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Arrow Symbol in Upper Right Corner Permanently Visible: Why?

The so-called “Location Services” on your iPhone are there to supply apps with your current position, which in turn leads to a better user experience with personalized information. For privacy and battery life reasons, you should consider checking the list of apps that has access to your location. For one shouldn’t provide each and every app with full rights, but also because having your position tracked requires quite a bit of battery power. Both GPS and mobile data need to be powered for this feature to work. If the arrow symbol in the upper right corner of your iPhone screen is permanently visible, you should investigate the root cause. Here’s how.

Arrow symbol visible all the time – what does it mean?

Since iOS 4.0, Apple has been using the title bar of your iPhone to display status icons. One of them being an arrow in the top right corner of the screen. This arrow symbol indicates that the system or one of your apps is currently accessing the geo-location of your device. If you can see it from time to time, don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal. If the arrow icon doesn’t seem to disappear at all, this could mean potential downsides to your iPhone battery life and/or personal privacy. The following screenshot depicts the location of bespoke arrow symbol:

If you can see it permanently, this means that one of your apps is constantly accessing the Location Services and causing potentially high load on the iPhone. Some apps require very frequent access to your position, such as geocaching or fitness apps with GPS functionality, or a navigation app such as Apple Maps or Google Maps. Everyday usage however, should not cause such behavior.

How to check your Location Services settings

Settings > Privacy > Location Services

By going to your “Settings” app, we can retrieve a list of apps that are allowed to track your position and check their individual settings. Tap “Privacy” and then “Location Services” to get to the appropriate settings page. We can now scroll through the list of apps and determine which one has been using your position in a recent timeframe.

Look for a purple arrow symbol. This indicates that the app in question has made a request for your position shortly before we’ve checked.

By tapping the name of an app, we can specify very concrete rules for each app. You can opt to allow the app to track your location whenever it wants to, or restrict it to actual active app usage, when the app is in the foreground and being used. Or, if you prefer not to share your location with an app, we can turn the feature off completely by selecting “Never”.

Once we leave the “Settings” app by pressing the Home Button, our changes should become apparent. Check your status bar for the arrow icon, which is probably gone now. If not, return to the settings page and check for other potential causes. By keeping this list under our control, we can extend the otherwise impeded battery life of the iPhone by quite a measure.

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