Robots Here’s what the arrow icon means on your iPhone for location tracking, and how different apps use location services


  • When the arrow icon appears in the upper right corner of your iPhone, it means that an app is using location services.
  • There are a few variations of the arrow icon, and different types or colors mean that your location has been accessed in different ways. 
  • It’s easy to find out what each of these arrow icons mean in the location services page of your Settings app. 
  • You can also choose to hide the arrow icon or turn off location services altogether in Settings. 
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Many apps on your iPhone use your location. But did you know that you can tell when different apps have access to your location? 

For example, when using Maps, or Find My iPhone, or any of the other apps that use location services, an arrow icon will show up in the upper right corner of your screen. 

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Robots What the arrow icon means on your iPhone

There are a few different variations of the arrow icon. Sometimes, it will change colors or appear hollow, depending on how your location is being used by different apps. 

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Sometimes the arrow icon is colored in, but other times it is hollow.
Ryan Ariano/Business Insider

You should understand what the location services arrow means for privacy concerns in each setting, especially if you’re unsure of which apps have access to your location. 

Here’s how to find out what the different arrow icons mean through the location services page in Settings. 

Robots How to access location services on your iPhone

1. Open Settings on your iPhone.

2. Scroll down and tap on “Privacy.”

3. Tap on “Location Services.”

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You can view what each arrow icon means and your location settings in location services.
Ryan Ariano/Business Insider

You’ll see the explanation of what each kind of arrow indicates on the bottom of the page, under System Services:  

  • “A hollow arrow indicates that an item may receive your location under certain conditions.”
  • “A purple arrow indicates that an item has recently used your location.”
  • “A gray arrow indicates that an item has used your location in the last 24 hours.” 

On the location services page, you can see how you’ve shared your location with different apps, and adjust your settings. You can also tap on System Services to view and adjust more location-based settings. 

In System Services, you can prevent the arrow icon from appearing on your screen by toggling off “Status Bar Icon” at the bottom of the menu. 

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Turn off Status Bar Icon to prevent the arrow icon from appearing on your screen.
Ryan Ariano/Business Insider

You can also fully turn off location services on your iPhone to ensure that no apps have access to your location, although this will restrict most functionalities in location-based apps like Maps and Weather. 

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