Across the top of the iPad screen is the Status bar. Tiny icons in this area can provide useful information, such as the time, battery level, and wireless-connection status.

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So what is this Status bar telling you?

  • Wi-Fi: This icon, shown here on the far left, looks like waves radiating upward from a small dot. The Wi-Fi icon lets you know that you’re currently connected to a Wi-Fi network.

  • Activity: The next icon shown on the far left looks like a spinning light. When this icon appears on the Status bar, you'll know that some task is in progress — a web page is loading, for example.

  • Time: In the middle of the Status bar is the Time icon. You guessed it: the Time icon displays the current time.

  • Screen Rotation Lock: This icon, the first one shown on the far right, looks like a padlock inside of a circle. This icon tells you that the screen is locked and that the screen image will not rotate when you turn the iPad.

  • Play: When this right-pointing arrow shows up, it indicates that some kind of media (music or video) is playing.

  • Battery Life: The icon that looks like a battery, located on the far right, is just that: the Battery Life icon. It displays the charge percentage remaining in the battery. The indicator changes to a lightning bolt when the battery is charging.

If you have GPS, 3G, or Bluetooth service or a connection to a virtual private network (VPN), a corresponding symbol appears on the Status bar whenever one of these features is active. The 3G icon appears only with 3G-enabled iPad models. (If you can’t even conceive of what a virtual private network is, don’t worry about it.)