How to understand TikTok’s homescreen icons

Icons have become a very handy way to access the functions of your various apps – especially when you’re dealing with a lot of functions on your phone’s relatively small screen. However, if you’re new to a particular app and faced with a plethora of icons, most of which aren’t labeled, how do you know what they are and how to deal with them?

(And believe me, if you’re having this problem, you’re not the only one — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stumbled upon a mystery symbol out of curiosity and then started screaming, “I didn’t mean to do that !” on the screen….)

So I’m going to go through the icons that you’re likely to see as a viewer on your TikTok home screen and various other screens. Remember that apps are very versatile; It’s possible that the icons I see today may have changed a month or even a week after this was written. But hopefully there is still enough information here to help.

Bottom of the screen

Luckily, most of the icons at the bottom of your home screen are actually labeled, but I thought I’d go through them just in case. Left to right:

TikTok icons from left to right: Home, Now, Add, Inbox, Profile.

TikTok icons from left to right: Home, Now, Add, Inbox, Profile.

home: This will take you back to your home screen – although of course it’s not necessarily the same video you were watching previously. Tiktok is anything but predictable.

now: When BeReal — which lets its users send short videos at random moments — became a thing, it was almost inevitable that TikTok would want to be a part of it. With the Now feature turned on, you’ll receive daily notifications for taking and sending photos taken with your front and back cameras.

Add to: The big plus sign in the middle is of course where you add a new TikTok video. Sorry, I know it’s obvious, but it needs to be part of this overview.

inbox: This is where you can review all your recent activity, although the layout can be a bit confusing. There is an Activities section that provides information on how many people have viewed your profile and available videos on using TikTok. A message area lets you know if you have new followers and if you’ve shared any videos. You can also select people to follow from your contacts list or from a list of “People You May Know”.

profile: takes you to your profile page. When they go there, people will see your username, a brief bio, a count of how many people are following you and who you’re following, and any public videos you’ve made.

What you see on your own profile page is slightly different. Instead of just your own videos, you can access your photo collections, any videos you’ve created but not published, any videos, sounds, effects or anything else you’ve marked as favorites, and any videos you’ve ” favor.”

Right side of the screen

TikTok icons on the right: Creator, Like, Comments, Add to Favorites, Share, Sound.

TikTok icons on the right: Creator, Like, Comments, Add to Favorites, Share, Sound.

These symbols aren’t labeled, but once you know what they’re for, they’re pretty easy to remember. What you may see are numbers that indicate how many people liked the video, commented on it, or added it to favorites.

Upper icon: the icon for the creator who created the video. A small plus symbol at the bottom of the icon allows you to follow this creator.

Heart symbol: you like this video! And you might notice that when you tap it, not only does the heart turn red, but the share icon (three icons down) reveals your chosen social media service’s icon — assuming that if it If you like , you might want to share it.

Three dots icon: This leads to the comments section for this video. Note that tapping the comment icon does not stop the video from playing. So if this irritates you (it does) make sure you pause the video first.

flag icon: adds the video to your favorites collection. If you tap on it, a pop-up window will show you that it has been added to your favorites; when you tap it Administer On the right side of the pop-up you can add it to an existing collection of favorites or start a new one.

Share icon: not only gives you access to a variety of ways to share the video with friends and followers, but also some other features. For example, you can report the video (if you think something is problematic), tap Not interested (hopefully to let the algorithm know you don’t want to see anything like this again), save it or create one duet (in which you react to this video via split screen).

The bottom icon will show you any other videos that use that sound and allow you to save and use that sound as well.

at the top of the screen

If you look from left to right at the top of the screen, you’ll find some icons to help you switch views:

Live: Tap the live icon (which looks a bit like a TV) and you’ll be toggled TikTok Live, where you can watch a live feed with (or without) comments (and gifts) from viewers. If you don’t like the live video you’re watching, tap Discover top right and you can find more. And if you follow certain TikTokers, you’ll often be notified when they’re in a live feed.

the following: allows you to swipe through all the feeds you are actively following; a red dot next to it indicates that new material is available.

For her: the basic TikTok experience; You will be provided with a variety of videos depending on what the TikTok algorithm decides you want to watch


There is actually an icon that often appears on the left side of the screen that can easily be overlooked. It’s the caption symbol, and since it is almost transparent, it can be difficult to see. If the video creator enabled subtitles for the video, they will appear when you tap the icon. If you want to hide the labels again, tap on one of the labels and you will see a Hide captions Button.

TikTok screen shows baby on lawn

The currently visible square (bottom left, just above the creator’s name) indicates that subtitles are available.

TikTok still of baby on lawn with captions.

If you click on a label, you can hide it again.

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