HomeEducationalWhat Do Power Button Symbols Mean? ON/OFF Symbols

What Do Power Button Symbols Mean? ON/OFF Symbols


Key Takeaways
  • Power button symbols on electronic devices convey essential information about the device, preventing accidental activation or deactivation that could lead to injuries.
  • The classic power symbol, a circle, is commonly found on computers, laptops, and monitors, indicating the device's on/off status.
  • Various types of power button symbols, such as IEC 60417-5007 for fully powered on state, cater to different functionalities to accommodate global standards and universal recognition.

In electronic devices, the power button serves as the interface for activating and deactivating them. Our daily lives are filled with various symbols on power buttons corresponding to different functions or actions. Whether they are simple circles or more complex icons, these symbols convey essential information about the device.

Here in this guide, we will discuss all the power buttons that are present on electronic devices. So, if you are willing to know about the ON/OFF Symbols printed on switches on different electronic devices, this guide is for you. Therefore, let’s check out the guide.

What Do Power Button Symbols Mean? ON/OFF Symbols

Why is a Symbol Necessary for Power Buttons?

Certainly, there was a need to label power buttons to clearly indicate their functions, preventing accidental activation or deactivation that could lead to injuries.

To create a universally understood symbol, transcending language barriers, it was essential. Writing the symbol’s name in English on the buttons wouldn’t suffice, as not everyone globally understands English.

Moreover, even for English speakers, textual labels could be confusing or hard to read. Therefore, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) was tasked with designing a global symbol easily recognizable by all. This initiative aimed to establish a new “standard” for power symbols, ensuring widespread adoption and understanding.

What is ON/PFF Power Symbol?

In many cases, the circle and line symbol represents whether a device is powered and on (circle and line) or is unplugged (just circle). 

Classic Power Symbol: The Circle

There is no doubt that the circle is the most universally recognized power symbol. This iconic symbol is commonly found on computers, laptops, and monitors, representing the on off symbols functionality. It shows the status of the device when it is lit or filled, while it shows the status of the device when it is darkened or empty.

Standby Mode: The Crescent Moon

Standby Mode: The Crescent Moon

To conserve energy while ensuring quick access, many modern devices feature standby or sleep modes. These power states are commonly represented by a crescent moon symbol, indicating that the device is in a low-power mode and can quickly awaken when needed. This feature is available in smartphones, tablets, and laptops, providing users with an efficient way to manage their device’s power.

The Power Toggle: I/O

The Power Toggle: I/O

There are some devices that feature a power toggle symbol formed by the letter ‘I’ and the letter ‘O’ combined. A power-on sign is represented by an ‘I,’ while a power-off sign is represented by an ‘O.’ In electronic appliances, audio equipment, and other devices with physical switches for turning them on and off, this symbol is commonly found.

What Are The Types of Power Buttons?

As you might have already noticed, different power buttons use different configurations of the letters “I” and “O”. Isn’t this supposed to be an international standard?

Considering that, why are there variations? In order to accommodate different types of on off symbols on power buttons, the IEC has created variations. I’ll give you a quick overview of each one.

What Are The Types of Power Button?

IEC 60417-5007: Fully powered on state

This on off symbols consists of a simple “I.” It signifies that a machine has a full power switch or button. After pressing the button for a short period, the device will remain on until the off button is pressed. To turn off a device that’s on a switch, you need to turn the switch off.

IEC 60417-5008: Complete power off state

All by itself, this symbol represents an “O”. It has the exact opposite meaning as the “I” symbol. It will turn off and remain off when the button is pressed, or the switch is pressed.

IEC 60417-5009: Temporary On state

These on off symbols have probably been seen the most. Essentially, it is a circle with a split in the middle. There is a line running through the gap in the circle, protruding from both sides. In the past, this button was used to put devices into a low-power sleep mode.

Despite this, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) convinced the government to make a change. Currently, this symbol is used whenever a single button has both an on and off function. It can be found on smartphones, tablets, and even full-sized computers due to its universal nature. Many companies have incorporated it into their logos because it is so ubiquitous.

IEC 60417-5010: Not fully disconnected state

This on off symbol is made up of a circle containing a small “I” enclosed within it. This is used for devices like compactors that need to be powered by holding down a button. The device shuts off immediately upon release of the button. The technology is not often found in consumer electronics, but it is commonly found in commercial and industrial equipment.

In some devices, a crescent moon indicates a “sleep” button. There is no IEC standard for this; it is an old IEEE standard that briefly caught on. Nowadays, sleep buttons are rare since they have gone out of style.

Details About Power Buttons or On Off Symbols on Computers:

You will find power buttons on all types of computers, including desktops, tablets, netbooks, laptops, and many others. They’re usually located on the side or top of mobile devices or sometimes next to the keyboard.

The monitor’s power button and switch, as well as the power switch on the back of the computer case, are usually located on the front of a desktop computer. It is actually the power supply that is controlled by the power switch on the back of the case.

When should you use the Power Button on a Computer?

When to Use the Power Button on a Computer?

Once all software programs are closed and your work has been saved, you should shut down the computer. In most cases, it is better to use the shutdown process provided by the operating system.

One of the most common reasons why you would want to use the on off symbols on the power button to shut down your computer is if it is no longer responding to mouse and keyboard commands. In this case, you are probably best off using the physical power button to shut down the computer.

However, if you force your computer to shut down, all open software and files will also be terminated without warning. Additionally, you may cause some files to become corrupt if you lose what you’re working on. There may be a problem starting up your computer if the damaged files cannot be repaired.

What Are Future Trends in Power Button Symbols?

The power button symbol will continue to evolve with technology, reflecting the expanding functions of electronic devices. A changing landscape of technology may result in symbols becoming more abstract or dynamic, adapted to emerging technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence.


Daniel Carver
Daniel Carverhttps://itechhacks.com/
Daniel is a senior content writer at the iTech Hacks. He's having 8 years of experience in Technology and troubleshooting topics. Coming from a background of engineering, you will often see his writing stuff related to How To's, Android, and iOS.


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