in android 4.4 on the s4 then.. As everything such as air get turns smart stay etc are all turned off and I dont have any apps that air gestures works with other than the gallery which is not open.

  • Christopher Todesco

    Near Field Communications. (Allows two devices to talk, like for trading contacts by touching two phones together, or pay for something at a cash register.) A friend of mine had this appear on hers and it took me a while to find info on it. You can turn it off in the settings menu because unless you’re using it, it will drain a small amount of battery. (Though not as much as Wifi or Bluetooth.)

  • Mb

    Go into settings, “More” is to the far right on top, then click on “about phone. It will tell you there.

    • richard Z

      The N is for NFC it allows data exchange when your device touches another device. It is in settings under the connections icon

  • jane Bartell

    what is that icon looks like a lazy “s” with a hand(finger) pointing upward, I think it is draining my battery and I do not see it anywhere in icons. Thanks

  • welshiegal

    Hi wondered if u can help me please iam trying to find out wat kinda app has an icon which appears to be a white circle with some kind of outline in pink and blue in th shape of either wat looks like a heart or even a butterfly…. I do have a faint screenshot of it, if thats of any help? Please do you knw wat it could be ive tried searching everywhere. THANK YOU.

  • Catherine Lywak-Oldfield

    Anybody out there have an icon that looks like this….The wifi arcs on the bottom left corner of a capital N? It appeared just yesterday, can’t seem to see why or if it is something that could possibly be a problem. Thanks for any help. SG4 phone

    • Goddess P

      This symbol??? I’m so lost as to what it is

  • Wayne

    I have the S4 and my phone does not have the icon glossary it just has software update then status and then legal information and device name. So where else can I find this