How to Find and Use Apps on Your Android Tablet - dummies

How to Find and Use Apps on Your Android Tablet

You probably didn’t purchase a tablet so that you could enjoy the thrill-a-minute punch that’s packed by the Android operating system. No, an Android tablet’s success lies with the apps you obtain. Knowing how to deal with apps is a vital to being a successful, happy Android tablet user.

Starting an app

It’s blissfully simple to run an app on the Home screen: Touch its icon. The app starts.

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

  • Not all apps appear on the Home screen, but all of them appear whenever you display the Apps drawer.

Quitting an app

Unlike on a computer, you don’t need to quit apps on your Android tablet. To leave an app, touch the Home icon to return to the Home screen. You can keep touching the Back icon to back out of an app. Or you can touch the Recent icon to switch to another running app.

  • Some apps feature a Quit command or Exit command, but for the most part you don’t quit an app on your tablet — not like you quit an app on a computer.

  • If necessary, the Android operating system shuts down apps you haven’t used in a while. You can directly stop apps run amok.

Finding an app in the Apps drawer

The place where you find all the apps installed on your tablet is the Apps drawer. Even though you can find app icons (shortcuts) on the Home screen, the Apps drawer is where you need to go to find everything.

To view the Apps drawer, touch the Apps icon on the Home screen. This icon has a different look to it, depending on your tablet. There are various looks to the Apps icon, though more varieties may exist.


After you touch the Apps icon, you see the Apps drawer. Swipe through the icons left and right across the touchscreen.

To run an app, touch its icon. The app starts, taking over the screen and doing whatever magical thing that app does.

  • As you add new apps to your tablet, they appear in the Apps drawer.

  • Some tablets allow you to create folders in the Apps drawer. These folders contain multiple apps, which helps keep things organized. To access apps in the folder, touch the icon.

  • The Apps drawer displays apps alphabetically. On some tablets, you can switch to a non-alphabetical viewing grid. With that feature active, it’s possible to rearrange the app icons in any order you like.

  • The Apps drawer also lists widgets. They may appear at the end of the list of apps, or you may have to touch a Widgets tab to view the widgets.

  • For apps you use all the time, consider creating launcher icons or shortcuts on the Home screen.

Switching apps

The apps you run on your tablet don’t quit when you dismiss them from the screen. For the most part, they stay running. To switch between running apps, or to any app you’ve recently opened, touch the Recent icon. Choose the app to switch to from the list that’s displayed.


To reopen an app, choose it from the list. You can hide the Recently Used Apps list by touching the Back icon. On some tablets, the Back icon changes to the Hide icon, looking like the down-pointing chevron shown in the margin.

  • For tablets that lack the Recent icon, press and hold the Home icon to see recent apps.

  • Consider creating shortcuts on the Home screen for the apps you use all the time.

  • Some tablets feature extra buttons on the Recent Apps screen. For example, you can touch a button to view a Task Manager app, which allows for further control over all running apps.