Web Controls, Settings, and Options on an Android Phone - dummies

Web Controls, Settings, and Options on an Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

More options and settings and controls exist for the web browser app than just about any other app on any Android phone. It’s complex. Here are a few of the options worthy of your attention.

Setting a home page

The home page is the first page you see when you start the web browser app, and it’s the first page that’s loaded when you fire up a new tab. To set your home page, heed these directions while using the web browser app:

  1. Browse to the page you want to set as the home page.

  2. Touch the Action Overflow icon.

    On some phones, you touch the Menu icon instead.

  3. Choose the command Set Home Page.

    You may have to choose the More command first, or perhaps a Settings command. You may even have to choose a second Set Home Page command from that menu.

    Some web browsers, such as Chrome, don’t have an option for setting a home page.

  4. Touch the Use Current Page button or choose the Current Page item.

    Because you obeyed Step 1, you don’t need to type the web page’s address.

  5. Touch OK.

    The home page is set.

If you want your home page to be blank (not set to any particular web page), set the name of the home page (in Step 4) to about:blank. That’s the word about, a colon, and then the word blank, with no period at the end and no spaces in the middle. A blank home page because is the fastest web page to load. It’s also the web page with the most accurate information.

Changing the way the web looks

You can do a few things to improve the way the web looks on your phone. The key is to find the command that adjusts text size or the zoom. Heed these steps:

  1. Touch the Action Overflow icon and choose the Settings command.

    On some phones you’ll need to choose More and then Settings.

  2. Choose Text Size or the Screen and Text command.

    The command might be also titled Default Zoom.

    In Chrome, choose the Accessibility command.

  3. Select a better size from the menu.

    For example, try Large or Huge. Or adjust the slider to select a text size based on a text preview window.

  • You can spread your fingers to zoom in on any web page.

  • You can also turn the phone sideways to view a web page larger in a horizontal orientation.

Setting privacy and security options

As far as your phone’s web browser app settings go, most of the security options are already enabled, including the blocking of pop-up windows (which normally spew ads).

If information retained on the phone concerns you, you can clear it when you use the web browser app: Touch the Action Overflow icon and choose the Settings command. Then choose either the Privacy or Privacy and Security category. Review the items presented to see which information the app is keeping and which it’s not.

Choose the Clear Browsing Data command to remove any memorized information you may have typed on a web page. Choose items from the list presented, which can be cleared from the phone’s internal storage. Touch the Clear button to remove that information, such as browsing history, cookies, saved passwords, and data from online forms you’ve filled in.

Remove the check mark from Remember Form Data. These two settings prevent any characters you’ve input in a text field from being summoned automatically by someone who may steal your phone.

You might be concerned about various warnings regarding location data. What the warnings refer to is the phone’s capability to track your location on Planet Earth. That capability comes from the phone’s GPS, or global satellite positioning system. It’s a handy feature, but one some people find overly intrusive.

Resetting that information is handled by the Settings app: Choose the Location or Location Services item. Touch the Master Control icon to turn the services off if you prefer to wander stealthily.

Do be aware that disabling the phone’s location services renders a few apps useless, particularly the Maps app.

With regard to general online security, always to be smart and think before doing anything questionable on the web. Use common sense.

One of the most effective ways that the Bad Guys win is by using human engineering to try to trick you into doing something you normally wouldn’t do, such as click a link to see a cute animation or a racy picture of a celebrity or politician. As long as you use your noggin, you should be safe.