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5 ways to customize your Android home screen

5 ways to customize your Android home screen
OlegDoroshin / Shutterstock.com

When you first fire up an Android gadget and get past the lock screen, you'll find yourself on the home screen. Depending on who manufactured your gadget, it might be sparse with just a few icons, or crammed with icons and widgets.

The good thing about Android is that you have full control over how your home screen looks and what's on it. We're going to tell you how to get it just the way you want. Some of these directions might vary a little depending on your version of Android or model of your gadget, but they should work mostly the same.

1. Add and remove icons

On your home screen, you really only want to see the apps you use regularly. To add an app to the home screen, tap the button to bring up your full app list. It will typically look like a grid of squares.

Tap and hold any app you want to move to the home screen. After a second you'll be back on the home screen and you can drag the app to any spot you want. If there are other apps in the way, they'll shift somewhere else. You can drag the app to the far right or left to put it on another page, or drag it to the trash can or "Cancel" icon (whichever your gadget has) at the top or bottom of the screen if you don't want it on the home screen after all. Once you have the app where you want, release it.

Remove apps from the home screen the same way. Find the app and then tap and hold it for a second. You'll see a bar appear at the top or bottom of the screen that has a trash can. Drag the app to the trash can and it's no longer on the home screen. Note that this doesn't delete the app, and you can add the icon back later using the instructions above.

2. Add widgets

Android has widgets you can add to the home screen as well. These can show the weather, new emails, alarms, music controls and more. Simply tap and hold a blank spot on your home screen and you'll get into the home screen management area.

Tap the icon labeled "Widgets" and you can browse through the available ones. If you find one you like, tap and hold it to move it to the home screen, and then place it just like an app. Again, apps and other widgets will move out of its way automatically.

To remove a widget, tap and hold it and then drag it to the trash can at the top or bottom of the screen. Also note that some widgets can be resized to take up more or less screen space. If you tap and hold the widget and then see a border around it with dots, move the dots to change the size. This is important if you've got a crammed home screen. Of course, if that's the case, you can always add more panels.

Next page: Create new panels, switch wallpaper and more
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