How to use Android – Navigation, shortcuts, folders, and more [Back to Basics]

Welcome to Part two of our “What is Android? Back to Basics series, where we attempt to help you find your way around your new Android smartphone or tablet. You don’t need to be a computer scientist, but the numerous features and abilities of this OS do take some getting used to.  In Part one, we talked about what Android is, getting started and setting up your Android device, and the basic features and functionality of the Homescreen. If you’ve missed Part one, you can find it here.

Today, in the second edition of the series, we’ll go into a more detailed explanation of the user interface, and how you can set up the homescreen and UI just the way you like it. Let’s get started!

General Navigation

HTC One Max Drop Down

While some OEMs still add physical buttons (or just one Home button, like Samsung and LG) or capacitive buttons (HTC), modern smartphones and tablets feature touch-based interfaces, and general navigation around your Android device is done via vertical and horizontal swipes, taps, pinching, and long presses. Depending on the device you chose, you may see a different skin or launcher, that feature differing capabilities from each other. But in general, navigation across multiple Android devices is almost the same. A swipe from the top of the screen opens your notification center. Swiping left and right lets you move between homescreens, tapping an icon opens that corresponding app, and every launcher has a quick and easy way, in most cases an easily accessible icon in the dock, to launch the Application Drawer (more about the App Drawer below).

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