The Arrow on Your iPhone’s Status Bar: What It Is and Why You Should Care

Have you ever noticed an arrow on your iPhone’s status bar next to the time and wondered what it meant? This article will explain the types of arrows and their meaning for your iPhone’s location tracking. You will also learn how to enable and disable Location Services for different apps on your device. Knowing how to manage these settings is essential, especially if you want to keep your location private.

What is the arrow on your iPhone’s status bar next to the time? 

The arrow on your iPhone’s status bar lets you know that an app is currently accessing Location Services. This service uses the Global Positioning System (GPS), Wi-Fi networks, and cellular signals to determine a device’s location. It can be used by apps such as Google Maps or Apple’s Maps app to help you navigate.

Tracking your location occurs when an app accesses your iPhone’s Location Services feature. This information can include the longitude and latitude coordinates of where you are, along with other details such as the Wi-Fi network your device is connected to and the strength of nearby cell signals.

While location tracking can be helpful in some situations, it can also raise privacy concerns. If you want to keep your location private, keep reading for some tips on managing Location Services for your iPhone.

Why is this important for you? 

You should be aware of how Location Services works because it can significantly impact your privacy and battery life. The arrows’ colors have different meanings, too, so further down the article, we’ll explain what each color means and how you can manage Location Services for individual apps.

How does Location Services work?

Location Services uses information from various sources, including Global Positioning System (GPS signals from satellites, nearby Wi-Fi, and cellular networks). The iPhone determines your position by analyzing this data to give you the most accurate location possible.

What is the difference between different types of arrows on the iPhone’s status bar?

Each arrow color represents how an app is using Location Services.

  • A blue arrow means that an app or website simply requests your location but has yet to receive any information.
Blue Arrow
  • A solid (white/black) arrow indicates that a process or app is actively using Location Services to get your location. This could include apps like Google Maps, which use your location to give you directions and other information.
Black Arrow
  • A hollow arrow means that location data is being used under certain conditions, such as when an app is in the background, or you’re not actively using your device. You can select how a particular app uses Location Services in the Settings app. read more about this in the next section.

Enabling or disabling Location Services for an app is easy – follow these steps:

1. Go to Settings on your iPhone.

2. Tap on Privacy, then tap Location Services.

3. From here, you can either toggle Location Services off completely or select individual apps and choose whether to allow them access to Location Services.

How to restrict access to certain apps 

If you only want certain apps to have access to Location Services, you can set these preferences individually for each app. Here’s how:

1. Go to Settings on your iPhone.

2. Tap on Privacy, then tap Location Services.

3. From here, you will see a list of all the apps that use Location Services on your device. Tap on an app to view its settings.

4. If you want to enable Location Services for this app, then toggle the Location Services option on. You can also set your preference for when the app accesses Location Services by selecting either While Using or Always from the options below it.

5. If you want to disable Location Services access for an app, toggle the Location Services option to off.

6. You can also manage when an app can access Location Services by selecting While Using or Always from the options below. This will allow you to prevent an app from accessing your location at all times but still have it available when you are actively using that particular app.

App Tracking Transparency on iOS

In iOS 14.5 and later, iPadOS 14.5 and later, and tvOS 14.5 or later, apps must ask for permission before tracking your activity across other companies’ apps and websites. This is an important measure to help protect your privacy and keep your location data from being used without your knowledge or consent.

App Tracking Transparency is a step Apple has taken to have individual apps and choose whether to allow or not to enable the app tracking option. This is why you might receive an on-screen notification prompting you to select how a particular app can use your location data.

If an app asks you to allow or disallow tracking your activity, it is essential to consider the implications of your choice carefully. While many apps may use location data for legitimate purposes, such as providing targeted ads or improving the overall user experience, others may be engaging in less ethical practices that can negatively affect your privacy and battery life.

App Tracking Transparency
App Tracking Transparency


Knowing what the different arrows on your iPhone’s status bar mean is essential, as it can help you better understand how an app uses Location Services. You can easily enable or disable Location Services for any app from the Privacy settings in iOS. If you want to restrict access for certain apps, you can set these preferences individually for each. This allows you to control which apps have access to your location data and when they have access.

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About S. Santos

I am a tech columnist and blogger by trade, but I'm also an avid tennis player. In my spare time, I enjoy reviewing gadgets and gizmos from the world of tech.

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