The home screen of your smartphone contains icons and folders to access your favorite programs easily. In addition, you can have widgets to get quick information like weather or latest news. Fortunately, you do not need to live with the default home screen that comes with your phone. Android provides handful of useful features to customize your home screen. You can make use of these customizations and arrange things as desired. If you are using iPhone, learn more on how to customize home screen in iPhone.
Customizing Android Home Screen
In this article, we will explain about the following options:
- Default home screen settings
- Adding widgets to home screen
- Adding additional home screens
- Creating folders to arrange apps
Note: Though these options will be available in most popular Android models, some phones may have different settings.
1. Default Android Home Screen Settings
As the name suggests, these settings will help you define default settings for your home screen. For example, you can setup functions like displaying notification dots, allowing home screen rotation, etc. To access the default settings of your home screen, press the empty area of your mobile phone for a while. A menu will appear on the screen with three options – Wallpaper & style, Widgets, and Home settings.
Press “Home settings” to see its feature page and here are some of the useful functions you can customize:
- Notification dots: Turning on this feature will show a dot on the app icon whenever there are new activities in the app. For example, you will see a dot on messaging icon when there is a new SMS received. This is very useful to keep track of important apps when you have hundreds of other apps on the home screen.
- At a Glance: If this feature is on, then weather and information about upcoming events will show on your home and lock screen. You can toggle it on or off simply by tapping on the name. You can further customize this feature by touching the gear icon in front of this feature or pressing “Customize” in the pop-up message while turning it on or off. The next page will show you comprehensive settings for events like weather, alerts, travel, etc. There are more personalization settings like turning on location for accurate weather information and location-related features. An important setting is for “Sensitive content on the Lock screen.” If this feature is on, then sensitive content will show up momentarily in the notification area of your phone, like a new WhatsApp message, even if your phone is locked.
There are various other radio buttons on the main page to quickly turn on or off settings like “Add app icons to Home screen,” Swipe to access Google app, “Search your phone,” and “Allow Home screen rotation” are among the frequently used settings.
2. Managing Widgets in Android Home Screen
Widgets help to show information directly on the home screen without opening the app. For example, if you have installed a weather app, normally you need to tap on the app and then see the weather forecast once the app opens up on the screen. Instead of that you can simply add a widget to display weather information directly on your home screen. Some Android models show weather and clock widgets on your home screen by default. However, you can remove them and add the widget of any supported app on home screen.
- Press the empty area of your home screen until a menu appears.
- Choose “Widgets” from the menu, which will open the respective settings page.
- You will see the list of apps installed on your Android phone. There is a search bar where you can quickly search for your desired app. The relevant number of widgets for each app is given with every app. If an app has four widgets, it means there are four different styles and probably sizes of widgets for that app available for you to pick and place on your home screen.
- Keep an eye on the widgets’ size and ensure you have enough space on your home screen to place the widget. Touch the app’s name, which will display its widgets and sizes. Two numbers express the widget size like 4×1, meaning it will take space equal to 4 icons in a horizontal row on your screen. To place the widget on your home screen, press it for a while, move it, and put it on your home screen. With the latest release of Android, it is now possible to resize the widget once you place it on your home screen. When you place the widget icon on the screen, the icon will have anchor points around it. You can hold it from the anchors and resize the icon. However, there is a limit for changing the widget size and this feature may not be available for all widgets.
If you want to remove the widget from your home screen, press it for a long time and drag it to the “Remove” icon at the top of the screen. It also works for other icons on your home screen.
3. Adding Home Screens in Android
Since the size of the single home screen is limited, you can’t keep all of your favorite apps. However, Android allows you have multiple home screens and access them by swiping left or right. You can keep apps on the first home screen and move other apps to second or third home screen. To create another home screen, press an app icon from the present home screen and move it to the right edge of your screen. When you reach the border, Android creates a new home screen, where you can place the app icon.
Remember, when you have a single app icon on the home screen, Android will not allow you to move that app and create a new home screen. You should have more than one app to create multiple home screens.
4. Creating Folders in Android
When you have similar types of apps it is good idea to keep all of them in a single folder like desktop computer. For example, you may have multiple news apps and keeping them as separate icons will occupy the space. You can create a “News” folder and keep all your news apps to easily access them. Creating folders is quite a simple process in Android.
- Keep pressing an icon on your home screen and drag it on top of another icon.
- Android will make a folder for the two icons.
- You can add more icons to this folder simply by dragging the icons and dropping them in the folder.
- Similarly, to delete the folder, you must pull the icons out until one icon is left in the folder. To drag an app, press its icon for few seconds and move it to the desired place on the home screen.
Learn more on managing files and folders in Android smartphones.
Compared to iOS, Android offers numerous ways to customize your home screen. In addition to the above mentioned options, you can add live wallpapers, change app icons and use launcher apps to have additional customizations for home screen.