Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Notification Bar Icons Explained

Now that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has been available for more than a few months and is owned by millions and millions of happy customers, we’re getting a lot of questions about the device. It has loads of options, features, settings and more, and often-times those end up filling the top of your device, the notification bar, with icons.

We’ve received a few questions regarding what all those icons are on your Note 4, and here we aim to help explain what some of them are, what they do, and how to remove a few if you’re not using them. This should answer most of your questions about the Galaxy Note 4 notification bar and all of its icons.

Read: How to Find a Lost Galaxy Note 4

While we’ve covered tons of details and how to’s for the Galaxy Note 4 already, one question we keep getting over and over again is regarding those icons at the top of a users screen. If you’ve recently purchased the Galaxy Note 4, or have family member wondering what that “eye-shaped icon” or weird N icon thing is doing on their device, below is a quick rundown of what they all mean.

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From users asking about the eye icon, a weird N-shaped icon, or even a book with a keylock hole, to what’s this bulls-eye icon on my new Galaxy Note 4. They’re all valid questions, and one’s that we’ve seen more than a few time with the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, and now the newer Note 4. The square with the remote is powered by Peel, and is the Infrared remote control app on the Note 4 to control your TV and living room. I use it daily, and it’s a persistent notification bar, and the controls stay on the lockscreen too.

Sadly not all Galaxy Note 4 models are the same. In fact, some US carriers change certain things and want more control of the notification bar. As a result, not all the icons will always be in the same place, some could look a little different, and others simply won’t show up at all. So while you may see the “eye” icon on your Galaxy S5 or Note 4 (which is the eye-tracking feature) others may never see it on their device.

Read: How to Disable Galaxy Note 4 Automatic App Updates

For starters using looking to learn all about the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, there’s a 181 page PDF full of information which is the official user manual for the smartphone. Rather than digging through all of that though, we have some general details below.

On the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy S4 there was a full icon glossary right on the device in the help menu. However, while the Galaxy Note 4 has an extensive help menu right on the device, it doesn’t detail what each icon means. Many are the same as other devices, so the images below will explain most of them.


Now most users are probably familiar with what some of these mean, but for the first-time smartphone owner the many different icons can be confusing. 4G is what you want to see, but some regions won’t have that, or you’ll be on WiFi instead. Above are a few very general icons, but the more confusing ones are also detailed below.

The bulls-eye, weird hand icon, and creepy eye icon are the few we’ve received the most questions about. If you (or a family member that calls you for help) has been wondering what that eye means on their new phone, it’s simply a feature that can be disabled in settings.


As shown above the bulls-eye icon is for GPS, which is used to retrieve location data for Google Maps, weather applications, Facebook, and a few other various apps and features. This is needed for navigation, and location services, which is another time it may appear on a device. GPS drains battery, so if you’re seeing this all the time there’s probably something keeping it awake, and you may need to head into settings and change location from “High accuracy” to “battery saver mode” to cut down GPS usage.

We get asked a lot of questions about the N-shaped icon as well, which is the icon for NFC. This is a chip inside the Galaxy Note 4 and most devices that enables communication with nearby devices, hence the name Near Field Communications. Google Wallet and many 3rd party speakers use NFC. You can pair a bluetooth speaker by tapping your phone, or make mobile payments with a tap using NFC. However, if you don’t need this, simply head into settings > general > and disable it.


Smart Stay tracks the users eyes, and keeps the screen on while you’re looking at it, and will turn the screen off when you look away. This keeps videos playing, pauses them when you look away, and other fancy eye-detection features. If you see a creepy eye icon on your device, this is why. It isn’t the NSA spying on you.

For the real beginner the squiggly B symbol is for Bluetooth, which is how your phone connects to your car or some wireless accessories and speakers, which should be turned off if you’re never using it. A two-finger swipe on the pulldown menu will bring you to quick settings and tap to turn it off.


Another icon which we’ve received a few questions about is the book and key lock you see below. This is in a different place on the Galaxy Note 4 from Verizon, as some carriers change things a bit, and this also is a feature of the Galaxy S5 as shown below. It’s called Private Mode, and you’ve either enabled it, or did it on accident.

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Private mode is in the settings menu, and once enabled allows the owner to hide pictures, video, apps, and even documents securely behind a password from prying eyes. Never worry about someone flipping through your gallery again when you hand your photo to show off a picture. Not everyone obeys the “don’t swipe through my gallery” rule, so private mode hides anything that needs to be hidden. You can even secure it with the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy Note 4 too.

Simply find this in settings and disable it if you don’t need it, but then those hidden private files will be open to easy access. You can’t remove the icon if Private Mode is enabled.

Read: 55 Best Galaxy Note 4 Apps

If you have an envelope looking icon with an X on it, this means you had a text or MMS message fail to send, so go into your Messages app and make sure all your text messages have been successfully sent.

For whatever reason Samsung has a pretty decent list online, but not on the smartphone itself. In fact, the Galaxy S4 glossary was longer and more informative, so there’s probably a few missing here that users will likely see on their own Galaxy S5. If you’ve ever wondered what an icon was, or what it did, the details above should help clear things up.