Common tech symbols and icons – What do they mean?

tech symbols

While using an app, sending a mail, clicking a photo, or doing pretty much everything related to technology, we often wonder what all those small icons mean, what they do. We fear pressing them might disrupt our ongoing task, often undermining the potential the program carries. The power of technology is all about working smarter, increasing productivity and transforming digitally.

A completely new visual language of small symbols called ‘icons’ has evolved over the past few years. Smartphones have a lot to be packed in a small screen, this is where these symbols/icons come handy. These tech symbols are suppose to perform a specific type of function every time a user taps them.

LEARN MORE : The most relevant smartphone specifications you should consider when looking for a new device.

Here we have a list of the most commonly seen technology icons and the corresponding functions they perform. Learning about these icons will help a user become more confident while using new apps or software without spending hours on their tutorials.

NETWORK & COMMUNICATION ICONS

technology symbols and icons

WIFI
• When toggled ON, this option lets the user connect to available wireless networks.

technology symbols and icons

BLUETOOTH
• When toggled ON, this option lets the user to connect to nearby bluetooth devices.

technology symbols and icons

WIRELESS
• This option is used to toggle the wireless abilities of a device under different categories.
• When toggled OFF, the device goes into airplane mode i.e no wireless connections are supported then.

LAN
• This option usually shows a Local Area Network connected to the device.
• LANs use wired connections to connect the computer hardware in a localized area such as an office or home.
• A LAN is usually confined to a building or a group of buildings.

AIRPLANE MODE
• When enabled, this option stops all the wireless connections of a device by suspending radio signal transmissions.
• Disables Bluetooth, Cellular and Wifi.

LEARN MORE : Most commonly used technology abbreviations

MULTIMEDIA ICONS

PLAY/PAUSE
• This option acts as a shortcut to instantly play and pause any multimedia played on the device. (without interacting with the actual app on which multimedia is being played)

STOP
• This option acts a shortcut to instantly stop any multimedia playing on the device.

VOLUME UP
• This option helps increase the volume of a device.

VOLUME DOWN
• This option helps decrease the volume of a device.

MUTE
• This option helps mute the volume of a device.

EQUALIZER
• An equalizer alters the sound frequencies of the audio played on the device.

MICROPHONE
• This option lets the user record a sound clip and save or share accordingly.

AIRPODS
• This icon appears when the airpods volume is adjusted on an iPhone.

AUDIO RECORDING CLIP
• This option simple shows the list of recorded audio clips on a device.

CAMERA & PHOTOGRAPHY ICONS

CAMERA
• This option either helps open the camera app on the device or click and upload a photograph to an account.

APERTURE
• This option helps adjust the aperture of a camera (if available) i.e the area over which light can enter your camera.

CROP
• This option is used to crop an image i.e remove unwanted part of an image.

EDIT
• This option usually helps edit an image or document.

PRODUCTIVITY ICONS

SORT
• Sort is a method of rearranging the list elements based on the desired characteristic.
• This option lets you sort a list of elements.

ASCENDING
• Ascending is a sort type that rearranges the list elements in order of increasing size.

DESCENDING
• Descending is a sort type that rearranges the list elements in order of decreasing size.

SAVE/BOOKMARK
• This option lets the user save an image, file, document, post, page, link or bookmark it to be viewed later.

CALENDAR
• Calendar lets the user plan personal schedules, time and activities.
• Can also be used to create reminders and view to-dos.

READ MORE: Should you upgrade your smartphone every year?

FILTER
• Filtering is a process of choosing a smaller part of the data based upon certain features.
• Filter option lets the user filter the data accordingly.

TAG
• A tag is a keyword or term assigned to a piece of information.
• This option lets the user assign tags for systematic organizing of information.

RANDOM
• This option displays a random image, post, page, file, piece of information.

SETTINGS
• This option helps the user change settings on a device.

SHARE
• This option lets the user share a file (image,audio,document) across various media platforms.

SEARCH
• This option helps the user search for desired information based upon different keywords.

SCROLL TO TOP
• This option helps scroll the page to top thereby providing a smooth browsing experience.

SAVE
• Tapping on ‘save’ icon simply helps the user to save the existing project or file.
• A saved piece of file/project can be used later on based upon need.

REFRESH/RESTART/REPLAY
• This option either helps the user to refresh a page or replay a video.

MORE/3 DOTS MENU
• This option opens up a menu with additional options.
• Also known as ‘Kebab’ menu.
• This option is used to squeeze numerous options on a small screen like that of a smartphone.

MENU
• Menu displays various options related to a website/app/software.
• Also known as ‘Hamburger” menu.

ATTACHMENT
• This option lets the user attach an image, audio, video, contact, location to be shared in an email or various social media apps.

BIN
• This option can be used to temporarily store deleted files for a few days/weeks in order to recover them if required.
WINDOWS HACK- If you wish to directly delete files without sending them to ‘Recycle Bin’, simply select the file and press ‘shift+delete’ key combination. The file will be directly deleted from the Windows PC.

DOWNLOAD
• This option helps the user to download a file from a cloud storage to the local device.

UPLOAD
• This option helps the user to upload a file from a local device to a cloud storage.
• Uploading a file to cloud storage makes it easily available upon different devices at different locations.

POPUP ICON
• This option is usually displayed upon a web link. This icon normally suggests the link to be opened in a new tab rather than the same tab.
• When found on a video, this option helps to expand the video player from a small popup to a large one.

MAIL
• This option simply enables the user to share a piece of information (be it a blog/file) through email.

HIDE
• This option is used to hide sensitive information from being displayed on the screen.
• Mostly used for passwords.

HYPERLINK
• This option is used to view the web link saved behind a certain text.
• Usually used for directing to different web pages.

LOGIN
• This icon simply enables the user to login an account using the login credentials.

LOGOUT
• This option is used to logout from a logged in account.

BATTERY LOW
• This tech symbol usually shows that the device is running on a low battery and reminds the user to charge it up.

CHARGING
• This icon signifies that the device is being charged.

LOCATION
• Location option is used to enable GPS based services on a device.
• Can be used to determine the location of a device.

CURRENT LOCATION
• This option signifies the current location of the device.
• Usually used in maps to determine exact location.

EXPAND
• This option is used to expand the screen to be viewed on a larger scale.
• Used to watch videos in full screen mode.

WEB
• This option signifies the use of internet for an app’s particular feature.
• Also used to signify a web browser.

READ MORE: Mind blowing technology facts

MISCELLANEOUS ICONS

WEBCAM
• This symbol is used to enable the webcam access for a device.

CCTV
• This symbol signifies the use of CCTV camera to monitor ongoing events in a facility.

technology symbols and icons

USB
• This tech symbol usually represents a Universal Serial Bus port.
• This port helps connect a pen drive, hard disk drive, mouse, keyboard, printer and various other devices to a machine.

TOGGLE
• Toggle option is used to switch from one effect, feature or state to another.
• For example, a bluetooth toggle will help turn ON and turn OFF the bluetooth on a device.

TABLET
• This option helps to view the tablet version of a web page, an app or a software.

SIM CARD
• The sim card icon simply represents the settings related to the sim card installed on a device.

technology symbols and icons

RECYCLE
• The recycle symbol can usually be seen on various devices and packaging cartons.
• It usually indicates that the packaging or the product itself is recyclable.

POWER (ON/OFF)
• The power button is used to power ON or turn OFF the device.

LEARN MORE: Speed up your Android smartphone

KEYBOARD
• This icon usually indicated the settings for the keyboard connected to a computer.

IMAGE
• The image icon indicates the different operations for an image e.g uploading an image, editing an image, sharing an image.

LIKE
• Most likely seen on social media platforms, Like icon indicates ones support for content or proof of engagement.

technology symbols and icons

HARD DRIVE
• The hard drive icon represents the different partitions for the hard disk drive installed on a computer usually.

CPU/PROCESSOR
• This tech symbol is generally used to refer to the CPU/Processor specifications of a device.

NOTIFICATION BELL
• In an app or software, the notification bell icon usually displays the user notifications when tapped upon.

technology symbols and icons

FINGERPRINT
• Fingerprint symbol appears when setting up a fingerprint to unlock a smartphone/tablet.
• This tech symbol also appears for user authentication in different apps.

FOLDER
• This icon usually suggests that a folder or shortcut to a folder.
• Clicking on the folder,one can easily see its contents.

STAR/BOOKMARK
• This option helps the user bookmark a tab so as to save the web results to be viewed later.

Do you want to know about any specific tech symbol or icon on your device that you might be confused about? Let us know, we are happy to help! 

Abhishek Rana

Abhishek Rana

Abhishek Rana is a Mechanical Engineer by profession based in Chandigarh,India. He is also a WordPress content developer and definitely a technology enthusiast. He has keen interest in automobile mechanics and stock market trading and spends his free time enhancing smartphone photography skills. Convinced by the interplay of technology and durability, he uses a Galaxy Note as his device and drives a Toyota.