iPhone shows different symbols and icons on the top bar depending upon your activities. For example, the time bar will show in different colors when using microphone or screen recording. Besides that, you will also see an arrow symbol dynamically pop-up and disappear on the left side of the top bar. Here is the meaning of the different arrow symbols showing on your iPhone and how you can control them.
Arrow Symbols Meaning in iPhone
You may see three types of arrow symbols:
- Blue arrow (white arrow inside blue circle) popping up on iPhone’s top left indicates an app is using Location Services and getting your current location.
- Grey arrow appears right side of the app indicates that app used Location Services in past 24 hours.
- Purple arrow next to an app indicates that app used your location recently. This is generally used for System Services within iOS and from Apple.
Note that on Mac, the arrow appears next to Control Center icon on right corner of the menu bar. However, you will see the arrow on left side on iPhone.
Find Which Apps are Using Location Services
When the arrow appears, swipe down from the top right corner to see the Control Center icons. On top, iPhone will show the apps using your location with the blue arrow symbol. Tap on that to see additional details like the app name and the service being used.
Disabling Location Services from Settings
It’s common for apps like Maps to use your location to provide precise directions. However, if you notice some unknown app is using your location then you should remove the permission for the app to track you. It is also possible you might have forgotten over period about which apps you have provided permission for location tracking.
Completely Disable Location Services
- Tap on the “Settings” app and go to “Privacy & Security” section.
- You will “Location Services” as a first option and tap on the switch to turn it off.
Prevent an App from Using Your Location
Completely disabling Location Services is not recommended as it can prevent apps from working properly. For example, Maps and Find My will not work and you can’t share the content in many social apps without location sharing.
- What you can do is to scroll down on the page and find the list of apps using your location.
- You will see a grey or purple arrow symbol next to the app indicating it used your location recently.
- Tap on an app that you want to prevent tracking and you will see few options to select.
- Below the available options, you can find the “App explanation” section. This shows the details of why an app is using your location. If you are not convinced with that explanation from app developer, simply tap on “Never” option to prevent that app from tracking your location.
- Alternatively, you can also select “While Using the App” or “Ask Next Time or When Share” option. These two options will allow the app to use your location only when needed and not all the time. This will also save both battery and Cellular data usage.
Location Services for System Services and Apple Tracking
Scroll down to the bottom of the app list and you will find “System Services” at the end. This will always show a purple arrow indicating Apple is always using your location from iPhone.
Tap on “System Services” to see the huge list of services using your location. You can disable if you are sure the service does not need to track you.
Scroll down to bottom and you will be surprised to see Apple will be tracking your location for the following purposes:
- iPhone Analytics
- Routing & Traffic
- Improve Maps
Apple use these details to improve the Maps app and you can simply turn off all these options to stop sharing your data with Apple. You can turn on the “Status Bar Icon” option to see an arrow symbol whenever System Services uses your location in iPhone.