We’ve all seen them before: those little icons that show up in our taskbars next to the clock. They come in all sorts of shapes and colors.
*But, what do they mean?*
The specific icons may vary depending on your operating system of your computer, but they will usually have similar functionality.
While some of them are fairly self-explanatory, others can be a bit more confusing. Let’s take a look at what some of the most common taskbar icons mean.
One of the most common taskbar icons is the sound/speaker icon. This icon indicates the status of the sound on your system.
For example, if the speaker is crossed out, that might mean that your system’s sound is muted or disabled.
You can usually click the icon to toggle your sound on/off or to change the system’s output to another device (for example, for switching over to some Bluetooth headphones or speakers).
Wi-Fi / Network Icon
Another common taskbar icon is the Wi-Fi icon (or networking icon if you’re connected via ethernet cable to your router). This looks like a small dot with waves coming out of the top, forming somewhat of an upside-down triangle.
This icon lets you know if you’re connected to a network or not.
If you’re on Wi-Fi and the icon has full bars that means you have a strong connection. If the icon is empty or grayed out, that means your connection is weak you don’t have a connection, respectively.
When you hover your mouse over the icon, you’ll also see the name of the network you’re currently connected to.
If you’re not connected to a network, you might see “Not connected” instead.
It’s also a quick way to access the network settings, which can be useful if you need to troubleshoot a connection issue or change your Wi-Fi password.
Battery / Power Indicator Icon
Probably one of the most important icons for laptop/mobile users will be the battery icon. This one lets you know, at a glance, how much battery life your laptop or mobile device has.
The more full the icon, the more battery life you have. If the icon is empty, that means your battery is running low and you should plug in your laptop soon.
If you’re connected to power it will let you know your current charging status and how much time is left before your battery is fully charged.
If you have Bluetooth turned on, you’ll see a Bluetooth icon in your taskbar. This one looks kind of like a jagged capital “B” letter.
This icon lets you know that your system is able to connect to wireless Bluetooth devices and the status of your Bluetooth connections – such as a wireless speaker/headphones, keyboard or mouse.
You can usually click on the icon to see a list of available Bluetooth devices that you can connect to.
Airplane Mode Icon
The airplane mode icon is another common and quite useful icon. It allows you to toggle airplane mode on/off. It will look like an airplane on most devices.
Airplane mode is a setting that disables all wireless communication on your device. This includes things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular data.
You’ll usually only use this icon when you’re on an airplane (hence the name) but you might also find it useful in other places where wireless communication is not allowed.
Now that you know what some of the most common taskbar icons mean, you can start using them to your advantage.
For example, if you’re trying to conserve battery life, you can click on the battery icon and see how much power you have left. If you’re trying to be productive and minimize distractions, you can click on the speaker icon to mute your sound.
Knowing what the taskbar icons mean can also help you troubleshoot problems.
For example, if your sound isn’t working, you can check to see if the speaker icon is crossed out. If it is, that means your sound is muted and you can just click on the icon to unmute it.
Need Expert Computer Help?
Overall, the taskbar icons are a helpful way to see what’s going on with your computer at a glance.
Next time you’re looking at your taskbar, take a minute to familiarize yourself with the icons and what they mean. It’ll come in handy more often than you think!
We hope this article has helped you understand what some of the more common icons on your taskbar mean.
If you have any other questions about taskbar icons, or need computer help of any kind, don’t hesitate to contact us!