Learn how to navigate Android and use your Tablet or Smartphone

In this guide we’ll go over the basics of the user interface of Android to help you in understanding how to navigate Android.

The home screen is like your start screen, it’s the place you land on first and from there you can access anything on your device from your favourite games to your emails. Your home screen will look similar to the picture below and we’ll do a breakdown of each section and it’s functions.

Status bar

First up is the Status Bar, located at the very top of your screen, the status bar lets you know whether you have notifications, whether you’re connected to WiFi including signal strength, what the battery levels on your devices are, and the current time. If you have additional features of your phone enabled such as Bluetooth or GPS, these may show up in the status bar as well.

We’ll take a look at what notifications are in a later lesson as well as Bluetooth and other advanced phone features.

Home screen

The home screen is like the index page at the front of a book, it’s where you start when you turn on your phone and its where you go to find different apps on your phone, unlike an index page you can customize and personalize your home screen by changing the background photo, and rearranging the icons on the screen.

You can customise the home screen to show the information you need which may include things like the weather, the time in another country, or even just notes you’ve recorded.

Bottom navigation bar

Lastly at the bottom of the screen is a navigation bar, this is present in every app and provides an easy way to navigate away from an app, the following is an explanation of each button. Note that on older phones you may have a physical button for each of these functions instead of a touchscreen button.

Back – The back button does just what it says, it takes you back to the previous screen you were on, for example if you are on your home screen and you tap on the Play Store app, tapping the back button in Android would take you back to the home screen.
Home – The home button takes you back to the home screen, this provides an easy way to get out of an app and return home.
Recent apps – The recent apps button lets you go back to apps that you left and allows you to switch between multiple apps. Note when you tap the home button you’re not closing the app, just hiding it. The recent apps button also lets you close off any apps that are left open.

Lock screen

When you first turn on or wake up your Android device the first thing you see is the lock screen, depending on your device’s security settings you could have one of many security methods set up.

One common one is no security, with no security enabled you simply have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to unlock your device, other variations might include a password, PIN, fingerprint, or pattern. We will take another look at device security in a later lesson.

The following is a typical Android lock screen, at the bottom of the screen you can see a fingerprint icon indicating that a fingerprint is required to unlock the device.


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