Getting rid of the hollow arrow icon on your iPhone can be frustrating, but thankfully there are a few simple fixes. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the main causes of the arrow and the best solutions to make it disappear for good.
- The hollow arrow indicates an app is actively using your location in the background.
- You can disable the arrow by turning off Location Services for individual apps.
- Disabling ‘Status Bar Icon’ in Privacy settings removes the icon but doesn’t stop tracking.
- Turning off ‘Speak Screen’ in Accessibility can also remove the arrow in some cases.
- A factory reset will get rid of the arrow if nothing else works, but should be a last resort.
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What Does the Hollow Arrow on Your iPhone Mean?
The hollow arrow icon appearing in your iPhone’s status bar simply indicates that an app is actively accessing your location data. It shows up whenever an app is using your phone’s GPS or other location services to track where you are.
Some common triggers for the hollow arrow include:
- Using map or navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze.
- Weather apps checking your location for local forecasts.
- Social media apps geotagging your posts with your location.
- Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft tracking your location en route.
- Location-based reminders and alerts from productivity apps.
- Background app refresh allowing apps to update info based on your location.
Seeing the hollow arrow guarantees that an app is currently tracking your real-time location in the background. For some apps this makes sense, but constant location access can drain your battery and may feel invasive depending on the app.
Why Does the Hollow Arrow Icon Keep Showing Up?
If you only notice the arrow icon occasionally while actively using apps, that’s perfectly normal. But some users see the arrow appearing persistently, even when no apps are open. There are a few possible explanations:
Location Access Stuck “On” in Background
Apps that you’ve already granted location permission can access your location data at any time, even in the background when you aren’t using the app.
If you opened an app once and enabled location access, the setting can get “stuck” on and continue tracking you. This constant background location pinging will trigger the hollow arrow.
Location-Based Siri Suggestions
Your iPhone may analyze your location to provide “Siri App Suggestions” on your Lock Screen and in Search. Enabling this can cause frequent location checks and the hollow arrow to display.
Location-Based iOS Services
Certain iOS system services utilize location, which could be triggering the arrow. This includes “Status Bar Icon” under Location Services and “Setting Time Zone” under Privacy settings.
Nearby Device Tracking
Find My and Find My Friends apps can cause the arrow if your location is being shared for nearby device tracking. The same is true for AirTag or Tile tracking devices registered to your Apple ID.
Sometimes app bugs or glitches can get apps stuck repeatedly accessing your location unnecessarily, leading to the hollow arrow. Closing and reopening the buggy apps usually fixes this.
Older iOS versions tend to have more location tracking bugs. Updating to the latest iOS can solve persistent hollow arrow issues.
Now that you know what causes the hollow arrow icon, here are the best ways to get rid of it for good.
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How to Remove the Hollow Arrow Icon on Your iPhone
Method 1: Turn Off Location Services for Individual Apps
The most direct way to stop the hollow arrow from a specific app is to simply disable that app’s access to your location data.
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services
- Scroll down and select the app you want to adjust.
- Choose Never to completely turn off location access. Alternatively, select Ask Next Time to disable background tracking.
- Monitor the arrow icon and repeat for any other problematic apps.
This ensures the app can only get your location when actively in use, which will stop any unwanted background location access.
Method 2: Disable ‘Status Bar Icon’ in Location Services
The “Status Bar Icon” setting under System Services in Location Services shows the hollow arrow whenever any app accesses your location.
Disabling this hides the icon, but doesn’t actually stop any tracking:
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services
- Turn off the switch for Status Bar Icon.
Hiding the icon this way is convenient, but keep in mind that location access will continue unseen in the background. Be sure to manage individual app permissions as well.
Method 3: Turn Off ‘Speak Screen’ in Accessibility Settings
Oddly enough, some users have reported the hollow arrow showing up randomly due to a glitch with the “Speak Screen” function in Accessibility settings.
If you don’t use Speak Screen, try turning it off:
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Spoken Content
- Turn off the switch for Speak Screen.
This isn’t applicable for everyone, but disabling Speak Screen has resolved many users’ mysterious hollow arrows, so it’s worth a shot.
Method 4: Reset Location Warnings for All Apps
If you have location access enabled for many different apps, it can be tedious to manage each one individually.
Thankfully, you can reset them all at once:
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services
- Turn Location Services off.
- Open each app that requires location access once so they ask for permission again.
- Re-enable Location Services when finished.
This forces every app to request your location again next time you open them. You can then choose to only enable it for certain apps selectively.
Method 5: Turn Off Share My Location in Find My
Constant location sharing with Find My and Find My Friends can cause the hollow arrow. Go to Settings > [Your Name] and turn off Share My Location if you don’t need active live location sharing.
Method 6: Factory Reset as a Last Resort
If nothing else works, a factory reset will wipe your iPhone and remove all apps and settings – including anything causing the hollow arrow frustrations.
Reset your device to factory settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Just be prepared to set up your phone from scratch again afterwards.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Hollow Arrow Icon
Does the hollow arrow mean my iPhone is hacked?
No, the hollow arrow does not necessarily mean your iPhone has been hacked or compromised. It simply indicates an app is actively accessing your location in the background. This is normal behavior for many apps. Just be sure to manage location permissions to only allow it when needed.
Why does the arrow come back after restarting my iPhone?
Restarting your iPhone won’t remove the hollow arrow for good. Location access is per app, so you need to disable it for each specific app causing the issue, or do a full factory reset to wipe all settings.
How do I stop the arrow without disabling all location services?
Go to Location Services settings and turn off access for individual apps you don’t want tracking your location. You can also reset location permission prompts so each app asks before accessing your location again next time you open it.
What should I do if no apps show as using location in Settings?
If the arrow persists but no apps indicate location use in Settings, try turning off Speak Screen in Accessibility settings. Also disable Status Bar Icon and/or perform a factory reset if needed.
Why does the arrow keep coming back periodically?
Apps you’ve allowed location access can trigger the arrow whenever they check your location, even in the background when not in use. Restrict background access, turn off Share My Location, or reset all location warnings to prevent this.
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Take Control of Your Location Privacy
The hollow arrow is merely an indicator – removing it alone doesn’t solve the underlying location tracking concerns. Be proactive about managing which apps can access your data to protect your privacy.
Only enable location services for apps that absolutely require it. Disable background access for apps that only need location when in use. Reset location warnings periodically to stay in control.
Following these best practices empowers you to enjoy your iPhone while minimizing unnecessary location tracking. Never hesitate to turn off the hollow arrow icon if it starts feeling intrusive. Just be sure to address the root permissions so it stays gone for good!