What Is the Arrow in the Top Right Corner of the iPhone?

Updated March 23, 2017

If you have an iPhone, you've probably noticed the small purple arrow that periodically appears in the upper right corner of your phone, next to the battery indicator. This purple arrow represents your phone's Location Services -- a feature that determines your approximate location based on information obtained through your proximity to cellular towers and GPS satellites. With your permission, Location Services is used to enhance the functionality of your Maps, Camera, Compass and applications installed from the App Store.


The Location Services feature on your iPhone can be very useful -- particularly if you need directions or want to find nearby points of interest. When Location Services is turned on, you can use the Maps icon to obtain turn-by-turn directions, search for nearby restaurants or to pinpoint the exact location of your parked car. When activated for your iPhone's camera, your phone will create a geo-specific tag for every photo and video you take on your phone.

Location Services Settings

You can turn Location Services on or off in the Settings menu of your iPhone -- either by completely disabling the feature or by disabling it for specific applications. One reason you may want to disable Location Services, is to conserve your phone's battery. Another reason is for issues of privacy. When you post photos online that were taken on your iPhone, for example, other individuals can access the geo-tag, making information regarding your whereabouts public to anyone on the Internet.

Location Warnings

Before an application determines and uses your current location, you'll have the option to allow or disallow the feature within the specific application. If you accidentally hit the "Don't Allow" button, or change your mind about enabling Location Services for a specific application, you can reset the Location Warnings in the Settings menu. Go to Settings, General, Reset and then tap "Reset Location Warnings."

Improving Accuracy

You can improve the accuracy of your iPhone's Location Services in a few different ways. First, make sure the date, time and timezone on your iPhone is correct. The easiest way to do this is to select "Set Automatically" from the Settings menu. You also need to enable cellular or Wi-Fi service on your iPhone to maintain your location accuracy. When your iPhone is in aeroplane mode, for example, Location Services can't obtain your accurate GPS location.

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About the Author

Lynn Burbeck is a professional writer with over five years of experience writing for the Web. She has published numerous articles for print and online media including "Grit" Magazine. Burbeck holds a B.A. in journalism and political science.