The Complete Apple Watch Icons & Symbols Guide (2022)

What are the teardrop icon, orange icon, and red dot on Apple Watch? Learn all about the Apple Watch symbols available on watchOS 8 and earlier!

Your Apple Watch uses various icons, symbols, dots, and arrows to convey important information to you. They are small and don't come with much explanation, so it's natural to be confused. We'll take the mystery out of reading these icons and help you understand these extremely useful communication tools.

What's in This Article:

What Do the Symbols Mean on the Apple Watch?

Each of the symbols and icons on your Apple Watch has a purpose. In general, these images are colorful methods for your watch to communicate with you without disrupting you by sending a formal notification. They can be very helpful if you know how to interpret them! We'll go over the common Apple Watch symbols and icons and teach you their meanings so that you can use your watch more efficiently. Here's a guide to the wonderful world of Apple Watch icons, including a section on the i icon on Apple Watch.

Every Apple Watch Control Center Symbol Explained

The Apple Watch Control Center allows you to quickly access various modes, features, and information. Here is what the Apple Watch Control Center icons mean and how they function:

Apple Watch icons - i icon on apple watch

iPhone Connection & Location Tracking on Apple Watch

At the top of the Control Center, you will see two tiny icons: a phone or Wi-Fi and an arrow. You can tap on it to see more information. But even at first glance, you can see that your iPhone is connected to your Apple Watch if the icon is green. If the icon is red and there is a diagonal line through it, your phone is disconnected. If you see the Wi-Fi symbol instead of a phone, this means that your iPhone is disconnected but your Apple Watch is connected to Wi-Fi. If the arrow is filled in blue, that means that an app is actively receiving your location. If you only see the outline of the arrow, then the location will be shared if requested by an app. You can learn more about location tracking here.

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If you tap on the smaller icons, you'll see this screen with larger icons and more information. If your phone is disconnected and your watch is connected to Wi-Fi, you'll see the name of the Wi-Fi network.

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Under Location you will see if it is being received or just requested. Unfortunately, you won't see which app is receiving it.

Apple Watch icons - apple icon

Wi-Fi Icon on Apple Watch

The Wi-Fi icon can show you if you are connected to Wi-Fi. You can tap and hold this to connect to a different network.

Cellular Icon on Apple Watch - Apple Website Photo

Apple Watch Cellular Icon

The cellular icon turns the Apple Watch cellular connection on or off. It is only available on Apple Watch models with cellular. Enabling cellular functions allows you to make and receive calls and texts when don’t have your iPhone near you and can't access Wi-Fi.

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Ping iPhone Icon on Apple Watch

The icon with the phone two curved lines on either sign is the ping iPhone button. As long as your iPhone is connected to your Apple Watch and within range, tapping this will make your iPhone make a noise so that you can locate it. If you tap and hold this icon, it will make a noise and flash a light to make it easier to find in the dark. This icon always looks the same, even if your iPhone isn't connected. It does temporarily turn blue to indicate that your iPhone is pinging.

Apple Watch icons - what does the i icon look like on apple watch

Apple Watch Battery Percentage Icon

The percent icon shows the remaining battery percentage of your Apple Watch. It is one of the few icons that cannot be removed from the Control Center. If you tap on it, you will see the option to activate the Power Reserve to have your watch battery last longer but limiting functionality.

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Apple Watch Silent Mode Icon

The bell icon can turn Silent Mode on and off. When the bell is gray, your watch has sound and vibrations on. If the bell is red and has a line through it, it will not make any sounds, but it will still vibrate and light up when there is a notification.

Apple Watch icons - apple watch dock

Theater Mode Icon on Apple Watch

The happy and sad masks represent Theater Mode. When the icon is gray, Theater Mode is off. When it is orange, Theater Mode is on and Silent Mode will also be activated. This means that your watch will only vibrate if you receive a notification, but it won’t ring or light up your screen.

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Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie Icon

The radio icon in the Control Center is the Walkie-Talkie icon. When it is gray, the feature is off. Tap it to turn it on and it will be yellow with two curved lines on either side to show that it is on. You will still have to set it up and open the app from the App Library in order to send a message to a contact.

Apple Watch icons - what does the moon mean on iphone

Do Not Disturb Icon on Apple Watch

The moon symbol represents Do Not Disturb Mode. Tap it to turn on regular Do Not Disturb or to select one of the new Focus Modes. If you don't see the options you want, you can add existing Focus Modes and create custom ones on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. They will sync across your devices so that you can use them on your watch as well.

Apple Watch icons - how do i get the i icon on apple watch

Flashlight Icon on Apple Watch

Many users are surprised to learn that their Apple Watch has a functional flashlight! You can turn it on by tapping on the flashlight symbol in the Control Center. This will turn your screen a bright white color. You can swipe left to switch to a flashing white and again to a red screen. You can turn it off by swiping down. 

Apple Watch icons - what is the water drop on apple watch

Apple Watch Airplane Mode Icon

The airplane symbol turns Airplane mode on and off. When it is grayed out, it is off. Tap it to turn Airplane mode on and it will be orange. By default, Airplane Mode will turn off your Wi-Fi and cellular networks but will keep your Bluetooth enabled. You will still get notifications in Airplane Mode, especially if you are connected to Wi-Fi. It doesn't silence your notifications, it simply prevents you from connecting to the cellular network. 

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Apple Watch Water Mode Icon

Many users wonder about the Apple Watch water drop icon and what it actually does. The droplet icon turns the Water Lock on but not off. When you turn on Water Lock, you will still be able to see your watch face, but you won't be able to open anything. To turn it off, you will need to turn the Digital Crown to unlock your watch. Forgetting to activate it before you get your watch wet will not damage it, as long as your Apple Watch is water resistant. However, it is good practice to turn it on when getting out of water to help remove water from the speaker via vibrations.

Apple Watch icons - where is the i located on apple watch

Audio Output Icon on Apple Watch

Tapping the triangle with three curved lines above it takes you to a list of any Bluetooth speakers, headphones, or earbuds that your watch is connected to. You can add new audio devices by tapping Connect a Device.

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Headphone Volume Icon on Apple Watch

Tapping the ear symbol in the Control Center takes you to headphone volume. It looks the same as the app to measure noise levels that can be found in the App Library.

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Apple Watch Announce Notifications Icon

This newer icon isn't clickable for many users and has caused confusion. This bell with lines next to is is can be tapped to allow for Siri to read notifications. You have to enable it in the Settings under Siri before you can toggle it on and off by tapping it in the Control Center.

Apple Watch icons - icon on apple watch

Edit Control Center Button on Apple Watch

At the bottom of the Control Center, you will see an Edit button. Tap it to add or remove the icons mentioned in this list. By default, some options may be hidden and optional to add.

Apple Watch icons

To remove an icon, tap the small circle with a minus sign. It will appear below MORE. Some icons cannot be removed, this includes the battery percentage, Wi-Fi, and Airplane Mode.

Apple Watch icons

To add an icon, tap the green circle with a plus. It will move above MORE. You can also drag the icons to rearrange them.

Apple Watch icons meaning

Once you are done making changes to your Apple Watch Control Center, which can mean adding, removing, or moving icons, tap Done.

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Apple Watch Schooltime Icon

The person with a raised hand icon enables Schooltime but doesn't disable it. Once enabled, you will only be able to see the date, time, and your name. To disable Schooltime, you need to turn the Digital Crown. It functions as an Apple Watch lock button, similar to Water Lock and Sleep mode. 

Apple Watch Status & Active App Icons & Other Symbols

With watchOS 5 or later, your Apple Watch will show active apps. To open the app, tap the icon. The following icons are some examples of active app icons and which apps they correspond with. You may also see other icons, here are what they all mean!

Green Lightning Bolt icon on Apple Watch

Green Lightning Bolt 

When the lightning bolt is green, it means that your Apple Watch is charging. If your watch is on the charger, you'll see a ring around this icon indicating to what percentage your watch is charged.

Red lightning bolt icon on Apple Watch
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Apple Watch Red Lightning Bolt

When you see a red lightning bolt on your watch, it means that your battery is low. If you've just put it on the charger and that's when you saw the icon, just keep charging it. If you see the red lightning bolt and your Apple Watch is locked up, it means your watch is in Power Reserve mode and will need to be charged and restarted.

Red rectangle with a line through it icon on Apple Watch

Red Rectangle with a Diagonal Line

This icon indicates that your Apple Watch is not connected to your iPhone. You may need to move your devices closer together or turn off Airplane Mode.

Red X icon on Apple Watch
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Red X 

This red X means your Apple Watch with GPS + Cellular has no connection to the cellular network.

blue water drop icon on Apple Watch

Blue or Turquoise Water Drop

There are many nicknames for the Apple Watch water drop icon. Some people call it the raindrop logo, drip icon, tear icon, and tear symbol. When you see this little drop on your watch screen, it means Water Lock is on, and the screen will not respond to taps. 

To unlock your Apple Watch, turn the Digital Crown (the dial on the side of the watch). The Water Lock is only available on Apple Watch Series 2 or later and Apple Watch SE. Do not swim with Apple Watch 1st Generation or Apple Watch Series 1 as they are not waterproof.

Pro Tip: The Digital Crown does way more than just unlock your Apple Watch! Check out these 15 ways to use the Digital Crown on your watch.

blue lock icon on Apple Watch

Blue Lock

This icon indicates that your Apple Watch is locked. Tap to enter the passcode and unlock your watch.

Green running man icon on Apple Watch

Green Circle with a Running Stick Figure

This icon appears when you use Workout. It means there is a workout in progress, and your watch is currently tracking it. You can navigate to the Workout app to start and stop workouts. If you still see this icon after your workout has ended, simply restart your watch to reset it.

Red lines icon now playing symbol on apple watch

Five Red Lines from Largest to Smallest in a White Circle

These lines form a triangle shape like the play button on many devices, so it makes sense that this icon is the Now Playing icon. It indicates that audio is currently being played via a connected or paired device, such as CarPlay or your AirPods. Sometimes this feature auto-opens when you play audio on another Apple device, so it can be confusing.

turn right arrow icon on apple watch

Black Turn Arrow Pointing to the Right

This arrow indicates that you are using a third-party navigation app.

orange microphone icon on Apple Watch

Orange Microphone

This icon means your Apple Watch mic is active. It appears when you are using Siri, recording a voice memo or text, or using the microphone with another app like Handwashing.

Yellow radio walkie talkie icon on Apple Watch
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Yellow Radio

This is the Walkie-Talkie icon, and it allows you to open the Walkie-Talkie app for quick communication with your contacts via your Apple Watch.

Green dots icon on Apple Watch
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One, Two, Three, or Four Green Dots

Your Apple Watch with GPS + Cellular is connected to a cellular network. The number of dots indicates cellular network strength.

Red dot icon on Apple Watch

Red Dot, Apple Watch Circle, or Center Dot Symbol    

One of the most common questions is, “what is the red dot on my Apple Watch?” This icon indicates that you have received a notification. To read the notification, swipe down on the watch face. This red dot will show up on your Apple Watch charging screen if you get a notification as well.

where's the i icon on apple watch, what the i icon on apple watch

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Where Is the i Icon on Apple Watch?

A common question people ask is, “where is the i icon on my Apple Watch?” This is a slightly more complicated symbol that you can only see when your watch isn’t paired with your iPhone. You can see it if you do a factory reset on your Apple Watch and use it to find out the name of your watch for manual pairing.

Where is the i on Apple Watch? It is on the bottom right of the watch display but only on the initial pairing screen. This is the only icon on Apple Watch that you don't have to worry about during everyday use! 

Knowing the different symbols and icons on your Apple Watch helps you use your watch to its fullest and as efficiently as possible. Are you wondering about a less common icon we didn't mention? Apple maintains a thorough list of Apple Watch icons meanings for your reference.

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Author Details

Hannah Nichols's picture

Author Details

Hannah Nichols

Hannah Nichols is a freelance marketing consultant and writer. She is obsessed with audiobooks and podcasts and always asks people for recommendations. Hannah loves going to the gym and taking really long walks with friends. She enjoys traveling with her partner and her eight-year-old son.