Android Tablets and Phones

What's in Your Hand?

Technology is complicated!

And it's not your fault

You don't need to figure it all out.

The device you are holding has significantly more computing power than was used on the initial moon missions! You don't need to figure it all out, but simply know how to harness that power to do what you want. In this lesson, we'll learn how to:

  1. Use the physical buttons and power options of your device.

  2. Familiarize ourselves main Android screens and learn how to navigate them.

  3. Use our knowledge to identify our device name and Android version.

So much more than a phone!

The device in your hand is incredibly advanced and versatile. It's a computer with additional capabilities. Just think of the various apects of our daily lives that it has replaced or impacted:

  • Access to information: News, weather, magazines, phonebook, encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus.

  • Helpful tools: A map, calculator, alarm clock, appointment book, flashlight, pocket watch, stopwatch, magnifying glass, mirror, timer.

  • Entertainment options: Camera, video recorder, music player, movie player, digital books, TV.

While these capabilities are useful, it's important to remember that this device is powerful and difficult to navigate.

Make it familiar

Take a moment to physically examine your device. Try to locate the following features:

  • Power button and volume up and voume down buttons.

  • Speakers and headphone jack.

  • Front and rear cameras.

Your device also has several antennas. It's made for connections to other computers and systems, and it's another example of how complex and advanced your device is!

Press those buttons

You don't need to know about everything inside your device, but it's helpful to be familiar with a few important buttons and components:

The power button is actually a sleep/wake button. Your phone normally stays in a sleep mode so it still receive calls and do other important tasks. It is possible to power off the phone by holding the button down for a few seconds, but this should only be done rarely when the phone is seriously misbehaving or if you want to conserve the battery power for an extended period of time.

Your phone also has a SIM Card that stores your phone number and information about the mobile network you're using. Some newer don't have a physical card, but use an electronic card instead. This card is hidden and inserted into the phone when you first got it.

To make your battery last as long as possible, try to keep it away from extreme tempratures and don't let it completely discharge. A good practice is to charge your device overnight so it's ready to go in the morning.

Finding your way around

It's helpful to know the main screens on your Android device and how to navigate between them. When you press the power button, you'll likely see the Lock Screen. After you unlock it, you'll be taken to the Home Screen. The home screen is the main screen on your Android device and you can return by pressing the Home Button, or swiping up from the bottom on some newer devices.

Try swiping down on the home screen to access the Quick Settings and Notification List, then press the small gear icon to go to the Settings screen.

Swiping up from the middle of the home screen will open the App List. You can get to all your Apps from this list.

Take some time to familiarize yourself with these screens and move between them.

Check your model and version

Let's use what we've learned to find your device's model number and Android version. Here's how:

  1. Swipe down from the Home screen and press the gear icon to go to Settings.

  2. Scroll down on the settings screen and tap the option labeled About Phone.

  3. Write down the information for the Model and the Android version. Note: On Samsung phones, you need to tap on Software Information to find the Android version.

Use this information to try out the helpful device simulators at

Just like looking under the hood of your car, you will see many different settings for your device. It's best to leave them alone unless you know what they do.