What does that Globe icon mean on my Windows Phone?

Every once in a while we like to step back and answer questions you may have about Windows Phone and things about it. Some questions are obvious, but others may leave you scratching your head or maybe you just didn’t feel like asking.

For example, when you swipe to the right to bring up your apps, and you tap on a letter, you get the Roman alphabet jump-list to find something specific.

Question: What is that Globe icon thingamajig at the end?

The answer may be obvious for some of you, but for many, that icon will forever remain unlit by the OS.

Globe icon Windows Phone

Answer: Apps with non-Roman letters!

As an example, I downloaded a non-English (Taiwanese) app to my Windows Phone, and that’s where it goes. Sure, you may not ever use it, but at least now you know why.

How many of you knew this little oddity? How many didn’t? And what else about the OS has you wondering? Comment away!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • So nice of you for letting us know, Daniel ;)
  • But his answer is not entirely correct...
  • If you set your phone to a language like Thai, the globe is FOR the apps using romanized characters or a language other than your own.
  • Haha that's actually funny. But people who use Thai use apps with Roman letters as well so they have that global icon collered in all cases.
  • But... I thought it was for ALL characters except roman letters. Where does 6tag go?
  • Under the hashtag, which is reserved for apps beginning with numbers.
  • Oh... I see... Thanks for the info!
  • false answer, it sort on the local language, if you set to chinese, it mix both chinese and english app, english app sort by roman, while chinese app sort by pin yin the globe icon means that it is outside your local language sorting range
  • First person to ask about WhatsApp gets banhammered :P
  • What's up? :)
  • lol
  • Doc?
  • Hahahahahah!!! Classy!
  • What app?
  • Time to time I saw that icon on my Windows Phone 7 focus flash on the QWERTY board why?
  • *Grabs popcorn*
  • Seems faster!!
  • I am so sick of hearing this today. It is a tad rediculous. Hammer away!
  • 'sup :)
  • @Daniel - I still don't get peoples obsession with WhatsApp - it's just a messenger!!  i got it when it firsrt came out and have used it maybe twice.  That was a comment - not a question - don't banhammer me!!!!  :-)
  • Because in some countries it's the only messaging app people use. I would love to use a different one, but everyone uses Whatsapp, so I can't.
  • Ask them to use what you have available. If they care about you they will switch, if they don't care or switch that means you don't need to talk to them anyway.
    Lol. Not trying to be smart ass or mean. Just saying.
  • Don't people in other countries have good old SMS on their phones? I just don't see the point of a separate app for messaging when SMS is already built in?
  • Can you message multiple people and have group chats in sms? Can you send pictures and videos for free?
  • I Can speak for Colombia. Almost no one uses SMS because it is more expensive than a one minute Phone call. Yes, ridiculous! Also, you can't even find a phone plan that offers more than 20 texts included. Unlimited texting is an unknown concept - it's pretty bad. So, yeah, WhatsApp is Godsend here. Everyone uses WhatsApp!
  • I guess that's the difference - here in Canada almost everyone uses SMS and unlimited text plans are common on most plans. Nobody I know uses WhatsApp.
  • +810!!!
  • Damn, I was just on a roll trying to relate every new article to WhatsApp... Daniel you strict teacher..
  • Damn!! Whats up with that negativity?! :-))))
  • what's WhatsApp?
  • ZOMFG!!!
  • xD thanks?
  • This may sound silly, and it also may be a bug but here goes. When I launch an app, then immediately pull down the Action Center from the top of the screen, the Action center will be closed in a matter of seconds and the app will be put in the foreground. You can pull the notification bar down several times during app launch only to see it pulled back up. It seems odd that the system does that. Feels buggy since I may have accidentally tapped and app and just wanted to look at notifications. I don't think my little experience is in the same league as this little tidbit, but it's my curiousity nonetheless.
  • Same probleme, seems to be a bug
  • Yeah...i hate this thing...
    Maybe coz in wp8.1 dev preview notification centre is not a standalone function. It probably works ON TOP OF everything and NOT WITH everything
  • I'm just guessing, but perhaps the action center can't keep there screen focus where an app is loading. There's only so much CPU to go around.
  • I would hope they'd fix this. I don't care if the app in the background needs to load more slowly, I just need the Action center to work when I pull down from the top of the screen regardless of what I'm doing. Fingers crossed, some of these rough edges get smoothed before the final rollout.
  • It's not a bug, when an app is loading, it is continously applying focus to itself. Once the app is at a certain point (close to being fully loaded), it stops and that is when you are able to close the app with the back button or open the Action Center
  • Yikes, this is poor design in that case. The OS and the user should always have a higher level of control than an app. I disagree though, this is likely a bug since if it was by design, the system wouldn't let you pull down the Action Center until the app had fully loaded. For example, in the multitasking view, you cannot pull down the Action Center at all.
  • It has to have full control during loading or it can't load. The task scheduling is clearly different from a desktop OS, where an app can load in the background. Remember, even in 8.1, background apps are still limited, it goes with the mobile turf.
  • I did know what is was. :) Probably because I've got apps in that section.
  • Thank you.
  • I never even noticed it
  • What about the circle icon with a one in it within Xbox music. I am assuming it means repeat song only once.
  • It means "Repeat only this song"
  • I knew about that...same globe icon appeared in MPATool Dummy(back during wp8)
    But i don't understand why they chose a globe icon...??
  • "International" or "Global" apps
  • No...it appeared in music hub...for the album.."MPA Tool Dummy"
    I dont think it is an APP...!!
    Maybe anything that does not fit in the library or the list...goes into the globe.
  • The developer did that on PURPOSE so they'd be easy to find and sorted out from your music list. Think about it, if you did that for every band and they went by letter. Then delete them.
  • I don't think they did it on purpose...
    Globe Icon comes in artist tab...MPA Tool automatically replaces the tags of all dummy files.. And they don't have any additional tag like of band/artist
    I mean that all the files could also come under artist"MPA Tool Dummy" listed in "M"
  • Perhaps they didn't know what they were doing, that sounds good.
  • I have come up with another hypothesis...
    MSFT always protects its apps and app data...
    So when we copy music..either from win explorer or w8.1 app...to wp, Microsoft automatically writes some SPECIAL TAG with the songs to label it as Windows recognised song(analogous to DRM protection by Nokia)
    But MPA Tool might not be able to write exactly the same tag...so the files are not recognised by windows music hub and put aside as unrecognized language...same as korean or Vietnamese language.
  • I had no idea what that icon was, but at the same time, I never really wondered either, lol.
  • So that it means global? Languages From the rest of the world?
  • Everything non-american
  • I'd say everything with non-Roman characters. Europe is non-American but this applies to them as well.
  • So conversely, do phones with, say a Taiwanese language pack and region, have any English/Roman app titles appearing in the Global section?
  • Exactly...
  • No. If your phone is in Chinese (Taiwan region) you get all the Taiwan alphabets on top, then the Global section (for anything not under the Taiwanese alphabets and Roman alphabets) and then the normal Roman alphabets. For Japanese region you get all the Japanese alphabets, Global, normal Roman alphabets, and etc for other languages Like this (Japanese): https://k9aecw.dm1.livefilestore.com/y2pcuEnEVeI9Dpu2PZhGZbAbE9LjaGO8D61HO3kOHauJiYkHeTzA-XUVOw2hu7N54_aIxZxFpxWqJmkprMk638aKb2eiSoR5HL7A5NgHQmujlY/wp_ss_20140529_0001.png
  • I always thought it was a quick link to my Compuserve account.
  • You still have one?
  • Thanks
  • Line is the rule
  • Line, isn't LINE a messaging up similar to Whatsa...... < covers mouth> lol
  • Please Let it be me!!!!!
  • Hidden apps
  • I swear, just the other day I tried to do a search on this mysterious icon! Thanks for the explanation!
  • If you tap on it 20 times fast your phone will play We Are The World.  If it doesn't work for you, try again until it does as you are probably doing it too slow.  Keep trying. 
  • Thanks! I have always wondered what that globe icon is! :)
  • I have some apps under it because they're in Arabic, I guess people who strictly use English never knew this
  • It would apply to any language that uses the Latin alphabet. 
  • I have questions almost related to this. See, I have saved my contacts starting with the companies name (SEC) than contacts name. But the last one I saved, Christina is not where she should be (under S as the rest) how can I move her under S? And I also have another contact starting with English M but listed under Russian M (under Globe)
  • 2nd week of June. just saying so Daniel doesn't need to use the Thor Hammer. =D
  • this was easy to know! I downloaded this Super Mario Bros game and it has chinese name, it's not a bad port unless I use sound. but I realized it had the globe icon and I finally found out it was used for non-roman characters.
  • Knew it, got some russian named apps.
  • Thanks for the explanation. I just need some apps in U and Y (and the globe), then I have a full-house. Any suggestions for some cool apps?
  • UC Browser and YouTube ))
  • Lol. Never paid attention to it till today. LOL
  • I never even noticed the globe before.  Lol.  Here's the latest on what your Signal Icons mean:   http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/how-to/wp8/calling-and-messaging/what-do-the-icons-on-my-phone-mean
  • Nice to know and satisfy my curiosity.
  • Thanks for the link to the other items. I had the roaming triangle pop up and didn't have a clue what it was. Still don't know why, but at least I know what it was.
  • I use it all the time in my Music. I have quite the extensive library of Japanese music. 
  • Wow, did not know this as mine was not lit like you mentioned :P
  • I knew that, :P, I kind of wished they would add BoPoMoFo in there and let us choose if those options shows up as well, I use mine in english, but do have some apps that are non-english, if the list gets large enough i might have to start crying   (BoPoMoFo is like the alphabet for Taiwan, I don't think China and HongKong uses it though, too bad)
  • I don't have that icon. :( Looking for a great global app that I can download so I can see the icon. Any suggestions? Lol!
  • I never knew that and always wondered what it was. Thanks again wpcentral.
  • Sure thing!
  • I have quite a few "international" apps on my phone. They all stacked there, under the globe. They are not grouped like English apps, It is not very handy
  • Never noticed this but, I've only installed 1 non-English app and immediately uninstalled it cause it was just plain stupid.
  • I'm kinda turned off at how facebook is integrated.  I loved having a unified messaging in the text and that is no longer a stand out feature.  Not even MSN is there.  Does that mean I need a messenger app now. Also Facebook Beta app will not sync with my Nokia 1020 but it does on my wife's Samsung Ativ S.  The main facebook app works though.  At first I love it and I still do but i don't like some of the changes.  It makes me wonder what else is changed that I have not noticed.
  • What does this have to do with the topic? lol!
  • When does windows 8.1 officially get released in the UK? Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • That is apps with non-Latin name. My Lumia has one preinstalled (វាយអក្សរខ្មែរ)
  • Not just apps, but people too...
  • After using WP on and off for two and a half years I honestly never noticed that icon until just now when you pointed it out. Just call me Mr. Observant.
  • :P
  • Never knew that ...
  • There is a new icon in the status bar I noticed when upgrading to 8.1. It's a small rectangle with three horizontal lines across. The middle line is shorter than the other two. What is this?
  • It means you have notifications.
  • So does it mean that if you're Chinese and all your apps are in Chinese, it will all go there? :)
  • I have stored some names in Indian language. For those I get this globe symbol in alphabet list.
  •  Arabs, East Asia, Israelis and so many others are familiar with that. I think all it needs is a thread in the forum, not a post in the news feed!!
  • But you are so, so, so wrong. Pretend for a moment that you don't know so you head to Bing or Google. Guess what? Forum threads rarely make it to search feeds. News articles do. It's called SEO and it helps people out when you write these things. Also, just read some of the comments here! Lots didn't know this and are thankful. The power users of this site can sit on the sidelines for some of our content. I'm fine with that ;)
  • When i saw the title I thought: isn't dat obvious???
  • Nope. And when you begin to write on tech, assuming everyone knows what you know is the best way to ensure your site fails ;) It's the little things that people don't know that make great content. Source: Me after 7 years experience doing this, lol
  • lol cuz for myself that icon is nothing unfamiliar, and I didnt realise there would be people that dont know it~ sometimes it's annoying that all my chinese apps are sorted under that globe, rather than sorting by phoneticising
  • :D Knew it already. Figured it when i installed a chinese-wallpaper app. 
  • Normal people call it the Latin alphabet, since it pre-dates the Romans. But whatever.
  • I hate normies
  • I've always wondered how one spells 'thingamajig', but never looked it up. On an unrelated note, thank you for this article.
  • Welcome on both accounts! (Word 2013 recognizes 'thingamajig' too, weird eh?)
  • Windows Phone is loaded with little gems like this. Today over at MicrosoftProducrReviews there is a post about a nifty little keyboard trick that apparently has been hiding in plain sight since the days of Windows Phone 7! I never knew about it, never heard about it, but they took the trouble to put in a specific fix for a minor annoyance. There are probably a lot more to be found as WP evolves with more and more new features. Part of the fun!
  • It will be helpful if they add the letters of my languages.
  • Thanks I'm trying to get all icons lit up
  • I knew it. I've a twitter friend whose name starts with an Arabic alphabet and shows up in the Globe icon in the People's Hub.