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Android How-To: The Home Screen

Android, the popular phone, tablet and electronics operating system by Google, is now the number one portable electronics operating system. WorldStart always keeps our readers updated on the latest and most popular tech, so we’ll be doing a multi-week series on how to use Android. If you don’t own an Android device yet, it’s still worth reading because Google gives away the source code to Android. That means it’s showing up on more devices every day.

Part 1: Android’s Home Screen

The home screen is the screen you first see when you unlock your Android device, and to a new user it can look very confusing. Above you’ll see a series of arrows and numbers so we can go over what each of these icons on the screen does.

1. Google Search: Select this icon to access the built-in Google Search app, which will search your device and the Internet (Just press Go after typing your search on the keyboard that pops-up.)

2. App Icon: This arrow points to an icon for an App installed on your device. In this case for the app Gallery image viewer app. Apps are very much like programs on a PC.  Press on an icon to launch the App. You can hold down on an App icon in order to move it from the App drawer and drag it onto your Home Screen.

3. App Drawer: This double row of dots is the icon for your App and Widget drawer. This is where you’ll find the entire list of every program and widget installed on your device.

4. Back Button: This icon will bring you back one screen. For example, if you click on a web page link and wanted to go back to the previous page, press the Back icon. This icon will sometimes disappear and be replaced with an Arrow Down icon, which lets you hide the keyboard if the keyboard is displayed on screen.

5. Home Button: This icon brings you back to your Home Screen on your device. When you click this button inside of another App, the App will stay open and run in the background. To close an App, go to the App’s Settings menu or see Icon #6.

6. Open Apps/App Switcher Button: This icon will bring up a list of all the open Apps on your device when you tap it. If you want to close an open App in the list, simply hold your finger down on the App you want to close, and flick it to the right “throwing” away the App.

7. Options/Settings Button: This button will show you the options or settings menu for the App you are currently using. Each App has different settings and options

8. Wi-Fi & Battery Indicator Button: This combination of an indicator and a button displays your current Wi-Fi signal strength and current charge on the battery. Press on this button and you’ll get a larger display and another small icon  to access popular settings such as volume, brightness, rotation and Wi-Fi/3g.


P.S. Since Android is open source and each device maker can customize the operating system how they choose the pictures and screens may look different then your device. However, the core concepts and many of the icons will still be the same.