How to Modify the Android Home Screen

By Dan Gookin

The key to unlocking the Home screen on your Android phone can be subtly different from phone to phone. The standard method is to long-press a blank part of the Home screen; do not long-press a launcher icon or widget. Upon success, you may see a Home screen menu, similar to those shown.

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After long-pressing, you see a Home screen page overview along with a few icons, as illustrated in the figure.

The standard items controlled by the Home screen menu are

  • Wallpaper: Change the background image on the Home screen.

  • Apps and widgets: Add launcher icons (apps) and widgets to the Home screen.

  • Folders: Create folders for multiple apps on the Home screen.

  • Pages: Add, remove, or manage multiple Home screen pages.

You cannot long-press the Home screen when it’s full of launcher icons and widgets. Swipe to a screen that’s all or partially empty. If such a screen isn’t available, remove an item from the screen.

Use folders to help organize apps on the Home screen, especially when the Home screen starts to overflow with launcher icons.

On some Android phones, you can customize the Home screen by touching the Menu icon and choosing the Add to Home Screen command. The menu may also list specific commands, such as those shown.

On some Android phones, the long-press action lets you change only the wallpaper.