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.
Table of Contents
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Square Box With Play Icon
Clicking this icon will show all your uploaded videos in the YouTube Studio.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gear Icon (YouTube Settings)
This is a Settings icon. Clicking it will land you on your YouTube account settings page.
Click this icon to view the history of all the YouTube content you have reported so far.
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.
Chatbox With Exclamation Mark
Use this icon to send feedback to YouTube.
Meaning of Symbols and Icons in YouTube Shorts
This icon will allow you to create your own Shorts video.
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.
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.
Tip: Learn how to check the dislike count on YouTube
Refer to this icon as Comments. Tap on it to view all the comments or post a new comment.
Right-Pointing Curved Arrow
This is a Share button that allows you to share YouTube videos with anyone.
Two Circular Arrows
Tap this to create your own unique Short video by using the audio or video from the original video.
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.
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.
The Subscribe button appears next to the YouTube Channel name to help you subscribe to a YouTube channel.
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.
Down Arrow Icon (YouTube Player)
Hitting this icon will minimize the current video you’re playing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Square Box With + Sign
Think of this icon as the Save button. Tapping it will allow you to save a video to your playlists.
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.
Down Arrow Icon (Comment)
Hitting this icon will open the comments section of the YouTube video.
Profile Picture With Heart Icon
This icon appears when the owner of the video replies to or likes certain comments left by viewers.
Meaning of Symbols and Icons in the YouTube Player on Web
A white tick icon next to the YouTube channel indicates that the creator has been verified by 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.
Use this icon to increase or decrease the volume of the YouTube video.
White Rectangular Button With Transcript Icon
This is a Closed Captions/Subtitles icon. Use it to enable or disable subtitles on a video.
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.
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.
Meaning of Symbols and Icons in YouTube Playlists
Tap this icon to edit the playlist name, description, and privacy.
Use this icon to sort your playlist video.
Two-Parallel Lines Icon
Hold-n-drag this icon to reshuffle the play order on your YouTube Playlist.
A lock icon next to your name means that the playlist is private and only you can view it.
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.
This is a Shuffle icon. Tap it to shuffle your playlist order.
Tapping it will minimize your 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 Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and Twitter.