How to find the iPhone status bar icons that Apple moved because of the notch

Posted:
in iOS edited November 18
The notch is fine but we've lost where we used to look for information on screen because of it. Most of that can be found in new places if you know where to look yet it's far less convenient than it was.

Comparing the pre-Notch iPhone status bar with the X series
Comparing the pre-Notch iPhone status bar with the X series


Since the iPhone X introduced the notch, all of the fuss has been about how it looks. Some people don't even notice it, some keep being drawn back to it, other companies have copied it. Yet even as it's the most visible feature to tell the world that you have an iPhone X series device, it's also lost a lot of information.

Before the iPhone X, that status bar used to show the name of your carrier and then a startling 26 different other pieces of useful information in icons.

Today it's hard to count the icons because they do vary depending on carrier, territory and whether you're on WiFi or not. However, there are certain icons we used to rely on that are no longer visible.

And when you first realise that they're gone, you spend an age in Settings trying fruitlessly to get them back.

Typical status bar information on an iPhone XS Max
Typical status bar information on an iPhone XS Max


That's a status bar from the iPhone XS Max, the biggest iPhone that Apple makes. Whenever you take a screen grab from a X series iPhone, you don't see the notch because Apple lets the background image fill in that gap.

Even so, you can see the wide space between the icons: they're clearly now ranged right and left with nothing in the middle.

So take that image and tell us: is this iPhone playing music? Is it playing that music over headphones? What's the battery percentage? And is it on VPN or not?

This is all information that you used to be able to see instantly. And that's why you never tapped Play and discovered that your AirPods weren't connected. It's why you never had to remember whether you switched on VPN before you did online banking.

And while it's probably bad for us to keep staring at the exact battery power percentage left, we used to find that useful. Certainly it's a lot clearer than Apple's range of icons that just show a steadily depleting battery with no sense of how fast it was dropping.

Glimpses

You can't get this information back into the status bar permanently but some of it does appear fleetingly.

You get a glimpse of headphones or VPN switching on
You get a glimpse of headphones or VPN switching on


When you first connect to VPN, the status icon appears in the top right part of the status bar before sliding out of view. Similarly, if you connect AirPods then the headphone icon appears for the same brief moment and with the same animated slide out.

If you happen to look at the screen at the right moment, then, you see these icons. You just can't tell later whether the headphones are still on, if the VPN is still connected.

And options we previously had about choosing a percentage as well as a battery icon are gone.

There is a solution

Swipe down from the right hand side of the status bar to call up Control Center. Atop Control Center's regular icons for WiFi, Bluetooth and so on, there is now a new status bar.

Status bar information has moved to Control Center
Status bar information has moved to Control Center


There you go. VPN, headphone connectivity and a percentage battery indicator, just like we've always had -- and just like you've not noticed since upgrading.

This isn't a complaint about the notch. It's not even really a complaint about how it means we can't have as many status icons as we did before. However, it is a complaint that we have no choice in the matter.

Look at that first example status bar again.

Typical status bar information on an iPhone XS Max
Typical status bar information on an iPhone XS Max


On the left, that status bar is showing us the time, the fact that some app or apps may use Location Services but right now none are. On the right, it's got carrier signal strength, WiFi strength and a battery icon that has changed to show that the phone is being charged.

We'd like to change that battery icon so that it shows a percentage instead. We'd be fine not knowing moment to moment what our signal strength is, we could check that before making a call. Or we could just make the call and figure out for ourselves whether anyone answers.

Similarly, location services is interesting when something is using it but we don't require the information unless we're troubleshooting why our battery is going down so much.

Whereas knowing if VPN is on means knowing we can do online banking. Knowing the AirPods are connected means knowing our iPhones aren't going to play loud music for everyone around us.

So we'd like at least some option to choose what we see in the status bar and what we don't.




Keep up with AppleInsider by downloading the AppleInsider app for iOS, and follow us on YouTube, Twitter @appleinsider and Facebook for live, late-breaking coverage. You can also check out our official Instagram account for exclusive photos.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,810member
    I miss having the power remains number on the status bar. I’ve suggested to Apple to give users the option of replacing the analog power meter with the power remaining readout used on the Apple Watch, which somehow manages to cram both the analog power and decimal percentage information into a single readout that I particularly like. 
    SoliolssphericirelandberndogSoundJudgmentwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    What makes you think Apple is going to listen to a voice of reason? Although Apple makes awesome products, they really miss the boat when it comes to basic useability and functionality. eg having a search function for emojis, or as you suggest in the article, having options about what appears across the top of the screen. 
  • Reply 3 of 20
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,094member
    Very bad and ugly UI/hardware design, especially bad because other well designed iPhones (without the notch and bulge) are unessesarily made to suffer.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    irelandireland Posts: 17,477member
    The touch target for the grab handle doesn't come down enough on the display.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,282member
    Worse yet, my iPad doesn’t have the notch, yet they’ve moved the status bar info around. The time is now all the way on the left corner. Meanwhile my SE, which also does not have the notch, the time appears top center where it always did. No consistency.
    cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 20
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 218member
    Good points - but what’s with your obsession with VPN and banking?  No, you don’t need VPN to do banking securely.

    When I first got the X, I missed the percentage indicator most.  But not so important to me anymore.  The lack of indication when Airpods are connected (or, more importantly, when they failed to connect) is a lot more annoying.

    You’ve also taught me something new: the location services icon: I actually never thought about what that icon was for.  Now I do - but I still don’t understand how that’s useful in any way.  Other than in the debugging case you mentioned.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 7 of 20
    irelandireland Posts: 17,477member
    mac_128 said:
    Worse yet, my iPad doesn’t have the notch, yet they’ve moved the status bar info around. The time is now all the way on the left corner. Meanwhile my SE, which also does not have the notch, the time appears top center where it always did. No consistency.
    SE it's on the bottom. But yeah, on the iPads it is annoyingly up in the top corner. It's too far of a reach, really. For all iPhones they should put it down button (on both sides), reserving the centre grab handle for its use, and the entire top for notifications. Then they wouldn't have to enforce this awkward consistency across devices.
    edited November 18
  • Reply 8 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 800member
    2stepbay said:
    What makes you think Apple is going to listen to a voice of reason? Although Apple makes awesome products, they really miss the boat when it comes to basic useability and functionality. eg having a search function for emojis, or as you suggest in the article, having options about what appears across the top of the screen. 
    There is a search function for emojis. Simply type a work like PIE or DOG and then switch to the emoji keyboard - words that are associated with an emoji are highlighted orange. simply tap them and pick the emoji you want.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 9 of 20
    I found a weird behaviour that I don't see any preferences to change. I have a light wallpaper background so when I look at my lock screen all the info is in black type. Then when I swipe down from the top right the info changes to white type, so it's hardly visible.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    If you guys are so annoyed with this then switch to a 8 class device. They still work fine.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    irelandireland Posts: 17,477member
    2stepbay said:
    What makes you think Apple is going to listen to a voice of reason? Although Apple makes awesome products, they really miss the boat when it comes to basic useability and functionality. eg having a search function for emojis, or as you suggest in the article, having options about what appears across the top of the screen. 
    To be fair, this option works quite successfully:


    edited November 18 StrangeDaysfastasleepcornchip
  • Reply 12 of 20
    AppleChurn™ ? (is it a feature?!? :)
    I still miss a regular headphone jack, too...

    I remember the iPhone being introduced as a mobile phone easy enough to use that one did not need a manual...
    edited November 18
  • Reply 13 of 20
    I miss the 5 Dot Signal-strength icon, vs the 4 Bars version. 20% loss of information.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    2stepbay said:
    What makes you think Apple is going to listen to a voice of reason? Although Apple makes awesome products, they really miss the boat when it comes to basic useability and functionality. eg having a search function for emojis, or as you suggest in the article, having options about what appears across the top of the screen. 
    Having options doesn’t equate to basic usability or functionality. Apple’s position is generally that they’re going to design for what they believe is most sensible, useful, whatever, for the largest group of people. This often irks tinkerers and tweakers, but that isn’t the primary use case for iOS devices.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    AppleChurn™ ? (is it a feature?!? :)
    I still miss a regular headphone jack, too...

    I remember the iPhone being introduced as a mobile phone easy enough to use that one did not need a manual...
    Still don’t. Most people don’t give a crap. Adding customization for tinkerers just adds more complication.

    Youre still crying over the legacy analog headphone port? Really? Why didn’t you just put the freebie adapter onto your prized legacy headphones?
    watto_cobrasvanstrom
  • Reply 16 of 20
    AppleChurn™ ? (is it a feature?!? :)
    I still miss a regular headphone jack, too...

    I remember the iPhone being introduced as a mobile phone easy enough to use that one did not need a manual...
    Still don’t. Most people don’t give a crap. Adding customization for tinkerers just adds more complication.

    Youre still crying over the legacy analog headphone port? Really? Why didn’t you just put the freebie adapter onto your prized legacy headphones?
    Well I bought the lightening adapter long before I needed it, to try - what we are talking about seems a $10 DAC - there have been numerous online debates about the early iPod DAC for example, with the Wolfson brand coming to mind, which was if memory serves the iPod4 option, which garnered almost cult reviews for audiophile prowess in a consumer device, and received a resale premium when I finally parted with mine (my ears are old now :)

    I view Jobs as an enthusiast, and an audiophile by all accounts I've read. Personally I have many audio inputs that use standard audio connectors, still analogue (vinyl seems all the rage) and these little bits (donglegate) seem inconvenient, add a layer of physical connection, and raise the question of quality at a price that seems to beg the obvious: www.whathifi.com/news/apples-lightning-earpods-and-35mm-adapter-do-have-dacs

    I've had superb studio grade headphones for over 30 years, as well as much newer stage rated ones, and physics don't seem to have changed much in my time, and so I ask what seem obvious questions to me - why for one (waterproofing perhaps?), and how good is a $10 DAC (times how many source inputs) in the end...?

    The (mostly) good news: 
    www.kenrockwell.com/apple/lightning-adapter-audio-quality.htm
    ifixit.org/blog/8448/apple-audio-adapter-teardown/
    apple.stackexchange.com/questions/252779/how-does-the-lightning-to-3-5mm-adapter-dac-compare-to-the-internal-iphone-dac
    www.head-fi.org/threads/what-is-the-sound-quality-of-iphone-ipad-ipod-touch.627111/page-20#post_12872457
    although I still find yet another dongle clumsy and quite often simply inconvenient...
    numenorean
  • Reply 17 of 20
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,229member
    I miss the 5 Dot Signal-strength icon, vs the 4 Bars version. 20% loss of information.
    Does signal strength really make that much of a difference other than to battery life? In Australia, you either have a connection or you don't, and even 1 bar is enough to have a decent phone call.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    Apple are still great at industrial design but their UX and UI have been shit for a long time.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,676member
    Apple are still great at industrial design but their UX and UI have been shit for a long time.
    Them’s fighting words! 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Whereas knowing if VPN is on means knowing we can do online banking.”

    Uh what? You don’t need VPN to do online banking, that’s some tinfoil hat stuff right there. 
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.