Android 101: How to add widgets to your homescreen
Jul 2, 2013 10:23 AM –
Welcome to the latest Android 101 in our series of easy-to-follow tutorials which are ideal for new Android users. In this article, we are going to look at how to add widgets to your homescreen. If there’s one thing that Android users enjoy that iPhone users do not, the top of that list might well be widgets. Widgets are small components of applications that sit on your homescreen. They let you access information or services without having to open up the app.
For example, most Android users might have some kind of clock widget on their main homescreen. I usually like having a weather widget so I can quickly see what the weather will be like in the coming days. You can add a music player, news feed, email, text messages and thousands more, all from the Google Play Store. In this tutorial, we’re going to guide you through adding a widget yourself. Once added, there might be any number of interactions you can have with the widget or particular settings, but what you need to do should be clear once it is installed.
We’ll begin the full guide in a moment, but the simple steps are:
- Find empty homescreen space
- Go to your app draw and select the Widgets tab
- Find the widget you want
- Press and hold on it
- Place on the homescreen
- Let go!
So, in more detail, first of all you need homescreen space! You really have to first make sure you have enough room to install the widget you want, as some can be just 1×1 grid area whereas others can be 4×4 or larger. The next step depends on your device and what version of Android you are running. For more recent device, you have to open your app draw, whereas older (for example Android Gingerbread 2.3) or skinned (HTC Sense, Samsung Touchwiz) devices may require you to merely touch and hold the homescreen.
If this is the case, just select ‘add widget’ to be taken to a list of installed widgets to choose from.
For testing purposes, I’m using a Nexus 4 device which is running pure Android Jellybean 4.2.2. Here I have to go to the app draw and select the widgets tab, it looks like this:
Underneath each of the widgets, you can see the size the widget is. This can let you double check you have enough room for it. Scroll through and find the widget you want to add to your homescreen. Find the widget you want, press on it and hold. The background should change back to your homescreen, letting the widget float- it’ll look like this:
Here I’m adding the Google Now widget- notice that, as it floats, it shows an outline of its size underneath. Phones running Jellybean will let you push other widgets and icons out of the way as you place the widget, but it’s always good to check if you have room first. When it’s in the right place, just let go; the widget will remain where you placed it and will now be interactive:
Many widgets nowadays are resizable. This means you can potentially make them bigger or smaller. To resize a widget, press on it while it is on your homescreen and wait for the view to change; the size outline will reappear with circles around the edges, like this:
If you let go of the screen now, this will stay. You can now adjust the size of the widget by dragging up on one of the circles. For me, this widget is taking up too much room, so I am going to make it smaller by dragging the circle at the bottom upwards, so it now looks like this:
Now I have freed up more space underneath this widget to potentially add more, perhaps like a music widget:
This widget is smaller so I still have room for another if I wanted. Again, I go back to the app draw and widget tab, find the one I want, press, hold and place:
As ever, I hope this has been useful. Android is a great place for widgets and customisation, so definitely experiment and find useful widgets in the Google Play Store that suit you.
Feel free to leave comments below and tell us what your favourite widgets are… here are a lot to get you started! Also, if you have any tutorial requests for future Android 101 articles, please let us know.
, Android 101
Categorised in: Android Advice, Apps Blog, Featured, News