How to Use Apps on the Amazon Fire Phone

By Dan Gookin

One of the key skills necessary to using your Fire phone is the ability to run apps. The apps are like programs on a computer. An app is software that carries out specific duties, helps you organize things, or accesses information — or an app can be just for fun. Knowing how to deal with apps is vital to being a successful, happy Fire phone user.

Starting an app

To start an app, find its icon and tap. Apps that you’ve recently opened can be found on the Carousel: Swipe the Home screen from right to left to view those recent apps.

All the apps on your phone are found on the App Grid. To view the App Grid, press the Home button to visit the Home screen. Then press the Home button again, or swipe the touchscreen up, from bottom to top.

To start an app from the App Grid, tap its icon. You may have to swipe the screen up or down to view the variety of available apps; the App Grid can be several pages long.

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When an app starts, it takes over the screen, doing whatever wondrous thing that app does:

  • App is short for application. It’s another word for program or software.

  • New apps are obtained at the Appstore.

  • The top row of apps on the App Grid always appears at the bottom of the Home screen.

  • When the Cloud/Device master control is set to Device, the App Grid shows all apps installed on your phone. When the control is set to Cloud, you see items you’ve obtained from the Appstore, whether they’re installed on the phone or not.

Switching apps

The apps you run on your phone don’t quit when you dismiss them from the screen. For the most part, they stay running. To switch between running apps, or any app you’ve recently opened, press the Home button twice in a row. You see the Quick Switch screen.

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Tap an icon from the Quick Switch list to switch back to that app. You can swipe the list left or right to peruse more apps. Or if you don’t find an app to run, dismiss the list by pressing the Home button again, or swipe the screen from bottom to top — the Back technique.

Tap the Home button twice quickly to see the Quick Switch list. If you tap too slowly, you see the App Grid. When you press the Home button too long, you activate voice commands.

Quitting an app

Unlike on a computer, you don’t need to quit apps on your Fire phone. To leave an app, touch the Home button to return to the Home screen. You can also swipe the screen up to back out of any app.

Some apps may offer a Quit command or an Exit command. If so, choose that command to quit the app or leave the activity.

If necessary, the Fire phone automatically shuts down apps you haven’t used in a while. You can directly stop apps that have run amok.

Common icons

Many apps you use on the Fire phone use similar icons. These icons represent common actions or commands, and their use is consistent across many apps.

Name What It Does
Add Adds or creates an item
Close Closes a window or clears text from an input field
Delete Removes one or more items from a list or deletes a message
Done Dismisses an item, a notice, or a message
Edit Lets you edit an item, add text, or fill in fields
Menu Displays an app’s menu or list of commands
Microphone Lets you use your voice to dictate text
Refresh Fetches new information or reloads
Search Searches for a tidbit of information
Settings Adjusts options for an app
Share Shares information stored on the phone via email, social
networking, or other Internet services
Star Flags a favorite item, such as a contact or web page