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You see the status bar almost everywhere on your iPhone, and it almost always looks the same. But there are a few tricks you can use to spice things up a bit without jailbreaking your iPhone.

The background of the iOS status bar is transparent, so you’ll see different colors and gradients as you switch from app to app. Some developers hide the status bar altogether in their apps, such as games and media viewers. You can’t manually change the color of your status bar without affecting the rest of the system, such as when using Dark Mode, Color Filters, and other tools that change the overall look.

By default, you’ll almost always see the time, cellular signals, Wi-Fi icon, and battery in the status bar. On Touch ID models, it will also show the mobile provider, which users of Face ID models can see from the Lock Screen, Notification Center, or Control Center.

You’ll also see icons come and go automatically based on your activity, such as a navigation symbol when you use traffic directions, a green dot when your camera is in use, a lock when your iPhone is locked, a clock when the alarm is on. , an airplane when Airplane Mode is on, and the AirPlay symbol when streaming to another media device. Other icons you’ll see regularly include SharePlay, Headphones, Networking, and the Personal Hotspot thread.

For something more permanent, try some of the following adjustments.

1. Show battery percentage

The biggest thing you can customize in the status bar is how the battery icon appears. It may appear as a battery icon on its own or with a battery percentage label. If you don’t need to know how much power your iPhone has left, the solo icon works with its own charge level indicator.

Battery percentage is required to know the specific charge remaining. The percentage will appear next to the battery icon on Touch ID models, complete with a % sign. On Face ID models, you can only see this image when opening Control Center, and it will only show the number inside the battery image in the main status bar.

You can enable or disable the feature via Settings -> Battery -> Battery percentage. Face ID models must be running iOS 16 or later, and whether battery percentage is turned on or off, you’ll still see the one with the % sign in Control Center. Touch ID models can run iOS 16 or earlier.

2. Bold All text

A little-known feature will let you bold all text that appears in the status bar, such as carrier name, time, and battery percentage. It’s been around since iOS 15 when Per-App Settings was introduced, but it’s pretty hidden because it’s probably the last place you’d expect to find an option to change a system-wide preference.

The trick is to set your Home screen to bold text. This will make the text on your Home Screen bold, but the status bar is assigned to the Home Screen, so it will also make the status bar text everywhere, even on the Lock Screen. Check out our full guide to see what else bolding the status bar affects.

3. Show the Location Services icon

By default, a location arrow icon appears in your status bar when an app is currently using your location. For example, it should always be visible when apps like Maps are open, and it will appear briefly when you open Weather to check your local forecast. Whenever the app asks for your location, it will be displayed.

There’s not much you can change about it, but you can customize if the arrow appears in the status bar when various system services ask for your location. Go to Settings –> Privacy & Security –> Location Services –> System Services –> Status Bar Icon and turn it on or off.

When enabled, an arrow will appear in your status bar when an enabled service, listed above the Status Bar Icon toggle, requests your location. These include services such as Find My iPhone, Wi-Fi Calling and HomeKit.

4. Enable Low Power Mode

When you enable low power mode, the battery icon in your status bar will turn yellow. It’s a small change, but a change nonetheless. If you have the Touch ID model, turning on Low Power Mode automatically turns on the battery percentage as seen above, so you can kill two birds with one stone.

Now, turning on low power mode has its ups and downs. It will turn itself off when the battery reaches 80%, but won’t turn off if you turn it on when it’s already at 80% or higher. It also disables or reduces features you may want or need to use frequently, such as 5G access, screen brightness, always-on display, screen refresh rate, and receiving email.

See our full guide to Low Power Mode to learn more.

Note that the battery icon is affected by color changes you apply system-wide, such as classic rotation and zoom filters, so you can change yellow to a different color, such as blue, white, or black. With low power mode off, you can get colors like purple, aqua, etc.

5. Set a custom focus icon

Whenever you start a focus, you’ll see its icon in the status bar until you or iOS stops it. If you want a special icon in your status bar to show your current mood, remind you of something, or motivate you to mention a few reasons, turn on the associated focus.

If one of the default focus icons doesn’t work for you, such as Driving’s car icon, Gaming’s rocket ship, and Do Not Disturb crescent, create your own focus with the icon you want.

Go to Settings –> Focus, then tap the plus (+) sign. You may need to delete a focus if you have already reached a total of ten focuses. Select Custom, name the focus, then select the image. There are currently 47 icons, including a smiley face, snowflake, fire, bicycle and paw prints.

You can then adjust other aspects of focus, such as timing. If you want it to act like you’re not even focusing, if you only see the icon, you can mute people and app notifications. If you don’t set a schedule, you can turn it on manually through Control Center.

Other things you can customize

  1. Enable VPN To see the VPN icon and browse the web more securely.
  2. Enable portrait orientation lock see its lock icon and prevent apps from being used in landscape mode. (In Control Center, it only appears on Face ID models.)
  3. Activate two SIM cards see two cell icons and use two different plans. T-Mobile provides a free three-month trial for eSIM compatible phones.
  4. Enable call forwarding on GSM plans to see the phone icon. (In Control Center, it only appears on Face ID models.)
  5. Enable voice control see its microphone icon and control your iPhone using words and phrases.
  6. Turn on airplane mode see its airplane icon and turn off cellular, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.

Cover photo and screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks


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