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WhatsApp Symbols Meaning: What Do They Mean? The Ultimate 2023 Guide

Written by, Nikola Dimovski

Updated August, 23, 2023

WhatsApp is one of the simplest apps to use.

Even so, you might come across some unfamiliar symbols and icons. To help you out, we listed the most common WhatsApp symbols and their meaning.

Let’s get started.

What is WhatsApp?

Launched in 2009, WhatsApp is one of the most popular apps today, counting 40.41 million users in the UK alone. 

According to Backlinko, WhatsApp has been downloaded 29 million times on Google Play and has reported another 10 million downloads on the App Store, becoming the fourth most downloaded app in the world. 

In addition to the mega-popular mobile app, WhatsApp is also available on desktop, thus further increasing its customer reach. 

WhatsApp Home Screen Symbols

The home screen for WhatsApp is basically the ‘chats’ tab which shows all your recent chats. 

Here are the most common WhatsApp symbols you will find there.

Floating chat bubble (on Android) 

The floating chat bubble symbol is the first thing you’ll probably notice on the Android version of WhatsApp’s home screen.

Tapping on it lets you start a new conversation thread. It will take you to a new screen where you can either select a contact or create a group with several contacts. 

The iPhone version has a pencil icon inside the Chats tab in the top-right corner instead of a floating chat bubble. This WhatsApp symbol may look different but the meaning is the same.

You can also create a new contact here.

You will see an icon for QR codes next to the new contact. Tapping on this WhatsApp symbol lets you scan the QR code and add contacts or create a QR code for your number. 

Note: If you are using an iPhone you will find the QR symbol next to your name when you click on Settings. 

WhatsApp Chat Thread Icons

The chat thread icons will pop up when you hold on any one of the conversations.

Let’s go through these WhatsApp icons and their meanings:


This icon lets you pin the chat, keeping it on top of the chat threads even if you receive messages from other conversations. If the chat is pinned, you will see the pin icon next to the name on the home screen. 

On iPhones, you need to swipe right on the chat you want to pin, until you see the pin icon. 

Complete the same procedure again to unpin a conversation. 

Note: You can only pin three chat threads. 

Trash Can

Tap on the trash can icon to delete that chat thread.


You’ll also see a speaker with a diagonal strike-through. This WhatsApp sign allows you to mute a selected chat. The icon will switch to a speaker with two curved lines next to it if you use this option. Then, tap on it again to unmute the selected chat thread.

Box with down arrow

This icon is used to archive chat threads, i.e. lets you hide them without actually deleting them.

Meaning of WhatsApp Checkmark and Clock Icons

WhatsApp uses ticks and clock icons to show the message delivery status. 

Here they are:

A Single Grey Tick Sign

A single tick on a WhatsApp message means that you have sent a message, but the person hasn’t received it yet. 

Two Grey Tick Signs

If a WhatsApp message is showing two ticks, the message has been sent and delivered, but the recipient hasn’t seen it yet. 

Two Blue Tick Signs 

More than one blue tick on WhatsApp means that the message has been seen by the contact you sent it to. 

A clock icon on WhatsApp messages

When you notice a clock symbol on WhatsApp, it means you haven’t sent your message yet, i.e. it’s pending. This might be due to a poor internet connection.

What to do if you see a clock on a WhatsApp message?

If you are using an Android device:

  1. Go to Settings⟹Network & Internet⟹switch Flight Mode between On and Off
  2. Go to Settings⟹Apps & notifications⟹App info⟹WhatsApp⟹Data usage⟹switch Background data on 
  3. Go to Settings⟹Network & Internet⟹Wi-Fi⟹Switch Wi-Fi On 
  4. Connect to different WiFi hotspots or reboot your WiFi router if you are at home

If this fails, check with your network provider as there might be some issue with your connection or device. Keep in mind that you need to have the latest system version available on your phone for the app to work properly. 

If you are using an iPhone: 

  1. Restart your device
  2. Update the WhatsApp app to the latest version (through the Apple App Store)
  3. Repeat the remaining steps from the Android instructions.

Remember that if you are using an unlocked phone or a SIM card with no restrictions, you might have to adjust the APN settings to that SIM card. In this case, it is best to talk to your wireless carrier. 

For more information on iPhones vs. Android devices and which is the biggest seller in the UK, take a look at these intriguing statistics and facts

WhatsApp Chat Symbols Meaning

WhatsApp’s primary function is sending and receiving text-based messages. Even though 10.8 billion texts are sent on average in the UK, WhatsApp, and other messaging apps, continue to grow in popularity across the country. 

Let’s take a closer look at the WhatsApp symbols you will see when you open a specific conversation:

  • Clock symbol—The clock sign on a WhatsApp chat thread next to the contact’s profile picture means that you have enabled disappearing messages with that contact. In other words, if you see a clock symbol in a WhatsApp profile, any messages you send will be deleted after a set period of time. 
  • Video Camera—Tap on the icon to make a video call.
  • Phone handle—Tap on the icon to make a voice call.
  • Menu—Android users will see a three-dot sign that opens up a dropdown menu, while those on iPhones will find this option under ‘More’ when tapping on a contact. The Menu icon gives access to some useful functions, such as:
    • View the contact and all the media you have shared; 
    • Mute notifications from that contact
    • Find a specific keyword that was used in the chat 
    • Change the wallpaper background 
    • Report or block the contact & more
  • WhatsApp paperclip icon—Use it to send a document, audio file, image, contact, or location.  On the iPhone, these are under the Plus sign in the left bottom corner. 
  • Camera—Lets you take a photo or video and send it in the chat.
  • Microphone—Allows you to create voice messages. To begin recording, press and hold the button. When you’re done recording, release your finger, and send the voice message.
  • Right Arrow—When sending or receiving a media file in a WhatsApp chat, tap on this symbol to forward that file to other chat threads.
  • Double Arrow—This means the message has been forwarded multiple times. These messages might be dangerous to your device, so it’s best not to open them. 

Note: If you do open a suspicious link or attachment in the app, here is a guide showing you what to do next.

WhatsApp Chats with Businesses 

WhatsApp recently introduced a shopping button that lets users browse catalogues and buy directly from the app. As 73% of people in the UK stated that they prefer shopping on their mobiles, it’s safe to say that WhatsApp won’t regret adding this feature. 

Some of the symbols you might notice in conversations with businesses include: 

  • Phone With Plus Sign—This is reserved for businesses and unsaved numbers. Tapping on this icon lets you choose between a voice or video call with that number.
  • Catalogue— A shop sign right next to the call symbol means you can access the catalogue of that business and view their products. 

Note: You might also see a money icon next to the message box allowing you to send money through WhatsApp, although this function is not available in all countries. 

WhatsApp Status Symbols

One of the great things about WhatsApp (and also one of the reasons why this app is considered a social media site) is that users can update their status, customising it to reflect their interests, hobbies and likes. 

To update your status, tap on the Status tab. Here you will find two icons—a Pencil and a Camera. On Android, you will find these symbols in the bottom-right corner, whereas on iPhones, they are displayed next to the ‘My Status’ option. 

What do these WhatsApp icons do and what is their meaning?

The Pencil Icon

The pencil icon lets you create a text-based status. 

When tapping on this sign, new icons will pop up to provide you with more options.

  • The emoji sign—Lets you use a selected emoji to include in your new status. However, this option is available to Android users exclusively.
  • T symbol—You can tap on this icon to change the font of your text.
  • Colour Palette icon—This WhatsApp sign can change the background colour.

After you set up your status, you will see a paper-plane icon in the bottom right corner. Press it to publish your new status. 

WhatsApp Camera Symbol

By tapping on the Camera symbol you can take a photo or video and publish from the status screen or send it in a chat while texting. 

When you tap on the camera icon, a new screen will appear showing the following WhatsApp symbols.

  • Crop—This allows you to crop the image, i.e. adjust the size. A new WhatsApp sign will appear when you tap on the Crop symbol, letting you rotate the image. 
  • Pencil—Lets you draw on your image by using your fingers. You can change the colour of the pencil from the dropdown bar that appears when you tap on the icon. 
  • Gallery—Found on the bottom left side of the camera screen, this small grey WhatsApp icon of a photo covering another photo next to the ‘Add a caption’ box lets you choose more images from your gallery that you can upload to your status at once.

Note: A number 1 symbol will appear on the right side of the ‘Add a caption’ space when you send a photo or video to someone. Tapping on this grey coloured symbol will let you set that media file in a ‘View only once’ mode, whereas the file will automatically vanish after the recipient sees it.

WhatsApp Calls Symbols

Under the Calls tab, there will be a telephone handle with a plus next to it. Android users can find this floating symbol on the bottom right side of the screen, while iPhones have it in the top-right corner.

You can use this WhatsApp sign to make a new voice or video call with a selected contact, which you can choose from the screen that will pop up right after tapping on it.

Back on the Calls tab, you will find two types of icons next to your contacts.

The telephone symbol means that you had a voice call with that contact, while a video camera signifies that the call included video as well.

On iPhones, these symbols are under the contact’s name. 

Android users will also see signs under the contacts. These can be:

  • A green diagonal arrow pointing down—Someone called you, and you answered.
  • A red diagonal arrow pointing down— You missed a call from that contact.
  • A green diagonal arrow pointing up—You called someone, and they answered.

On iPhones, you will find this information as text under the contacts. 

WhatsApp Voice and Video Call Screen Symbols

When you want to call someone by WhatsApp, there are two options, video and audio. 

Audio Call WhatsApp Symbols

When making a voice call on WhatsApp, you will see four icons on the bottom of the screen and one in the top-right corner. 

The following symbols are:

  • Speaker—Allows you to turn on the speakerphone so you can use your phone hands-free.
  • Video Camera—Lets you switch to a video call. 
  • Microphone—Lets you mute the call. If the icon has a diagonal line over it, it means the mic is off. 
  • Phone—Above these symbols, you will see an icon with a telephone handle in a small red circle. This WhatsApp sign will allow you to disconnect the call.
  • A person with a plus sign—Found in the top-right corner, this icon lets you add more people to an ongoing call to create a group call.

Note: The setup is almost identical on iPhones and Android. 

Video Call WhatsApp Symbols

If you’re using the video call option, you will see a new screen, similar to the one that pops up when you have a voice call. 

The only difference will find a camera icon instead of a speaker symbol.

This WhatsApp symbol lets you switch between the front and rear camera.

WhatsApp Voice Message Symbols

How do you know if the recipient has heard your voice note? 

Follow the explanations below on voice notes WhatsApp signs and their meaning to find out. 

The colour of the circle on the voice note slider

The tiny circle on the voice note slider will be grey when sending voice messages. It will become blue when the other person listens to your recording.

For the person receiving the message, a green WhatsApp icon, i.e. the small dot on the slider, indicates that the message hasn’t been played yet. When you play a voice note, the colour of the circle changes to blue.

1x Symbol

You’ll see a small WhatsApp sign, a 1x symbol, next to the horizontal line in a voice note. This icon lets you playback the sound 1.5 or 2 times faster.

Final Words

Here’s where our guide ends. As you can see, there’s no doubt WhatsApp has a variety of symbols. Whether you have never used this messaging platform before or are already an experienced user, we hope our guide gave you better insight into WhatsApp symbols and their meaning.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

1. What does the clock symbol mean on WhatsApp?

WhatsApp messages with a clock icon next to them mean that they haven’t been sent yet. 

2. Why is there a clock on WhatsApp?

If the WhatsApp clock symbol is next to the message, you might be having network connection issues. If the clock symbol is next to a WhatsApp user’s profile picture, you have enabled Disappearing messages with that contact. 

3. What does 1 tick mean on WhatsApp?

If you see a WhatsApp one tick, your message is not delivered, meaning that you have successfully sent it but there is an issue on the receiving end. 

4. What are the symbols used in WhatsApp?

Symbols are signs and icons that help users explore the many functions and features of the app. 

5. What do the checkmarks mean on WhatsApp?

These WhatsApp symbols and their meaning are of the highest interest to users as they show whether their message has been seen or not. The two grey ticks mean your message hasn’t been read yet, while the dreaded blue ticks show the recipient has seen your message. 


My name is Nikola, and I’m an SEO Specialist and a tech enthusiast. I graduated from the Faculty of Economics, the department of E-Business Management. My experiences go from implementing ERP Solutions, CRM practices, and finally, on-page and off-page SEO. I take pride in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to SEO and keeping up with the latest changes to search algorithms. I love experimenting with new strategies and testing the results to see what works best. Outside of work, I enjoy tinkering with new tech gadgets and exploring the latest apps and software programs.