Cheat Sheet

Android Phones For Dummies

New to Android phones and need a little help? Get the most use out of your Android with some useful tips and handy advice: Learn how to peruse the home screen, familiarize yourself with common phone icons and touchscreen gestures, discover some tricks, and know where to go for help.

What's on the Home Screen of an Android Phone?

The main screen on an Android phone is called the Home screen. It's where all the action takes place: where you start the apps, work the widgets, and check out what's going on via notification and status icons.

Each phone may sport a different skin, or appearance. The stock Android phone Home screen is shown in the figure. You can find the items in the figure on your own phone's Home screen, although they may not look exactly the same.

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16 Android Phone Icons to Know

Android phones, as well as most Android apps, feature common icons. These symbols work as buttons on the touchscreen: Touch an icon to perform a specific task or action. The icons are quite consistent between the various apps you use. The most common icons are shown in the table.

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7 Finger Movements for Operating the Android Phone Touchscreen

On your Android phone touchscreen, you can perform several basic actions that carry out various day-to-day operations. It's just a matter of teaching your fingers to do what you want them to.

Action How to Do It
Touch Touch the screen.
Double-tap Touch the screen twice in the same location.
Long press Touch a spot on the screen and keep your finger held down.
Swipe Touch a spot on the screen and drag your finger left, right, up, or down.
Pinch Use two fingers, spread apart, to touch the screen and bring both fingers together as you continue to touch the screen.
Spread Use two fingers close together and then spread them apart, touching the screen as you spread them.
Rotate Twist two fingers around a central point to rotate an image, map, or other object on the screen.

10 Android Phone Tricks to Remember

You'll feel like an expert user on the Android phone with this assortment of handy, time-saving tricks. Use them to boost your productivity — or your hopeless addiction to your Android phone:

  • Dictation! You can speak into the phone as an effective and quick alternative to using the onscreen keyboard.

  • Quickly switch between apps by using the Recent icon. If your phone doesn't have a Recent icon, long-press the Home icon.

  • You can add icons and widgets to Home screen pages.

  • Whenever possible, try to use the phone's Wi-Fi Internet connection to avoid incurring mobile data surcharges.

  • Press and hold a key on the onscreen keyboard to peruse alternative characters.

  • Spread your fingers to zoom into a web page, which makes clicking links much easier.

  • If your phone features a pointing device (trackball or arrows on a physical keyboard), you can use it to hop between links on a web page.

  • Quickly put the phone into vibration mode by pressing the Down Volume key until the phone vibrates.

  • When you're on the phone, press the Power/Lock key to lock the phone and turn off the touchscreen.

  • Use the Search icon to look for things on the phone, on the Internet, or in a specific app.

Android Phone: 10 Places for Help and Support

If you ever happen to find yourself in really serious trouble with your Android phone, here is a smattering of trusted places to check out for help:

Cellular Providers

Here are some support numbers you can dial from your cell phone:

  • AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon: 611

  • Sprint Nextel: *2

Phone Manufacturers

Google Android Support

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