How to Add Widgets to Your Android's Home Screen - dummies

How to Add Widgets to Your Android’s Home Screen

By Dan Gookin

Beyond launchers, the Home screen on your Android device is also where you’ll find widgets. A widget works like a tiny, interactive or informative window, often providing a gateway into another app, or it displays information such as status updates, the current song that’s playing, or the weather.

To add widgets to the Home screen, obey these steps:

  1. Switch to a Home screen page that has enough room for the new widget. Widgets come in a variety of sizes. The size is measured by launcher dimensions: A 1×1 widget occupies the same space as a launcher. A 2×2 widget is twice as tall and twice as wide as a launcher.
  2. Long-press a blank part of the Home screen. You see a Home screen overview, along with icons at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap the Widgets icon. A list of widgets appears.
  4. Long-press the widget you want to add. Swipe through the pages to find widgets, which are listed alphabetically and show preview images, just like apps. Also shown are the widget’s dimensions.
  5. Drag the widget to the Home screen. As you drag the widget, existing launcher icons and widgets jiggle to make room.
  6. Lift your finger. If the widget grows a border, it can be resized.

After adding some widgets, you may be prompted for additional information — for example, a location for a weather widget or a contact name for a contact widget.

  • The variety of available widgets depends on the apps installed. Some apps come with widgets, some don’t, and some widgets are independent of any app.
  • Fret not if you change your mind about the widget’s location.

Resizing a widget

Some widgets are resizable. You can change a widget’s size immediately after plopping it down on the Home screen — or at any time, really: The secret is to long-press the widget. If it grows a box, as shown, you can change the widget’s dimensions.

android-resize-widget
Resizing a widget.

To resize, drag one of the resizing dots in or out. Tap elsewhere on the touchscreen when you’re done.

Moving launchers and widgets

Launchers and widgets aren’t fastened to the Home screen with anything stronger than masking tape. That’s obvious because it’s quite easy to pick up and move a launcher or widget, relocating it to a new position or removing it completely. To start, long-press an item, as illustrated here.

android-move-launcher
Moving a launcher.

Drag the item to another position on the Home screen. If you drag to the far left or far right of the screen, the icon or widget is sent to another Home screen page.

  • When you long-press some launchers, action shortcuts appear. Refer to the earlier section “Using launcher shortcuts.” To move the launcher, ignore the shortcuts and drag your finger to relocate the launcher.

  • On some Samsung devices, long-pressing a launcher displays a pop-up of actions for the icon. As with the shortcuts, drag your finger to make the pop-up vanish.