Android OS is well known for its customizability. You just need to find some correct settings to make it look like the way you want. Home screen is the first place that greets you and it is very much essential that you take advantage of all its different elements like wallpapers, widgets and third party launchers that comes with more advanced features. In this article, you will learn how to customize Android’s home screen and make it more useful.
Creating Shortcuts and Folders
To make the home screen more useful and to open apps faster, you can create shortcuts for apps on your home screen. To do this, long press the app’s icon on your app drawer and drop it to the home screen. Once the app icon is dropped to the home screen, you can long-press the icon to move it to anywhere on the screen or to a different home screen.
You can also create a folder which combines several app icons. To create a folder, drag and drop the app icons onto each other. For older Android versions, you will have to create a separate folder first by long pressing anywhere on the home screen and then tapping on Folders and then on New Folder.
To remove a widget, shortcut, folder or any other element, long press the icon to grab it and then drag and drop it to the X at the top of the screen. For older Android versions, you have to drag and drop the element to the “Remove” bar option at the bottom of the screen.
Changing/Applying Wallpapers and Live Backgrounds
You are not using the default wallpaper, are you? Then it’s time to change it. Long press anywhere on the screen and then tap on Wallpaper. You will now see a wallpaper chooser dialog box. This interface might be different on your device, depending on the manufacturer.
There are three options to set your wallpaper from:
- Gallery: This option will open Gallery on your Android. It will display all the images that you have on your device, for example, it will show images that you have captured using your camera, images from Picasa web album and all images that you have downloaded on your phone or tablet. If you like any image from here, then you can set it as your wallpaper.
- Live wallpapers: Live wallpapers are also wallpapers, but they are animated. Some of these live wallpapers come with 3D environment that look very real. There are many live wallpapers that you can find on the web or you can download them from Google Play store also. Snowfall is one such live wallpaper you can try out.
- Wallpaper gallery: This option will display all the preinstalled wallpapers that are available on the device. Normally these wallpapers are very limited and you will need to download more wallpapers from the web.
The wallpaper that you select here will be set on all of your home screens. If you want different wallpapers on different home screens, then you will need to use some third party app for that.
Add Useful Widgets to your Android Home screen
There’s more to widgets then the default Google one. There are widgets available for different tasks, for example, widgets can display calendar, emails, events, digital clock and more. Widgets are very useful as they are the first thing that greet you when you unlock your phone or tablet. Some other useful widgets that third party apps can add are battery usage/monitor widget, weather widget, power control widget, etc. You can get many more useful widgets from the Google Play store.
To add a widget to your Android home screen, open your Apps drawer and tap on Widgets tab. Long press the widget and drop it to your home screen. If you are using an older version of Android, then long press the home screen and then on Widgets. From here, you can add widgets of your choice.
You can drop widgets to different home screens. Android 4.1 and above allows you resize widgets when you long press a widget and then drag it to resize it. What’s more, Android 4.2 supports widgets on the lock screen also.
The default interface works great for many but this does not mean that you should not try any other alternative launcher. A third party launcher from Google Play allows you to get more features, more themes and more home screens. It replaces your default Android home screen with a new one.
For example, if you are on Gingerbread and want that Android 4.0 ICS like interface, then you can install Holo Launcher. Holo Launcher can run on Android 2.2 and up. Go Launcher EX is one such another app that brings fast, powerful and customizable home replacement which is based on Android 4.0 ICS Launcher.
So go ahead and customize your Android’s home screen. It never hurts to get a bit more into tweaking and add more useful features to your device.