What Do Those Symbols on the iPhone Mean?

Chloe Effron
Chloe Effron

Stare at the back of your iPhone long enough and you may begin to question the significance behind that peculiar row of symbols appearing near the bottom. What do they mean? Is it a secret Apple language that will eventually replace our alphabet?

The truth is out there. And significantly less sinister. Here’s what you’re really looking at.

• The “FC” logo actually hosts a third “C,” which indicates that the iPhone is Federal Communications Commission (FCC) compliant. The FCC governs devices that use radio frequency; phones fall under their Class B banner, which mandates they not cause or receive any harmful emissions under normal use [PDF].

• Next is clearly a garbage can on wheels with a very disapproving “X” laid over it. Apple is not being subtle in cautioning you not to throw the device away with the rest of your trash. The company advises owners to contact their local waste authority to find how best to rid themselves of the unit. This specific symbol, however, indicates WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive cooperation, a European attempt to minimize electronic waste in landfills by making it fun to type and say WEEE.

• The exclamation mark inside a circle signals a Class II wireless device, which is important for users in other countries: not all the frequency bands the device may try to use are available everywhere.   

“0682” and “CE” are also European markers. The number designates who approved it (Cetecom ICT services, an accreditation firm) and “CE” (Conformite Europeenne) represents the approval of its sale in the European Union.

Apple’s MacBook sports all of these symbols (minus the 0682 Cetecom notice) but also adds two others.

• Voluntary Control Council for Interference (“VCCI”) is a Japanese regulatory agency. Their stamp of approval indicates the laptop meets their standards for emitting radio frequency (RF) signals.

• That checkmark inside the triangle is a Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) used in Australia to indicate electronic devices that are safe to use.

Even if you don’t have a sleek cell phone case, you may not have to look at any of this gibberish for much longer. In November 2014, President Obama signed the E-Label Act into law, a bill that will allow manufacturers to place these notices in the device’s software. That may not apply to the European symbols, but either way, things will get a little sleeker.

We also popped open an Android device—a Samsung Galaxy SII destined for a museum—and it relegated many of those notices to the battery itself. It also had cautions not to allow it to get wet, poked with a screwdriver, set ablaze, or obtained by a baby. You’ve been warned. 

See Also: What Are the Colored Circles on Food Packages?

Why is Winnie the Pooh Called a Pooh?

iStock.com/CatLane
iStock.com/CatLane

Since A.A. Milne published the first official Winnie the Pooh story in 1926, the character has become beloved by children across many generations. Milne’s writing clearly struck a chord, and the character’s many subsequent TV and film adaptations have endeared him to an even wider audience.

But why is Winnie called a Pooh rather than a bear? Given that most children (and grown-ups, for that matter) have a different idea of what a Pooh is, how has the name stuck?

The answer lies back in the 1920s.

In fact, when first introduced by Milne, Winnie wasn’t even Winnie. Initially, he went by the name of Edward Bear, before changing to Winnie in time for that aforementioned official 1926 debut. The "Winnie" part of the name came from a visit to the London Zoo, where Milne saw a black bear who had been named after the city of Winnipeg, Canada.

As for Pooh? Well, originally Pooh was a swan, a different character entirely.

In the book When We Were Very Young (the same book that introduced Edward Bear), Milne wrote a poem, telling how Christopher Robin would feed the swan in the mornings.

He told how Christopher Robin had given the swan the name "Pooh," explaining that “this is a very fine name for a swan, because if you call him and he doesn’t come (which is a thing swans are good at), then you can pretend that you were just saying ‘Pooh!’ to show him how little you wanted him."

Milne indeed knew what he was doing by using such a word. The names "Winnie" and "Pooh" were soon brought together, and Winnie the Pooh was born. Milne still took a little time out to explain why Winnie was a Pooh, though.

As he would write in the first chapter of the first Winnie the Pooh book, “But his arms were so stiff ... they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think—but I am not sure—that that is why he is always called Pooh."

It's not the most convincing explanation, but it's a formal explanation nonetheless.

Not that the reasoning ultimately mattered too much. The name stuck, having never seen a focus group in its life. A much loved childhood character, with a vaguely funny name, would go on to superstardom. And even be honored with his own holiday, Winnie the Pooh Day, which occurs annually on January 18th.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Why is Winnie the Pooh Called a Pooh?

iStock.com/CatLane
iStock.com/CatLane

Since A.A. Milne published the first official Winnie the Pooh story in 1926, the character has become beloved by children across many generations. Milne’s writing clearly struck a chord, and the character’s many subsequent TV and film adaptations have endeared him to an even wider audience.

But why is Winnie called a Pooh rather than a bear? Given that most children (and grown-ups, for that matter) have a different idea of what a Pooh is, how has the name stuck?

The answer lies back in the 1920s.

In fact, when first introduced by Milne, Winnie wasn’t even Winnie. Initially, he went by the name of Edward Bear, before changing to Winnie in time for that aforementioned official 1926 debut. The "Winnie" part of the name came from a visit to the London Zoo, where Milne saw a black bear who had been named after the city of Winnipeg, Canada.

As for Pooh? Well, originally Pooh was a swan, a different character entirely.

In the book When We Were Very Young (the same book that introduced Edward Bear), Milne wrote a poem, telling how Christopher Robin would feed the swan in the mornings.

He told how Christopher Robin had given the swan the name "Pooh," explaining that “this is a very fine name for a swan, because if you call him and he doesn’t come (which is a thing swans are good at), then you can pretend that you were just saying ‘Pooh!’ to show him how little you wanted him."

Milne indeed knew what he was doing by using such a word. The names "Winnie" and "Pooh" were soon brought together, and Winnie the Pooh was born. Milne still took a little time out to explain why Winnie was a Pooh, though.

As he would write in the first chapter of the first Winnie the Pooh book, “But his arms were so stiff ... they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think—but I am not sure—that that is why he is always called Pooh."

It's not the most convincing explanation, but it's a formal explanation nonetheless.

Not that the reasoning ultimately mattered too much. The name stuck, having never seen a focus group in its life. A much loved childhood character, with a vaguely funny name, would go on to superstardom. And even be honored with his own holiday, Winnie the Pooh Day, which occurs annually on January 18th.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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