How to Personalize Your Android Home Screen

Add widgets, try a new launcher, or download wallpaper

The Android Home screen is very customizable. You can add all sorts of items to it and change the wallpaper. In addition to apps and shortcuts, Android also offers widgets. For example, your favorite weather app could have a widget that shows the current temperature for your location on your home screen.

These are all the ways you can customize your Android home screen.

These instructions apply to Android 10, 9.0 (Pie), and 8.0 (Oreo).

How to Change Android Home Screen Settings

Long press on the home screen and tap Home settings from the pop-up menu.

Home screen settings.

There are several options here:

  • Notification dots
  • At A Glance
  • Add icon to Home screen (for new apps)
  • Display Google app
  • Suggestions
  • Allow Home screen rotation

Notification dots are small icons that appear on the top of the screen when you have a new alert. At A Glance lets you see upcoming meeting alerts, flight information, and traffic alerts. You can set it to add an icon to the Home screen automatically for any new app you download. Display Google app means when you swipe right, you'll see your Google News feed.

Home screen settings.

The Suggestions setting has two options: Apps and Overview selection. For Apps, if you turn it on, it will display your most frequently used apps. For Overview, it enables a menu when you long-press on an app, in which you can select, copy, and paste text, share it, and other options depending on the app. Allow Home screen rotation lets it switch from portrait to landscape when you rotate the phone.

How to Add and Remove Home Screens

You can create more than one home screen depending on how many apps, widgets, shortcuts, and other elements you want to add. Removing home screens is also possible if you've gone overboard.

  1. Tap and hold an app, shortcut, or folder.

  2. Slide it to the right until you see a blank Home screen, then release it.

  3. To remove a home screen, move all of your apps, shortcuts, widgets, and folders on to another one.

  4. After you've removed everything, the Home screen will disappear.

How to Change the Home Screen

As mentioned above, you can add and remove elements from the home screen and move them around as you wish. You can also resize certain elements like widgets and play around with the look and feel of app icons. If you run out of room on your home screen, you can create more.

How to Change Home Screen Wallpaper

You can customize your home screen background with your favorite photos or find an image built into your Android phone. You can also download a wallpaper app for access to thousands of designs, photos, and other images.

  1. Tap and hold your finger on your phone's Home screen.

  2. A menu will pop up; tap Wallpapers.

    Home screen wallpaper options.
  3. Pick a wallpaper from the options.

    To use an image you own, tap My photos.

  4. After you've chosen the one you want, tap Set wallpaper.

    Home screen wallpaper options.
  5. You can then choose where to put it; tap Home screen or Home screen and lock screen.

How to Add and Remove App Icons

You can add app icons for your favorite apps to your home screens and remove them when it gets too crowded. This way, it's easier to find your most-used apps.

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen and you should see all your apps.

  2. Tap and drag an app.

  3. You'll see images of each Home screen.

  4. Slide the app to where you want it. 

How to Add a Shortcut

Some apps have shortcuts available, which enable you to go directly to a part of the app rather than navigating manually.

For example, Evernote has four shortcuts: Camera, Audio, Simple Note, and Search. These shortcuts let you quickly capture a note using images, audio recordings, or plain text. And of course, Search gives you a direct shortcut to Evernote's search function.

  1. Tap and hold the app, then release it. If the app has shortcuts, you'll see a list.

  2. Tap and hold the shortcut.

    Evernote app shortcuts.
  3. Slide the shortcut to where you want it and release it.

    To use a shortcut without adding it to a Home screen, tap it.

How to Add Widgets and Resize Them

Android has built-in widgets for apps like the Clock and Calculator, and many apps also offer them. Widgets are like shortcuts, but have even more functionality.

Evernote has a widget that enables you to add five actions to your home screen, including Simple Note, Camera, Audio, Handwriting, Reminder, and Attachment. You can also choose which notebook to save notes you've created through the widget. Here's how to access all of your widgets.

  1. Tap and hold on the Home screen.

  2. A menu will pop up; tap Widgets.

  3. Touch and hold a widget. You'll see images of your Home screens.

    Android widget options.
  4. Tap a widget, move it to where you want it, then release it.

    An alternative way to see widgets is to tap and hold an app, then tap Widgets.

  5. You can also resize some widgets. Touch and hold the widget on your Home screen and release it. You'll see an outline with dots on the sides.

    If you don't see an outline, you can't resize the widget.

  6. Drag the dots to resize the widget.

    Android widget resizing.
  7. Tap outside the widget to finish.

How to Create Folders

If your home screen gets too crowded or you want to group similar apps and shortcuts, you can create folders. You can make as many folders as you want and give each one a name.

  1. Touch and hold an app or shortcut.

  2. Drag the app or shortcut on top of another and release it.

  3. To add more, drag each one on top of the group.

    Android app folders.
  4. To name the group, tap the group, tap Unnamed Folder, then type a name.

How to Move Objects on the Home Screen

Once you've added app icons, shortcuts, widgets, and folders to your home screen, you can move them around as you see fit. You can also remove any items you no longer need.

  1. Touch and drag the item. You'll see images of your Home screens.

  2. Slide the item to where you want it and release it.

  3. It's also easy to remove objects from the home screen. Tap and hold the one you want to delete.

  4. Drag the item up to the word Remove and release it.

    For most apps, you can also choose Uninstall, which removes it from your phone.

Consider Downloading an Android Launcher

The best Android launchers let you go beyond what the built-in home screen offers. Launcher features include icon packs, custom themes, and various ways to change the look and feel of the interface. They also offer different ways to interact with the screen, including custom gestures. These apps often offer features ahead of stock Android, such as night mode.