Android 101 : The Basics – What you should know

So you just got your sweet new Android phone and you are a little overwhelmed. If you are coming from Apple or Blackberry, there is a large learning curve. I hope that in this article I can brake down some of the basic things you should know about your powerful phone.

I will be doing this whole article on a new Galaxy S 2 (II) running the Samsung TouchWiz launcher (interface). Some things may look different to your phone, but the basics are there. Please comment with any questions you have.


The following button will be found on all Android phones along with a Lock and Volume buttons. Your phone might have some extra buttons or have them in a different order but, these will be your main keys.

Back – Will always take you back one step as well as close any on screen keyboard.

Menu – Will bring up secondary options for your open page.

Home – Will always take you back to your launchers home screen.

Long Press Home – Will bring up your multitasking menu.

Search – This will bring up your Google search function. It will also bring up in app search fields.

Long Press Search – You can configure this to launch certain apps such as Voice Search.

Main Screen

This is your “Launcher” you can add app shortcuts, widgets, apps, more pages, etc… You can tailor this page to anything you would like. Most option are accessed by pressing the “menu” button and adding things to a page is easiest by long pressing an open spot.

You can always get back to this screen by pressing the “Home” button.


App Drawer

This is where all of the apps you download live. You can usually access it by an icon on your dock. You can customize the way the apps are listed, depending on what launcher you are using, by selecting the menu button.



Accessed by pressing the “menu” button > Settings on the Main Screen. Here you can adjust any setting from lock screens, contact accounts, storage, etc…



You can access any running app by long pressing the home button. This will also show you a list of apps that you recently used. Click on the app you would like to use.


Android Market

This is a pre-loaded app on your device. You will have to supply a Google e-mail address. You can install apps from your phone or with ease from your computer by acessing the online store at


This should get you up and running on your new Android phone. Messaging, Dialer, and Contacts should be pretty straight forward and the same as any other phone you may have used. Please check back shortly for more advanced guides such as: Advanced Apps, Voice Commands, Must Have Apps, Hacking, ETC… 

Please comment with any questions you may have or areas you would like me to go into more detail.

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