Android Tablets and Phones

Home, Sweet Home

Master the Home Screen!

The home screen is a powerful hub for accessing many features on your device. In this lesson, we'll cover:

  1. Helpful home screen gestures and shortcuts.

  2. Navigating from the home screen.

Home Central

When you unlock your device, you will land on the Home Screen. This is the starting point for all activities and where you can access most device features. If you ever get lost, the Home Screen is just a swipe or button press away!

On devices with a Home button, simply press it to return to the Home Screen. For newer devices, use the "swipe from the bottom" gesture to go back to the Home Screen.

There's No Place Like Home!

It's important to be familiar with the Home Screen, including its layout and features. At the top is that status bar. It's a great habit to regularly check this important information about your device such as battery life, mobile and Wi-Fi connections. This is also where your device will notify you about things that may need your attention.

Most of the screen is filled with apps and widgets, which provide quick access to various programs. There's also a 'favourites' row of frequently used apps frozen in place at the bottom for easy access.

Again, you can get back to the Home Screen at anytime by pressing the Home button, or using the 'swipe from the bottom' gesture on newer devices.

Bringing Back the Home Button

If you prefer to use the Home button on a newer device, you can still bring it back. Go to System > Gestures settings on your device to switch from Gesture navigation to 2-button navigation or 3-button navigation.

This setting will display the Home button at the bottom of the screen and can make navigation easier for some users. Try both navigation modes to see which one you prefer.

Moving Between Home Screens

An App is a short name for an application or a software program. Each app on your device has a small button, called a Shortcut or App button, and may also come with one or more larger buttons called Widgets.

You may have several home screens, depending on how many apps and widgets you have. You can switch between these home screens by swiping the screen right or left. Note that the favourite apps at the bottom of the screen always stay the same.

It's very helpful to organize your home screen to fit your needs and make it convenient to access the things that you use the most.

Organizing Your Home Screens

You can customize your home screen to be as helpful as possible. Just long-press an app and then drag it to a new location or select options from the pop-up menu.

In edit mode, try these options:

  • Move an app to a different home page by dragging it to the right or left edge.

  • Delete an app by dragging it to the Remove bin

  • Drag your favourite apps to the favourites tray

  • Create an group of apps by dragging an app on top of another app, or separate apps by dragging them out of the group.

If you long-press an empty area on your home screen, you get some additonal options. One option is to add Widgets to your home screen as follows:

  • Press the Widgets button to explore available widgets

  • Long-press and drag a widget on to one of your home screens

  • Resize a widget by dragging its edges

Take charge of making your phone as useful as possible by customizing your home screen to fit your needs.

Google Discover

Google Discover is a personalized view of Internet information based on your interests, available on many devices by swiping right on the first Home screen.

To train Google Discover to show more relevant content, simply select the buttons below each article. For even more control, you can go to the settings by clicking the Account circle located at the top right corner. This allows you to influence the content that is shown to you on Google Discover.

Notifications and Quick Controls

Swipe down from the very top of the screen to see recent notifications. This screen summarizes everything that you missed since you last checked your device.

It's a good practice to first view your notifications whenever you use your phone. In a later lesson, we'll explore how to make these notifications as helpful as possible.

You can conveniently access a row of frequent controls at the top of this screen. When you've finished checking your notifications, press the Home Button or swipe up from the bottom on newer devices to return to the Home screen.

The Control Center

The Control Center puts many handy features at your fingertips. Quickly access the Control Center by swiping down twice or with two fingers from the top of the screen.

On the Control Center, you can turn connections on and off and adjust volume and brightness. It also provides quick access to convenient features like do not disturb, auto-rotation lock and using your phone as a flashlight.

The Control Center is also customizable, so you can arrange the controls to suit your needs. Simply use the Edit feature to rearrange the controls as you see fit.

Finally, you can quickly access the device settings from the Control Center by clicking on the gear icon. This icon is located either at the bottom or the top of the Control Center, depending on the model of your device.

Apps List and Search

It's usually quicker to search than to hunt for an item on your device. You can easily search for apps, contacts, settings or even online information. Here's how:

  1. Access the search screen by swiping down from the middle of the Home or Lock Screen.

  2. Type in what you're looking for in the search bar.

  3. Choose the desired ditem as soon as it appears.

Additionally, this screen also displays all the different apps installed on your device. You can use the Apps List to add new apps to your Home Screen using these steps:

  1. Long-press an app that you want to add.

  2. Drag the app and drop it on your Home Screen.

Home Screen Gestures

Getting around on your phone is easy once you learn how to navigate from the Home Screen. Here is a summary:

  • Multiple Home Screens - swipe left and right

  • Discover - swipe right to the last screen

  • Change - long press on an app or empty space on the Home screen

  • Notification Center - swipe down from the top edge

  • Control Center - swipe down with two fingers from the top edge

  • Search - swipe up from the middle

  • Settings - press the Settings app, or choose the gear on the Control Center

  • Lock Screen - press the Sleep/Wake button