Android Tips: 7 Ways to Get Around Your Phone Faster

Whether you just picked up a brand new Android smartphone or you're simply looking to get the most out of your current Google device, these seven basic tips and tricks will have you speeding around your handheld, doing more than you thought possible, in no time.

By
Mon, April 04, 2011

CIO — When you think of Android smartphones, "productivity" probably isn't the first word that comes to mind. But you don't have to use a BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 device or another boring "enterprise-friendly" handheld to get a lot done in a little timewhether it be for work or play.

Motorola Atrix 4G
Motorola (MOT) Atrix 4G

The following seven Android tips will help streamline your general Android navigation processes so you can move around your device, and access of your favorite apps, media and services, faster and more efficiently.

Also read my Android Battery Tips and Android Security Basics posts for more Android tips and tricks. And checkout my latest list of free Android apps for suggestions on new software.

(Note: The Android tips and tricks described below all work on my Motorola Atrix 4G running Android v2.2.1, but some of them may not be available for all devices or operating system versions.)

1) Customizing Your Android Home Screens

Customizing the individual home-screen "panes" on your Android smartphone is one of the easiest ways to make it your own, as well as reduce the time it takes to access your most frequently used applications. And you can move any application to any home-screen pane.

To move an app from either your "app page," where all your Android software is stored, or from one pane to another, simply press and hold the application for a second or two, until a colored shadow appears beneath it. If you're moving an app from your app page to a home screen page, you'll immediately be returned to the last home screen page you were on before jumping to the app page.

Moving apps around an individual pane, or between panes, is as simple as dragging your finger to the left or right, up or down, after holding the icon for a second to select it. And you can ditch unwanted apps from your home screen panes by holding their respective icons until they're selected, and then dropping them into the trash can, or other similar icon, that appears on-screen.

2) Create Home Screen Widgets for Favorite Apps

One of the coolest things about the Android OS is the ability to use a variety of "widgets," or icons that sit on your home screen and display information so you don't ever have to open the actual applications or services that they're associated with. Widgets can save time and show information you might have otherwise missed.

To assign an Android widget to one of your home screens, just press and hold a blank space on one of those home screens, i.e., a place with no other widgets or applications. And then choose the Android Widgets option for access to third-party app-widgets. On the following screen, scroll through all your third-party widgets and pick the ones you want to display on your home screen panes.

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