written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 6/8/2011
As cell phones and smartphones become increasingly popular, there's always a list of symbols and icons that will appear on the phone's screen. There are many notifications that are working in the background and sometimes, you may be lost as to what it all means. Find out here.
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Mobile technology has grown in leaps and bounds, probably further than society ever could have expected it to go. Smartphones are increasing in popularity, as the ease of checking email, social networking, and even video gaming is closer and simpler with just a swipe of a finger.
With the rise in phones and mobile operating systems, many users will be confronted with small icon pictures that rest at the top of the phone's screen. These notifications are often used to let a user know what is going on with their phone service, such as if they are in a 3G or 4G network or if their alarm is set. But it's not just a cell carrier's icons that BB users may see, as there can be a wide range of BlackBerry symbols that can grace a phone's home screen.
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Notifications Are for What Now?
Many cell phone users are probably used to the small icons that appear on a bar on the upper portion of their phone's homescreen. Regardless of phone or carrier, there are many standard icons that are usually there -
Time - this usually tells the current time.
Battery Status - gives indication of battery status. When full, the battery may either show a set of bars or may be colored in (usually green) to indicate that the battery has been charged and is offering the maximum amount of life available; as the phone is used, the battery will slowly go down until either showing only a few bars or completely red, meaning that it needs to be charged. A charging icon may have a lightning bolt in the center to signify a charging battery.
Cell Service - cell service indicates how strong a signal your phone is receiving from any cell towers in your areas. This is usually indicated by growing bars (from smallest to largest); more bars at a higher level means you have excellent service.
3G/4G - this indicates if you are in a 3G data coverage area or a 4G coverage area. 3G is by far the most popular and accessible, but many cell providers are expanding their services into the 4G area.
These are just some of the more common and standard notifications that you will see on your cell or smartphone. These notifications are designed so that a quick glance at the notification bar can tell you what's happening with your phone.
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The Not So but Could Be Standard Icons
Some notifications are, as mentioned, standard to any cell or smartphone; the only true difference is how they are presented on the phone itself. Many of the phone manufacturers have a certain icon that is used for the same purpose, sometimes they can be completely different. The following BlackBerry notifications are common for those smartphones running the 5.0 version mobile software and can usually be seen either in the notification area or the home screen.
Common Home Screen Symbols
As mentioned above, there are common and standard symbols for popular notifications on a BlackBerry device. These usually include phone calls and messages, social networking, and apps.
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Calls & Messages
When a person receives a call or message on their cell phone, there are a variety of different symbols that can represent when something has arrived or has been missed.
Phone calls are indicated by an icon of a phone; the color differences indicate what this notification means. A yellow phone with a red X above it means that you have missed a phone call; when any number appears next to this icon, that notifies you of how many calls you have missed. A green phone means that you've made a called, while a blue phone means you have received one.
Messages can either be voice, email, or text and are usually in the form of an envelope. Any time there is a number next to these icons it refers to the number of messages that are waiting. BlackBerrys also have something called the BlackBerry Messenger, which is a chat like program for BB users. This icon is usually blue with the BB symbol in the middle.
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Many of the newer cell and smartphones will now feature access to social media through the use of social apps. These are usually Facebook and Twitter apps, though for most phones you can download additional apps that can cover MySpace, LinkedIn, and even those that combine all of your social media into one localized location. Some BlackBerry phones may also have the ability to connect to online merchants, such as eBay and Amazon.
These symbols will usually be smaller versions of their company logos.
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Third Party Apps
As with many smartphones, BlackBerry users have the ability to further customize their device with an array of different downloadable applications from the BlackBerry App World. Like Apple's App Store and the Android Market, these apps offer a wide range of apps and games that users can download and install on their devices.
Some of these symbols may either appear on the home screen or within the notification area -- it all depends on the app and the user's settings. For example, the Yahoo! Mail app allows for an icon to appear within the notification area to alert the user when they have mail.
These are just some of the symbols that can appear on a BlackBerry's home screen. Again, the only difference is of course phone model and even OS version, but it can also be user preference, as users can move icons and symbols around to get the most from their phone. The user manual is the best place to start when it comes to learning the ins and outs of your phone, offering you tips and tricks in usage.