Beginners Guide to Android Terminology

Beginners Guide to Android Terminology

Droid’s are taking over and you need to learn how to use them! In order to fully understand the lessons that are being taught here, you’ll to need to learn a few of the more popular terms that are used when discussing the Android OS. When someone tells you to add a widget to your home screen… I don’t want you to have that dazed look on your face. You can learn this stuff! It’s easy. Trust me, I’ve taught people of all ages how to use their Android devices. The first thing you need to do is learn the popular terminology used to describe things in the Android world. So here we go…


Home Screen:

The Home Screen is the first screen you see after you unlock your phone. This is the gateway screen to unlocking all the fun features on your device. The home screen will normally display your time, location, weather, and popular apps that came preloaded on your phone. The Home Screen consists of between 5 to 7 separate screens that you can scroll thru from left to right. Try it out! The Home Screens are totally customizable. You can add or delete most anything from them. I’ll be sure to post a video tutorial on how to customize your home screen in the near future. So stay tuned. One important tip to remember is that you can always easily return to your Home Screen by pressing the “HOME” button on your device. The button, luckily, resembles a HOME icon so it should be easy to remember. When in doubt and you are lost somewhere on your device. Just press the Home button and it’ll take you back to the Home Screen.


Apps are simply an application for your mobile device. Apps are the best part of having an Android device. They are what make your phone/tablet stand out from the rest! If it wasn’t for the Apps that you can download and install… well then your phone would just be a boring old phone!
The Android Market has over 100,000 unique applications to meet all your needs! Apps cover a wide spectrum of categories such as: Entertainment, Finance, Nutrition, Exercise, Games, Productivity, and much more! All you have to do is go to the Android Market and search for what you are interested in. There is sure to be an App available (either free or paid) that will do what you need.



What are Android widgets? Widgets help set the Android OS apart from its competitors such as Apple. Android has them and iPhone’s wish they did. Widgets are apps that you place on your Home Screen. They run without you having to click on them (like you would have to do with an app). For example, there are widgets for your Home Screen that will display your Twitter or Facebook account and immediately update when there is a new post. You don’t have to launch an App to see it. It automatically displays on your Home Screen via the widget. Another example would be having a Weather widget on your home screen that constantly updates with the latest weather in your area.


Android Market:

The Android Market is your one-stop shop for all the Apps and Widgets that are available on Android.

The Android Market is normally displayed on the Home Screen and labeled “Market”. After clicking the Market icon, you will see the Android Market launch and display various categories of Apps and also a search engine. You can either search for apps by navigating thru the categories that interest you. Or you can simply type in what you are looking for in the Search field of the Android Market.
The Android Market consists of both Free and Paid apps. The free apps can be downloaded and installed throughout the world. The Paid apps require either a Credit Card or a Google Checkout account.

Live Wallpapers:

What are Live Wallpapers?
Live Wallpapers, simply put, are Wallpapers (AKA Home Screen backgrounds) that have movement in them. They are available only on Android devices (sorry iPhones!). A great example would be having a picture of some fish as your background. Well with Live Wallpapers, you don’t need a picture of them, you can have your very own aquarium with fishes that swim around between all your Home Screens! Check out the image below… sure it isn’t moving on this page, but on your phone those fish would be swimming all around. Pretty neat, huh? Check out this example by searching for “Aquarium Free” in the Android Market.

App Drawer:

The App Drawer is your application depot. It holds all of the applications that your phone came with and the ones that you have since downloaded from the Android Market. If you are ever looking for an App and can’t find an icon for it on your Home Screen then you can just click the App Drawer. If it installed properly, you will find ALL of your apps in the App Drawer. The App Drawer can be accessed by click the App Drawer button. Below is an image of the App Drawer button (the button may look different on some devices):

Long Press:

What is a “Long Press”? It is exactly what it sounds like… it is a press of your finger on something for an extended amount of time (usually 3 to 5 seconds). Most apps will display a set of menu options when you “Long Press” certain areas. A great example would be “Long Pressing” a blank spot on your Home Screen. If you do that, you’ll see an option appear that lets you add a Widget or App icon to your home screen to occupy that blank space. Another example of using Long Press would be if you want to REMOVE an icon from your Home Screen. You can simply Long Press on the icon of the app you want to remove (keep it held down for 3 to 5 seconds) and then drag it to the TRASH bin that appears on the bottom of your Home Screen.



What is Rooting? This is an advanced topic… so I’ll keep it simple. Rooting is another term for hacking your phone and gaining complete (root) control of your device. You can do a lot of neat things to your phone after you Root it. But I won’t go into that here. Just know that it is a way to hack your phone and that it also completely voids your warranty. I do not recommend it for your average user.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Have any questions? Feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below.

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John A

I'm a huge Android fan and also the founder of the DroidLessons website. I started obsessing about the Android platform as soon as I got my HTC EVO phone in mid-2010. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with learning all that I can about the Android OS and sharing that knowledge with my friends and family.
How to Change the Wallpaper on your Android device Previous post How to Change the Wallpaper on your Android device How to Customize your Android Home Screen Next post How to Customize your Android Home Screen


  1. abderrahim
    abderrahim July 10, 2012 at 4:31 am .

    Thank you very much teacher ^^

  2. Joe
    Joe February 4, 2017 at 11:58 am .

    How about some more terminology? On the home screen above, the very top row shows wifi, mobile network, battery, clock, and some running apps such as alarm clock. What is that area called? Dock? Status bar? Tray?

    At the bottom there are common apps like phone, messages, browser, and installed apps. Is that the Favorites area?

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