BlackBerry Quick Tip: What's this icon mean?

BlackBerry Quick Tip: What are these icons?
By Michelle Haag on 17 Sep 2011 06:19 pm EDT

When you become a BlackBerry owner, it's like you learn a whole new language. Not only is there new terminology to learn, but your screen will soon be home to all kinds of icons and notifications. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory, but others aren't so obvious to new users, and sometimes getting rid of notifications can be just as confusing.

The picture above has been floating around the forums for quite some time (thanks to ifarlow for putting it together way back when), and those of you running older OS' are likely familiar with several of them. For the most part, notifiers haven't changed a whole lot from OS to OS, though there have been some notable changes. After the break you can see a list of more recent notifiers, from OS 5-7, as well as a list of several things that can have an effect on how notifiers look on your device.

Why don't my icons look like the examples?

  • Themes - Many 3rd party themes contain custom icons and notifiers. While most will still be familiar to you, theme developers can recolor them or replace them with custom icons.
  • 3rd party apps - All sorts of apps that you download can push notifications to your home screen. Twitter apps (such as SocialScope, UberSocial, Twitter for BlackBerry) FaceBook, weather apps (such as BerryWeather), system monitoring apps (such as BatteryEx and MeterBerry), the list goes on and on.
  • OS and App updates - If you do a major upgrade on your OS, for example from OS5 to 6, your notification icons will look different than you are used to. Similarly, if you have an app that gets updated, the update may include new notification icons.

Ok, how do I get rid of them?

Clearing notifications from your screen can sometimes be confusing. Usually, opening the app that the notifier pertains to will clear it out. If it's an email, SMS, or BBM, you will need to actually open the message, or use the 'mark all read' function from the menu. If you find yourself with a random notifier that you can't seem to find, a good place to look is in the combined Messages folder. Selecting 'U' will take you to the first unread message, so if there is one hiding in there, you should be able to find it and clear it out. Of course if you've done all you can and it's still not clearing, a battery pull or soft reset will sometimes take care of it.

List of common BlackBerry symbols and notifiers 

OS  Symbol  Meaning
5.0, 6.0, 7.0
New item
New item, ie email, SMS, BBM; appears on corresponding app icon
5.0, 6.0, 7.0  Sending data Sending data
5.0, 6.0, 7.0  Receiving data Receiving data
5.0, 6.0, 7.0  System busy System busy, also known as the hourglass
5.0, 6.0, 7.0  Roaming Roaming
5.0, 6.0, 7.0  Alarm is set  Alarm is set
5.0  Bluetooth technology is turned on Bluetooth technology is turned on
5.0  Bluetooth enabled device is connected Bluetooth enabled device is connected
6.0, 7.0  Bluetooth technology is turned on Bluetooth technology is turned on 
5.0, 6.0, 7.0  voice mail message  voice mail message
5.0, 6.0, 7.0  unopened message count unopened message count
5.0, 6.0, 7.0  missed call count missed call count
5.0, 6.0, 7.0  calendar reminder count calendar reminder count
5.0, 6.0, 7.0
 New BlackBerry Messenger item New BlackBerry Messenger item 
5.0, 6.0, 7.0 
 New BlackBerry Messenger group item New BlackBerry Messenger group item 
6.0, 7.0
 New item in the Social Feeds application New item in the Social Feeds application 
5.0, 6.0, 7.0   Wi-Fi is turned on Wi-Fi is turned on 
5.0, 6.0, 7.0 Update is available in the BlackBerry App World storefront
Update is available in the BlackBerry App World storefront 
5.0, 6.0, 7.0
GPS is turned on
GPS is turned on 
 5.0, 6.0, 7.0   App World Message Message from App World

For a complete list of icons and notifiers you can check out the OS specific icon guides at the links below.

BlackBerry Icon Guide - 5.0
BlackBerry Icon Guide - 6.0
BlackBerry Icon Guide - 7.0

Michelle Haag Michelle Haag "@_Miche11e_ and C0001B3B5" 1214 (articles) 1695 (forum posts)

Reader comments

BlackBerry Quick Tip: What's this icon mean?


Neat. There are some in there that I've been wondering about. Could add, however, that the GPS icon won't appear on GSM phones. Roaming triangle is red on OS7 but no biggie - still a triangle ;)

Thanks for the article, informative!

The triangle is only red if you have selected not to allow data while roaming, otherwise it is still white like the picture shows...

The BB icon will appear if you are connected to BIS in OS 7.0. If you just have 3G, the BB icon will be next to the 3G indicator. If you are connected via WiFi, the BB icon will be next to the WiFi signal.

There's still one that I am unsure of. I use full blown encryption. Of device and SDcard.
When I lock my phone, I initially get a little unlocked paddle lock icon under the date, if I leave it long enough it eventually switches to a locked paddle lock icon.
Can anyone shed some light on exactly what this is?
Oh, using OS7 by the way

I use device encryption too and the unlocked padlock means that it is encrypting the data and when the padlock is locked it means it is done encrypting and it has deleted the encryption key it used to encrypt your data. I am pretty sure it is the key it deletes anyways after data encryption is completed and the padlock is locked. If not, someone pls refresh my memory/correct me. There is an article in the forums that explains more info about this.

Noticed a new icon on my 9850--a mini BB Bridge on the upper right. Nice to have this plus the blinking blue LED.

i noticed this icon as well. this is not listed on the BB Os7 page either. it only appears when connected to the PlayBook though.

I never get the roaming icon on my tmobile 9700, although it would be really useful to have it, since I live around a border

I've got a "open lock" symbol right under the date on left of the screen, and appears whenever am on the menu as well, like any other BB symbol, and couldnt find any meaning of it online,. and my BB service is not working anymore. although i tried it on different BBs. the lock keeps showing, and the service doesnt work.. so its surely a prob with my SIM but, the Question is what kind of problem can it be?