Android 4.0 ICS: Understanding your Android Home Screen

The Android Home Screen is not the same in every phone, because the HTC phones usually come with the HTC Sense UI, and the Samsung Android phones come with their own interface, and the home screens depend totally on the phone model.
Once you have done the initial setup of the phone, the home screen welcomes you with what you would always be seeing from now on. The standard home screen would have the shortcut icons in the bottom, and above that, a few widgets and shortcuts, and the top strip called the notification panel with the various status icons.

Android Home Screen Apps Icon  Android Home Screen Notification Panel

What does the home screen have?
Bottom icons – These are the shortcut icons, which are for the Phone (dialer), Contacts, Text Messaging, App pages. The app list icon is usually located in the center or right corner based on the interface of the phone.
These icons are the ones which you won’t be needing to change, as they are the very frequent shortcuts used by people, and the last or usually the center shortcut is the “app lists” which open up the various pages that have the applications listed in them.
Below the icons, the Navigation buttons are mostly 3-4 in number, and these based on the phone model, could be either touch sensitive or physical ones. These are the Menu, Back and the Home keys.

Android Bottom Icons

Status icons – The status icons are one of the important ones, which would keep showing the users about the status of the various actions that the user or the phone does. The status icons are located in the Notification panel, which always have the time and network status on the right side.

Android Status Icons

There are several status icons like the unread text messages count, missed call alert icons, Data Network icon like “E”, “H”, “3G” for the data network connection status. Many apps notifications too show up in the same panel as the status icons. Whenever you connect your Android phone to the computer using the USB cable, the USB icon appears on the tray. The various connectivity statuses are shown, such as the Bluetooth, Data network, Wi-Fi, GPS navigation etc.
The battery indicator also shows up right beside the network and time status in the top tray.

There are several status icons that keep changing based on what the phone wants to notify us about the current status of the network, battery, data network, time, alarm, connection of headphone, phone ringing mode, GPS, connectivity etc.

Status icons android

Status icons

Multiple Home Screens – Most of the Android phones have got more than one home screen and that usually is between 3 to 7 home screens with a few shortcuts, icons and widgets already present. The shortcuts could be to the applications like Contacts, Calendar, Clock and the various other applications.
The widgets that can be placed on the home screen include mainly the Google search, Connectivity tray, Weather widget and various other that one can place when they install any new applications.

Android Multiple Home Screens  Android Home Screens

To scroll through the various home screens -
The multiple home screens can be scrolled by sliding the finger to left or right based on the side you want to go. When the phone starts up, it would directly open the center home screen, and so you would see the equally divided number of home screens on the either sides.

Making changes to the home screen

Usually the changes to the home screen, like changing the wallpaper or addition of widgets/shortcuts is all possible by long pressing the home screen at an empty area and it would show up the options to make the changes and this again depends on the phone. The Samsung Android phones show up the menu to make the changes, in the bottom area overlapping the shortcut bottom icons, while the Motorola phones show the options only to change the wallpaper on the long press of the home screen.

Motorola Android Home Screen

The Home Screen when long pressed, would show up options to change the wallpaper.

Samsung Android Phone Home Screen Options

The options for home screen changes show up at the bottom when the screen is long pressed.

Shifting the place of a home screen
When the Android phone has multiple home screens, one can shift the placement of a particular home screen which has all the necessary widgets and they want to have all of them on the first home screen instead of one of the multiple screens beside the center home screen. It’s an easy option especially in the Samsung Android phones where you need to pinch the home screen to bring all the home screens at one place, and the shifting can be done by dragging the particular home screen.

Android Home Screen Shifting