What is the Little Arrow Icon at the Top of My iPhone 5 Screen?

Last updated: January 28, 2018

Your iPhone 5 uses a lot of small symbols to let you know when a feature on the device is turned on or being used. You are probably familiar with the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and battery icons, but there is a small arrow that shows up occasionally that you may not be familiar with. This icon indicates that an app on your iPhone 5 is using the GPS on your device.

Many of the apps on your phone use this function to provide you with information about your current location, such as restaurants or driving directions, while others use them to help you tag images or your whereabouts for social media. It can wear down your battery a little faster, but many people find that the added benefit of the location services for an app outweighs the minor reduction in battery life. So if you want to find learn how to find out which of your apps is using the GPS, you can do so with the tutorial below.

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How to See Location Services App Usage Information on an iPhone – Quick Summary

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Privacy.
  3. Select Location Services.
  4. Look for arrows next to apps.

For additional information, such as what the different colors and styles of arrows mean, as well as pictures, continue to the section below.

Find Out Which App Is Using Your GPS on the iPhone 5

The steps below are meant to help you determine which app is using your GPS. However, you can take it one step further by disabling the Location Services option for an app by moving the slider from the right to the left.

Step 1: Touch the Settings icon.

open the settings menu

Step 2: Scroll down and select the Privacy option.

open the privacy menu

Step 3: Select the Location Services option at the top of the screen.

open the location services menu

Step 4: Scroll through the list of apps and check for one with a solid purple arrow. You may have multiple apps with purple arrows, indicating that more than one app is currently using your location, or has recently used your location. For example, Dropbox is currently using my location in the image below.

an app that is using the gps on the iphone 5

At the top of the Location Services menu is an option where you can turn off location services entirely. Some of your apps may not function properly if you elect to turn this setting off, but it is an option if you don’t want any apps to use your location.

You may notice some additional arrow icons next to your apps on this page as well. The legend at the bottom of the screen, shown in the image below, explains what each of those icons represent.

legend of symbols on the location services screen

To summarize the different arrow styles identified in the legend on this menu as well as the image above:

  • A solid purple arrow next to one of your apps indicates that an app has recently used, or is currently using, your location.
  • A solid gray arrow next to one of your apps means that your location has been used by that app within the last 24 hours.
  • A pink outlined arrow means that the app is using a geofence. This is an area around a specific geographic location where an app or reminder will trigger a notification or activity when you enter the geofence.

As mentioned above, you can turn off the GPS icon at the top of your screen by moving the slider to the right of an app with a purple arrow from the right to the left.

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