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Get around on your device

These tips and tricks can help you get familiar with the basic features that you're likely to use on your Android device.

Note: Android isn't the same on all devices. These instructions are for devices running Android 7.1.2 and up. Learn how to check your Android version.

Use common features

Get to know your Home screens

Your Home screens are what you see when you don't have an app open.

  • Go to your Home screens from anywhere
    To get back to your Home screens, tap Home Home.
  • Swipe between Home screens
    You can have multiple Home screens. Swipe right or left to move between them.
  • Swipe right to get to your Google app feed
    To reach your feed, swipe to the right to reach the Home screen that is farthest to the left. Learn about your Google app feed or your Google Assistant.
Move between screens and apps

At the bottom of every screen, you'll see 3 navigation options:

  • Back Back
    Open the last screen you visited, even if it was in a different app. You can go back more than once, but when you reach the Home screen, that's as far back as you can go.
  • Home Home
    Open the center Home screen.
  • Overview Overview
    See recently viewed apps and browser tabs.
    • To open an app or tab, tap its image.
    • To exit an app or tab, swipe its image left or right.
    • To use split screen, touch and hold an image, and drag that image to the top of your screen.
    • To switch between your 2 most recent apps or tabs, double tap Overview Overview.

In some apps, like games, these icons can go away when you're not using them. To bring them back, tap the bottom of your device's screen.

Customize your Favorites tray

At the bottom of every Home screen, above your 3 navigation options, you have a Favorites tray. You can pick which apps go in your Favorites tray.

Remove an app from your Favorites tray

  1. In your Favorites tray, touch and hold the app that you'd like to remove.
  2. Drag it to another part of the screen and release it.

Add an app to your Favorites tray

  1. Open All Apps.
    • On a Pixel phone, swipe up from the bottom of your screen.
    • On other devices, tap All Apps Apps menu.
  2. Touch and hold an app.
  3. Move the app into an empty spot on your Favorites tray and release it.

Favorites tray 

Tip: All Apps lists your apps in alphabetical order.

Search with your voice ("Ok Google" and your Google Assistant)

At the top of your Home screens, you'll find Google Search. Search lets you search your phone or the Internet.

  • To type search terms, tap the Google icon.
  • To speak search terms, or to take an action by voice, say "Ok Google" or tap the Microphone microphone icon.

For phones running Android 6.0 and up, learn about your Google Assistant. For phones running Android 5.0 and lower, learn how to turn on "Ok Google."

Get help via the "More" icon

Many apps and settings screens include More More. To see more options, tap it.

"More" often has help for the current screen.

Control your settings

  • Check and change common settings
    From the top of your screen, swipe down once with one finger to see the Quick Settings short bar, or with 2 fingers to see the full panel.
  • See all settings
    Adjust settings for your network, sound, security, and more in your device's Settings app Settings. Open Quick Settings and tap Settings Settings.
  • Manage settings for the Google app
    On Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P phones, touch and hold an empty space on your home screen and then tap Settings Settings.

Use gestures on your device

You can use gestures to help you interact with your device.

You can turn some gestures on and off. Open your device's Settings app Settings and then tap Moves.

Select or move items on your screen
  • Tap to select
    To select or start something on your device, tap it.
  • Tap to type
    To type something, tap where you want to type. You'll see a keyboard open.
  • Touch and hold
    Touch and hold an item on the screen. Don't lift your finger until the item responds.
  • Drag
    Touch and hold an item. Without lifting your finger, move your finger on the screen until you reach the target position. Then lift your finger. For example, you can move apps around your Home screen by dragging them.
  • Swipe or slide
    Quickly move your finger across the surface of the screen without pausing. For example, you can swipe a Home screen left or right to see your other Home screens.
    Tip: On Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P phones, you can open your notifications by swiping down on your fingerprint sensor.
Change the size and direction of items on your screen
  • Double tap to zoom
    On some pages, like a webpage or map, double tap to zoom in. Double tap again to zoom out.
  • Pinch to scale
    In some apps, like Google Maps and Chrome, you can change the size of what's on your screen by putting 2 or more fingers on the screen at once. To shrink, pinch your fingers together. To enlarge, spread them apart.
  • Rotate screen
    As you turn your device, most screens rotate with it. To let your screen turn, or to prevent it from turning, open Quick Settings and tap Auto-rotate Auto-rotate.
Open or switch between cameras
  • Open your camera
    You can quickly open your camera from any screen by pressing your phone's Power button twice.
  • Switch between cameras
    On Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X phones, with your camera open, you can switch between your front and rear cameras by twisting your phone twice.
    See the double-twist gesture

    Double twist for selfie mode

Check notifications on lock screen

When your phone is powered on but your screen is turned off, you can check your notifications on your lock screen.

  • Double tap to check
    On Pixel phones, you can check your notifications by double tapping your screen.
  • Lift to check
    You can check your notifications by picking up your phone.
    See the lift-to-check gesture

    Lift to check phone

Tip: Learn to control how notifications show on your lock screen.

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Amy is an Android expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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