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What Do Symbols and Icons Mean on YouTube

by Rahul Rai

YouTube offers a variety of content including entertainment, educational, live streams, and gaming. If you’re new to YouTube, understanding the meaning and functionality of each icon and symbol might be a bit challenging. But don’t worry, in this article, we will explain the meaning of each icon and symbol on YouTube with their use cases.

Meaning of Home Screen Symbols and Icons in YouTube App

For the sake of uniformity, we’ve used the YouTube app for Android as a reference. You’ll find details about the YouTube app for iPhone in the respective sections.

Cast Icon

This icon has a rectangle with Wi-Fi-like waves in the bottom-left corner at the top of the screen. Tapping on this icon will let you stream the YouTube video directly on a TV.

Cast Icon on YouTube

Bell Icon

A lot of YouTubers keep asking you to click on the Bell icon and that’s for a reason. This Bell icon is like a notification center where you can find all your YouTube notifications, including likes, comments, new videos, and more.

Bell Icon on YouTube Meaning

The number on top of the bell icon indicates the number of notifications that wait for you to check.

Magnifying Glass Icon

Right next to the Bell icon is the Magnifying glass which is a universal icon for Search. You can use this icon to find any YouTube video or channel.

Search Icon

Compass Icon

The compass icon appears just below the YouTube logo in the top-left corner and stands for a quick way to explore the most popular categories on YouTube – from Music to Fashion & Beauty. When you tap on the Compass icon, you get the option to even find the latest trending videos on popular topics.

Compass Icon Meaning on YouTube

Home Icon

At the bottom-right corner, you’ll find a familiar-looking Home icon. Its purpose is very simple – irrespective of wherever you are in the YouTube app, you can tap on the Home icon to return to the home screen view.

Home Icon on YouTube

Shorts Logo

Next to the home icon is the popular Shorts icon that takes you to the Shorts feed. Of course, these shorts are curated based on trends and your viewing preferences. You’ll need to swipe up to check out new shorts.

YouTube Shorts Logo

Plus (+) Sign

Right in the center of the bottom bar is a big + plus icon which is meant for you to quickly record a video to upload on YouTube. Besides, it will also help you go live, and create a community post.

Plus Sign to create YouTube Videos

Subscriptions Icon

To help you find all the channels and YouTubers you’ve subscribed to, you can tap on the Subscription icon on the bottom bar. When you tap on the Subscription icon, you get to see the latest videos and Shorts.

Subscriptions Icon on YouTube

Profile Picture

Tapping this icon will take you to your profile page. From there, you can manage your Google account, run YouTube in incognito mode, add a new account, etc. In the earlier version, the icon was located at the top right corner and has now been shifted to the bottom tab.

Profile Picture Icon (Mobile App)

Library Icon

At the bottom-right corner, there’s a Library icon that gives you access to your YouTube watch history, playlists, uploaded videos, downloads, and purchased movies.

Library Icon on YouTube

Three Vertical Dots Icon on a Shorts Video

The three-dotted icon on the top-right corner of a Shorts video reveals settings like reporting, expressing disinterest, and providing feedback to inform YouTube about your preferences.

3-Dotted Icon on YouTube Shorts

Speaker and CC Symbol on YouTube Video Previews

While browsing the home feed, several videos will start automatic previews. There is a speaker symbol with a diagonal line which indicates that the audio is muted. Tapping on it will play the audio in the inline player.

Speaker and CC Symbol on YouTube

Right below the speaker icon, you will see a CC icon that allows you to enable or disable subtitles on the video content. If the CC text color appears as grey, that means subtitles are not available for the video.

Time Stamp for Video Duration

When a video preview starts, the Time Stamp on the bottom-right corner of the video preview shows the total time remaining in that video. You can either watch the entire video in the preview or tap on it to view it on a dedicated screen.

Time Label on YouTube

Red Dot on Seek Bar

When a video plays on YouTube, you’ll find a red seek bar with a red dot under it which indicates the current progress of the video. You can also hold it to navigate to a specific part of the video.

Red Bar with Dot in Inline Player YouTube

Three Vertical Dots Under a Video

Every video will have three-vertical dots appearing just under the bottom-right corner of the viewer. When you tap on these three vertical dots icons, you get options such as Save to Watch later, Download video, Save to Playlist, Share, Don’t Recommend channel, Not Interested, and Report.

3-Dotted Icon on YouTube

Live Label

Based on Trends and your YouTube video preferences, you’ll see the Live Label appearing on some video previews. Not that the circular channel icon will also have Live written on it. You can tap on it to view the live streaming of that video.

Channel Profile with Live Label

Channel Profile Photo

The circular icon next to the description of a video is a YouTube channel’s profile icon. You can tap on it to head directly to the YouTube channel’s page.

Channel Profile with Live Label

Channel Profile Photo With Live Label

At times you will see the Live icon on the YouTube channel profile and the bottom-right corner of the video. A YouTube channel or profile icon with a Live label takes you to the live stream broadcasting in real-time.

Channel Profile with Live Label

Also Read: To make viewing videos safe at home, check out the differences between YouTube and YouTube Kids.

Meaning of Symbols and Icons on YouTube Web Home

In the YouTube web version, you’ll find similar icons to those present on the YouTube mobile app and their meaning will also remain the same. Therefore, we will cover only the essential ones for better navigation and understanding of the platform. Most of these symbols appear on the left sidebar of the YouTube web interface.

Three-Parallel Lines (Hamburger Menu)

At the top-left corner, this familiar Hamburger menu icon takes you to various options, such as Home, Shorts, Subscriptions, History, and more.

3-Parallel Lines (Hamburger Menu) Meaning on YouTube

Red Signal Next to Channel Name

On the YouTube Web, the indicators for Live are slightly different. Under the Subscriptions section, if you see a red signal icon next to the channel name, it means that the channel is currently live-streaming a video.

Red Signal Next to Channel Name Meaning

3. Blue Dot Next to Channel Name

A blue dot next to the channel name serves as a visual indicator to inform you about a new video in the relevant channel.

Blue Dot Next to Channel Name Meaning

Clock With Anti-Clockwise Arrow

Consider this icon as the History button. Clicking it will let you view all your YouTube videos and Shorts watch history. You can even pause or clear your YouTube history from here.

Clock with Reverse Arrow

Square Box With Play Icon

Clicking this icon will show all your uploaded videos in the YouTube Studio.

Square Box with Play Icon Meaning

Clock Icon

All the videos that you add to your Watch Later list appear when you click on the clock icon. While there is no known upper limit to adding videos in Watch Later, it serves as a good reference to videos that you plan to watch later, but aren’t exactly your favorite videos.

Watch Later Meaning on YouTube

Down Arrow Icon

The popular Download icon makes an appearance with a Down arrow on top of an underscore. All the videos that you download for offline viewing appear when you click on this icon.

Downloads Icon on YouTube

Thumbs Up Icon (Homepage)

You may like several videos, but they don’t automatically appear under the Watch Later or Favorites list. Tap this thumbs-up icon to view all the videos you have liked on YouTube.

YouTube Liked Video Icon

Microphone Icon

When typing is cumbersome, you can hit the microphone icon right next to the search box to use your voice to search for videos on YouTube.

Voice Search Icon

Video Camera With + Sign

This is a Create button. You can click on it to upload a video, create a post, and go live on YouTube.

Video Camera with + Sign Meaning on YouTube

Left and Right Arrow

Just above the YouTube video previews, you’ll see buttons with keywords written on top of it. Turns out, it’s a long list of keywords. There are arrows on the left and right of these keyword buttons to help you navigate between them.

Left and Right Arrow at the top of the YouTube homepage

Two Brackets With a Play Icon

A signal icon appearing above the video means that it is a YouTube Mix video. The playlist is usually generated based on your watch history and interests.

YouTube Mix icon meaning

Gear Icon (YouTube Settings)

This is a Settings icon. Clicking it will land you on your YouTube account settings page.

YouTube Settings Icon

Flag Icon

Click this icon to view the history of all the YouTube content you have reported so far.

YouTube Report History

Question Mark

Treat this icon as a Help button. Clicking it will open YouTube’s help desk where you will find valuable resources, FAQs, and a contact form to assist you with any issues or inquiries you may have.

YouTube Help Button

Chatbox With Exclamation Mark

Use this icon to send feedback to YouTube.

YouTube Feeback Button

Meaning of Symbols and Icons in YouTube Shorts

Camera Icon

This icon will allow you to create your own Shorts video.

Meaning of Camera Icon on Shorts

Thumbs Up

That’s a Like button. When you tap it, the icon will change to a blue color, indicating that you’ve added a like to the video. To undo your choice, simply tap the icon again and your like will be removed from the video.

Like Button on Shorts

Thumbs Down

Consider this as a Dislike button. Use it to express your dissatisfaction or disagreement with the video. Tap it again to remove the dislike from a video.

Dislike Button on Shorts

Tip: Learn how to check the dislike count on YouTube

Chat Icon

Refer to this icon as Comments. Tap on it to view all the comments or post a new comment.

Comments Icon on YouTube Shorts

Right-Pointing Curved Arrow

This is a Share button that allows you to share YouTube videos with anyone.

Share Button on YouTube

Two Circular Arrows

Tap this to create your own unique Short video by using the audio or video from the original video.

Remix Icon on YouTube

Profile Picture With Music Icon

By tapping this icon, you’ll discover the name of the music used in the Shorts video, along with a list of other Shorts videos featuring the same music.

Profile Picture With Music Icon

Join Button

Use this Join button to provide monthly support to your favorite YouTube creator. By becoming a member, you unlock exclusive perks, including early access to videos, live chat privileges, and access to members-only emojis.

Join Button on YouTube

Subscribe Button

The Subscribe button appears next to the YouTube Channel name to help you subscribe to a YouTube channel.

Subscribe Button (YouTube App)

Meaning of Symbols and Icons in the YouTube Player App

Play/Pause, Previous and Next Button

By tapping the Previous button (left-pointing arrow), the player will navigate to the previous video, while the Next button (right-pointing arrow) will take you to the subsequent video. Additionally, the Pause and Play buttons allow you to stop or resume playback of the video.

Play, Pause, Previous and Next Button

Down Arrow Icon (YouTube Player)

Hitting this icon will minimize the current video you’re playing.

Down Arrow Icon Meaning (YouTube Player)

Auto-Play Toggle

Use this icon to enable or disable auto-play on a video. A small circle with a pause icon indicates auto-play is disabled, while a small circle with a play icon indicates auto-play is enabled.

Auto-Play Toggle Meaning on YouTube

Cog Icon

Refer to this icon as the Settings icon. Tapping it will offer you a variety of options to customize your viewing experience, including playback speed, quality, captions, loop video, and more.

Settings Icon on YouTube Player

YouTube Music Logo

If you see the YouTube Music logo on a YouTube video, it means that you can listen to the audio of the video on YouTube Music.

YouTube Music Logo on YouTube Player

One thing to keep in mind is that this logo will only appear when the video has been officially available on YouTube Music as well.

Square Border

That’s a Fullscreen button. Simply tap it to switch the YouTube video to full-screen mode and tap it again to exit the full-screen mode.

Full Screen Icon Meaning on YouTube

Bell Icon Next to YouTube Channel

Tapping this icon will let you mute notifications, set personalized notifications, enable all notifications, and unsubscribe from the YouTube channel.

Bell Icon Next to YouTube Channel

Scissor Icon

Tapping this icon will let you create and share a short clip of up to 60 seconds from a longer video. Do note that if you don’t see the Clip button on a video, that means the original creator has disabled the clipping for their video.

Clips Button Meaning on YouTube

Square Box With + Sign

Think of this icon as the Save button. Tapping it will allow you to save a video to your playlists.

Save Button on YouTube

Heart Icon With Dollar Symbol

If you’re a fan of a creator and want to support their work, you can use this icon (Thanks button) to show your appreciation for their content and help them earn additional revenue.

Thanks Button Meaning on YouTube

Down Arrow Icon (Comment)

Hitting this icon will open the comments section of the YouTube video.

Down Arrow Icon (Comment)

Profile Picture With Heart Icon

This icon appears when the owner of the video replies to or likes certain comments left by viewers.

Profile Picture With Heart Icon

Meaning of Symbols and Icons in the YouTube Player on Web

White Tick

A white tick icon next to the YouTube channel indicates that the creator has been verified by YouTube.

White Tick Meaning on YouTube

Music Note Icon

A music note icon next to the YouTube channel is called the Music note badge. The badge indicates that the channel is a verified official artist channel.

Music note badge meaning on YouTube

Speaker Icon

Use this icon to increase or decrease the volume of the YouTube video.

Speaker Icon on YouTube

White Rectangular Button With Transcript Icon

This is a Closed Captions/Subtitles icon. Use it to enable or disable subtitles on a video.

Captions Icon Meaning

White Rectangular Button With Black Square

Consider this icon as the Miniplayer button. Clicking on it will minimize the video player. This way you can continue watching the video in a smaller window while doing other things on your computer.

Miniplayer button on YouTube

Rectangular Box

Refer to this icon as the Cinema Mode button. By clicking it, the video player will expand and occupy the entire screen, providing a more immersive viewing experience.

Theater Mode Icon Meaning

Meaning of Symbols and Icons in YouTube Playlists

Pencil Icon

Tap this icon to edit the playlist name, description, and privacy.

Meaning of Pencil Icon on YouTube

Three-Lines Icon

Use this icon to sort your playlist video.

Three-Lines Icon

Two-Parallel Lines Icon

Hold-n-drag this icon to reshuffle the play order on your YouTube Playlist.

Two-Parallel Lines Icon

Lock Icon

A lock icon next to your name means that the playlist is private and only you can view it.

Lock Icon Meaning on YouTube

Two Arrows With Rectangular Rotation

Consider this as a Repeat button. Tapping it once will turn the icon bold and will set your YouTube playlist in a loop. Tapping it again will display number 1 at the center, indicating that the current song will continue to repeat until the feature is deactivated.

Repeat Button on YouTube

Criss-Cross Arrow

This is a Shuffle icon. Tap it to shuffle your playlist order.

Shuffle Icon on YouTube

Cross Icon

Tapping it will minimize your playlist.

Cross Icon on Playlist

Decoding YouTube’s Symbol For Success

YouTube is a vast video streaming platform and sometimes even tech geeks might find it hard to understand the meaning of each symbol and icon on YouTube. That’s why we tried to cover every possible icon in this guide to make your life easier. By the way, if you’re interested, you can also learn the meaning of every icon and symbol on FacebookInstagramThreads, and Twitter.

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