Getting Started with Android - Tips and Tricks

If you are new to the Android Central Forums, Welcome! Don't hesitate to ask a question. Our Advisors, Moderators, and half-million Members will be quick to help. Here are our Guidelines and Android Dictionary.

World-wide, over over 50% of all smartphones are now Androids. Android has hundreds of amazing features, but how do you find them all? Plus with so many apps, how do you find the best ones? This Guide compiles over 500 tips and tricks to help you get the most from Android. Bookmark it as your quick reference. Here we go!

Transfer everything over
Here are special guides to help you transition from your old phone:
Apple User's Guide to Android
BlackBerry User's Guide to Android
Palm webOS User's Guide to Android
Putting Music, Photos, Movies, Wallpaper and Documents on your phone
Backup, Restore or Transfer Apps, Files, and Settings

Email - Gmail

Live Wallpaper

Tips and Tricks
Cut, Copy, Paste, and Share
Search and Voice Search
Extend Your Battery - Speed Up Your Phone
Set Reoccuring Notifications and Put Notifications on Your Lockscreen
Visual Voicemail

This thread is for general topics. Please see the Android Forums for specific phones or rooting.

← Click the Getting Started button at the top of any page to come back here.

Android is a Google mobile Operating System (OS). There are over 700,000 new Android's activated a day and nearly 500,000 Applications for every need. There are dozens of Devices from Motorola, HTC, Samsung, LG, Acer, Asus, and Sony. If you see a word you don't know, see the Android Dictionary.

Choose your carrier. The online maps shows the coverage levels found by users of their Sensorly app. Signal boosters like the Wilson Sleek are at Bestbuy and Amazon. For Sprint users: Get Your Spint EVP Discount, Upgrade Your Sprint Phone Every Year, and Get Great Reception at Home.

Choose your device. You can choose from small, medium, and large. You can opt for a physical keyboard, HD output, video chat, etc. Some phones are "free" but may require a 2-year contract totaling $2,000. Here is a Phone Comparison, and a Tablet Comparison. Note that phones such as the Nexus S line do not come with all of the features listed here.

Contacts, Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn Sync
Android integrates updates from Exchange, Facebook (except the Nexus S), Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other accounts into your Calendar and Contacts. As friends update their email addresses, birthdays, phone numbers, events, photos, and status, your phone is automatically updated.
Set accounts to sync: Tap Home > Menu > Settings > Accounts & Sync to add an account or change settings.
Outlook Calendar Sync can keep your Google (Android) Calendar synced with your Outlook calendar.
New contacts: Always save contacts as Contact Type Google NOT to Phone or they will not be backed up automatically.
Save battery: Set Accounts to update less often to save battery. Tap Menu > Settings > Accounts & sync > {account}.
Backup contacts: Tap Home > Contact (on HTC People) > Inport/Export > Export
Show/Hide Contacts: Tap Contact (on HTC People) > Menu > View to turn on or off contacts,
• For LinkedIn, first download the app.
Show Groups: Tap Contacts > Menu > Groups button to see only certain groups of contacts.

Activate your phone
Here is and article and video on setting up your phone. Here are recent "Everything you need to know" articles:
- EVO 4G - Epic 4G - Droid X - Droid 2

On/Off: Tap On/Off Key on top to turn screen on/off
- - Long Press On/Off (for 1 second) for Power off, Silent Mode, Vibrate Mode, Airplane mode, etc.

Tap Home to leave an app. Tap the app again to come back where you left off.
- - Long Press Home (for 1 second) to see your most recently used apps. MoreRecent shows 15 apps.
- - Tap Home twice to see all of your home screens

Menu: For homescreen or app options and settings
- - To see all apps, tap Menu on Home screen > All Apps

Back ↰: Tap Back to back out of menus or an app

Search: Tap Search for a universal Search of apps and internet. If you phone does not have a Search button, try Long-press Menu.
- - Voice Search: Long Press Search (also for Voice Actions)

Android Basics
Every Android is a little different but here is the general layout. Notifications are in the top bar. Apps and Widgets are in the middle. Main buttons are at the bottom. Swipe left or right for more homescreens. You'll probably want your basic apps such as Contacts, Internet, Voicemail, Messages, and Mail on your center Homescreen.
Find your apps: Tap your Apps icon and tap an app.
Notifications: Email, call, text, and other Notifications appear in the top bar take up no screen space! Drag down to see them.
Homescreens: Your main homescreen can have Folders for 320 apps. Another can be your Setup Control Panel.
Multitasking: Long Press Home (Recent Apps in ICS) then tap a recent app - 2 taps! More on Multitasking later.
Onscreen Keyboard: You have many keyboards and options to choose from. See the Keyboards section.
Applications: There are over 400,000 apps. See the Applications for 100 of our favorites (and how to install them).
Search: Tap Search and just type whatever you want. Long-press Search to just talk instead.
Cut & Paste: Just double tap something to Cut, Copy, Paste, and Share

Download an App or Widget

← Tap the Android Market icon to download applications or widgets. A widget is an app on a homescreen that might show your current weather, time, battery life, etc. Be warned, some may drain your battery. To see your apps, tap My Apps. Most are free. You can also upgrade your Email, Messaging, Keyboard, and other apps.

Make it your own
You can also customize almost everything.
• Add an App shortcut or widget: Long Press a blank spot. In Android 4.0 (ICS): Tap MyApps.
→ Remove an app shortcut or widget from a home screen: Long Press and drag to the trash can icon.
Wallpaper: Tap a blank spot on a homescreen and tap Wallpaper (For more, see Wallpapers and Ringtones)
Live Wallpaper: Animated wallpaper. Your background can snow or rain. The earth can spin and little robots dance.
Keyboards - find a keyboard perfect for you.
Theming: You can easily change just the icons or even change it all
Notifications: Customize sounds, vibrations, and LED notifications
Folders: Organize your apps into folders

To Zoom In or Zoom Out just Pinch Out or Pinch In with two fingers on the screen.

Posting a screenshot with your question can really help others get you answers. In Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) press and hold Volume Down and then tap Power. Some Samsung phones let you Press and Hold Home and tap Power. Some HTC phones can take a screenshot with the Shoot Me app. Here is an app that works for many: No Root Screenshot It ($5) and a bit trickier but free way.

Other Resources
• The Android Central Blog and check in daily for the latest News, Reviews, Videos, Apps, and Device info
How-to and Getting Started articles:
Converting videos: Convert DVD's and other videos to mp4 or 3gp files that can play on your Android phone
Rooting: Rooting let's you customize almost anything on your phone and run special apps.
Tethering: Use your phone as a modem for you PC. PdaNet and EasyTether Lite are popular apps to tether without root.

Uploading images to Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, etc.
PCMagazin: ICS Hot new Android OS
Introducing Android 4.0
Guide To Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Android History

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