Android 101: A guide to using your Android phone


m img 54993 - Android 101: A guide to using your Android phone

Android can do a lot for you – but you need to know where to start. Compared to the plain interface of the iPhone, the Android operating system gives you a lot of room for customization and control. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get the most out of your Android phone’s many features.

the desktop

The first thing you’ll notice about Android is that the desktop is a bit different than what’s found on other smartphone platforms. You have a lot of freedom to customize the Android desktop, and you’re not limited to four simple rows of perfectly aligned square icons. As a result, you can customize the Android desktop to your interests and make it as complete and dynamic as you want.

The Android desktop consists of several home screen panels. Depending on the version of Android your phone is using and whether your device has a special overlay like MotoBlur, you might have five to seven home screens.

When you turn on your phone for the first time, you see the main screen of the home screen. This panel is usually centered, and you can access additional panels on either side of the main window by swiping your finger left or right. What happens on the home screens is entirely up to you. You can populate the area with any combination of shortcuts, widgets, and folders.

As you’d expect, shortcuts are small icons that you can use to sideload apps or other features onto your phone. They work similarly to the ones you see on a PC desktop. You can set up a shortcut to do anything from opening a program to linking to a specific web page to placing a phone call.

To add a shortcut, simply press and hold your finger on an empty space on your home screen and select Shortcuts from the resulting pop-up menu. From there, select Applications (to add an app), or Direct Dial, or Direct Message (to create a shortcut to call or text a friend), or Bookmarks (to open a web page), or Directions (to turn-by navigate to a location). rotate specific target).

Widgets are dynamic programs that run right on your home screen. They can perform any number of functions, such as showing you the latest weather or playing music from your personal collection or from the Internet. If you want more, you can download additional widgets from the Android Market.

To add a widget, press and hold your finger on an empty space, as if creating a shortcut (above). This time, however, select the Widgets option from the pop-up menu. Even if you haven’t downloaded anything from the Android Market, you should still have a handful of options built into your phone. Start by adding the Power Control widget; It creates a convenient one-touch toggle control for your phone’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, data sync, and screen brightness.

Folders are a great way to organize your content while also increasing the space on your home screen. A folder allows you to group multiple shortcuts in a single location. When you tap on a folder, a box appears with all the shortcut icons in that folder. You can populate one folder with direct dial shortcuts to all your favorite contacts, and another perhaps with various phone number lookup utilities. Folders help you add a lot of useful things to your home screens without taking up much space.

To add one, press and hold your finger on an empty space. Select Folder and then New Folder. Then drag and drop as many shortcuts as you want into the folder. To give it a custom name, tap the folder once to open it, then hold your finger across the top bar until the Rename Folder dialog box appears on your screen. To move a shortcut, widget, or folder, just touch and hold your finger on it. After a few seconds, it seems to lift off the screen. You can then drag it anywhere, even to another panel, and drop it where you want. As you drag and drop, you’ll also see a trash can icon at the bottom center of the screen; slide any icon down onto the trash can icon to completely remove it from the home screen.

getting around

Android phones have four standard buttons: a back button, a menu button, a home button, and a search button. These buttons help you navigate your phone more easily, no matter what program or process you’re running.

Pressing the back button takes you one step back to what you were doing before you started your current step. It works for web navigation, email navigation, or navigation to a previously opened program.

Pressing the menu button brings up a list of options relevant to the area of ​​the phone you are currently using. If you press it on the home screen, you can access your phone’s settings and other customization options.

The home button has two functions: pressing it once takes you back to your home screen. If you hold them down, you can multitask and switch to other programs you’ve used recently.

Pressing the search button will produce different results depending on where you are in Android. A quick search box appears on your home screen, allowing you to search the web and your phone simultaneously (Android returns the most relevant results from both domains as you type). Within an app, the search button usually launches a specific search for that program, so you can only search your email or your contact list, for example.

The app launcher

You can always find all your apps in the App Launcher. To open the launcher, just tap the square icon at the bottom of the screen. The launcher looks different depending on what version of Android you have and whether or not your phone has a custom overlay.

In the App Launcher, you can tap any app’s icon to launch the program, or press and hold it to drag it directly to the home screen as a shortcut.


Android’s notification panel puts incoming information at your fingertips, no matter what you’re doing. Notifications can come from many different places: email, voicemail, text messages, even social networks and messaging apps. When you receive a new notification, an icon will appear in the top left of your screen. You can pull down the panel to view detailed information about the notification, and then take action if necessary.

Check the settings of different apps to see what kind of notifications they offer, then adjust them to make them work for you.

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