Android Tablets and Phones

Home, Sweet Home

Master the Home Screen!

The home screen is a powerful starting place for accessing many device features. In this lesson, we'll learn:

  1. Helpful home screen patterns and gestures.

  2. Understanding where you are and how to navigate from the home screen.

Home Central

Once you unlock your device, you're on the Home Screen. This is ground zero, the starting place for all your other activities. If at any time, you're not sure where you are, you can always return to the Home Screen. It's just a swipe or home button press away!

If your device has a Home button, you can press it at any time to return to this familiar place. Newer devices use the "swipe from the bottom" gesture to return home.

There's No Place Like Home!

It's essential to be familiar with the patterns and terminology of the Home Screen. At the top, you'll see status information about your device. For example, you'll be able to see the status of your mobile and Wifi connections and how much battery charge remains. Also, this is where the phone will notify you about things that may need your attention.

Apps and widgets fill most of the screen. These are buttons that let you quickly access your favourite programs. At the bottom is a strip of your favourite apps conveniently "frozen" in place.

If your device has a Home button, you can press it anytime to return to this familiar screen. Newer devices use a "swipe from the bottom" gesture to return home.

Bring Back the Home Button

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

This setting displays the home button at the bottom of your screen. People often find this mode easier to use when navigating their devices. You can try switching between navigation modes to see which you prefer.


Swipe down from the top edge of the screen to view recent notification s. This screen summarizes all the information you missed since you last checked your phone.

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

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.

Apps and Search

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

  1. Swipe down from the middle of the Home Screen or the Lock Screen to access the Search Screen.

  2. Tap what you're looking for in the search area.

  3. Choose the item as soon as it appears.

This screen also displays all the different apps installed on your device.

Google Discover

On most devices, you can swipe right on your Home screen to access Google Discover. Discover is a customized view of Internet information based on your interests.

Train your device to show relevant content by selecting the buttons below each article. Also, press the Account circle at the top right and choose settings for even more control.

  1. Swipe right on the Home screen

  2. Influence the content by selecting the buttons below each article

  3. Click your Account circle at the top right and choose Settings for more control

Customized for You!

You can customize each home screen to be as helpful as possible. Long-press any app and then drag or choose options from the pop-up. In edit mode, you can move apps around, group them together and even remove or uninstall them.

Home Screen Gestures

Getting around on your phone is easy once you learn these Home Screen navigation shortcuts:

  • 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

  • Multiple Home Screens - swipe left and right

  • Discover - swipe right to the last screen

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

  • Lock Screen - press the Sleep/Wake button

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