Android 4.0 basics

Android 4.0 cheat sheet

Find all the key Android 4.0 commands right here.

This cheat sheet accompanies our story Android 4.0: The ultimate guide. Click through to that story for detailed information on finding your way around Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) and making the most of its new features.

Get up to speed fast with Android 4.0: The charts below show how to perform an array of tasks in ICS, from navigating the interface to locking down your device to managing your apps. Where applicable, we've included the icon you'll need to look for.

System navigation and home screens | Overall device configuration
App management | Contacts, call-handling and calendar
Connectivity | Security | Multimedia

System navigation and home screens

Function Icon How to do it
Go back one step
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Tap the Back button at the bottom of the screen.
Return to your home screen
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Tap the Home button at the bottom of the screen.
Multitask (switch to another recently used app)
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Tap the Recent Apps button at the bottom of the screen (or long-press the Home button if your phone lacks a Recent Apps button).
Remove an app from the multitasking list
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After tapping the Recent Apps button, swipe your finger left or right on the app's thumbnail.
Move among home screen panels Swipe left or right to move forward or backward through the panels.
Search your phone or the Web Touch the Google search bar at the top of your home screen.
Search by voice
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Touch the microphone icon in the Google search bar at the top of your home screen and speak your search term.
Issue a voice command
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Touch the microphone in the Google search bar at the top of your home screen and speak a Voice Actions command.
Browse through the apps on your phone
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Tap the circular Apps button at the bottom-center of your home screen to open your app drawer, then swipe left or right to move through the apps.
Add an app shortcut to your home screen
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Tap the Apps button, find the app you want, then press and hold its icon and drag it to any position you want on any home screen panel.
Add a widget to your home screen
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Tap the Apps button, select the Widgets tab, then press and hold any widget and drag it to any position on any home screen panel.

Move an app or widget already on your own

home screen
Press and hold the item you want to move, then drag it to its new location. To move an item from one home screen panel to another, simply drag it to the left- or rightmost edge of the current panel and wait for it to slide across.
Remove an app shortcut from your home screen Press and hold the icon, then drag it to the Remove icon that appears at the top of the display.
Resize a widget Press and hold a widget until a blue box appears around it. Then drag an edge of the box up, down, left or right to make the widget larger or smaller. (Note: Some widgets may not be resizable.)
Change the apps in your phone's Favorites tray Press and hold an app in the tray, then drag it out of the tray. Then press, hold and drag any other app into the open space.
Create a folder on your home screen Press, hold and drag an app on top of any other app on your home screen; repeat the process to add additional apps into the folder.
Name a home screen folder Tap the folder to open it, then touch the "Unnamed Folder" text and type your own title in its place.
View notifications Touch the bar at the top of your screen and pull it down with your finger, then tap any active notification to open it.
Dismiss notifications Swipe your finger left or right on any notification in the list, or tap the "X" at the top-right to dismiss all notifications at once.
Browse and manipulate your phone's files Download a file management app such as Astro File Manager, then open it to browse your phone as if it were a PC.
Browse your phone from a computer Connect your phone to the computer's USB port. With Windows systems, the phone will automatically show up and be available to you as a media device; with Mac OS systems, you'll need to install an Android File Transfer application in order for the phone to be recognized.
Access your phone's bookmarks and open tabs from your computer's browser Download Google's Chrome for Android beta application. On the new tab screen, tap the star icon to view any synced bookmarks. (You can also access your bookmarks via the browser's drop-down menu.) Tap the open tabs icon -- the box with two arrows -- to view tabs recently open on other Chrome-connected devices.

Overall device configuration

Function Icon How to do it
Access your device settings
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Touch the bar at the top of your screen and pull down the notification panel, then touch the Settings icon next to the date.
Customize ringtones, notification sounds and volume levels
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Go to your phone's settings as noted above, then tap Sound and select the appropriate option.
Add new ringtones to your phone
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Connect your phone to a computer and move any compatible sound file into the Ringtones folder under Internal Storage. Then go into your phone's settings, tap Sound and select the file.
Add new notification sounds to your phone
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Connect your phone to a computer and move any compatible sound file into the Notifications folder under Internal Storage. Then go into your phone's settings, tap Sound and select the file.
Set your phone to silent or vibrate-only Press and hold the phone's power button, then select one of the volume options that appears on-screen.
Adjust your phone's brightness settings
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Go to your phone's settings as noted above, then select Display --> Brightness. Use your finger to move the slider to your desired brightness level, or select "Auto brightness" to have your phone automatically adjust its brightness based on current lighting conditions.
Change how long it takes for your phone's screen to time out
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Go to your phone's settings, then select Display --> Sleep and adjust the time. (Remember that the longer the screen stays on, the more battery power will be used.)
Change your phone's wallpaper Long-press on a blank space on your home screen, then follow the prompts to select a wallpaper from the source you prefer. (Many additional wallpapers, including "live" animated wallpapers, can be found in the Google Play Store.)
View detailed info about storage use on your phone
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Go to your phone's settings, then select Storage. You'll see a breakdown of storage use by content type; tapping on any individual type of content will provide you with a more specific breakdown.
View detailed info about your phone's battery usage
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Go to your phone's settings, then select Battery. You'll see a chart showing precisely how much of your battery charge each app and process has consumed; tapping on any individual item will provide you with more specific details about that app's activity.
Change your system keyboard
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Go to your phone's settings, then select "Language & input." Under "Keyboard & input methods," you'll see a list of keyboards installed on the device. Make sure the keyboard you want to use has a check next to it, then tap Default and select it from the list. (Many additional keyboards can be found in the Google Play Store.)
Perform a factory reset and erase all data on the phone
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Go to your phone's settings, then select "Factory data reset" and follow the prompts. Note that this will permanently erase all data and account settings and restore your device to its factory condition.
Browse and activate accessibility options
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Go to your phone's settings, then select Accessibility.

App management

Function Icon How to do it
Download a new application
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Visit the Google Play Store by tapping the Play Store app on your phone or navigating to play.google.com from a computer-based Web browser.
Find additional options in an app
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Inside the app, look for an icon with three vertical dots; touch it to view additional options (or press your phone's physical Menu button if you're using a phone that still has such a button).
Change or remove notifications for a specific app Open the app (Gmail, Email, Messaging, Facebook, etc.) and find its Settings menu, which may be under the vertical dots icon shown just above. Look there for a Notifications option and adjust or disable it as desired. (If an app doesn't have such an option available, it likely doesn't utilize notifications.)
Share content from an app
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Inside the app, look for the Share icon. Tap it to bring up a menu of programs that can be used for sharing -- things like Gmail, Facebook, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote and so forth.
Uninstall an app
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Open your app drawer (via the All Apps button in the Favorites tray). Press and hold the app you wish to uninstall, then drag it to the Uninstall icon that appears on-screen.
Get detailed information about an app
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Open your app drawer. Press and hold the app you want to know about, then drag it to the App Info icon that appears on-screen.
Disable a preinstalled system app
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Open your app drawer. Press and hold the app you wish to disable, then drag it to the App Info icon that appears on-screen and select the Disable option. (Note that disabling a system app can have unintended consequences; if you aren't sure what something is, it's generally best to leave it alone.)

Contacts, call-handling and calendar

Function Icon How to do it
Edit a contact on your phone
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Open your app drawer and select the People app. Either scroll through the list to find the person you want or tap the Search icon to search for his name. Tap on his name, then tap the vertical-dots icon at the top-right of the screen and select Edit. (Note that you can also do this online, using the Web-based Google Contacts service; all data is automatically synced between that and your Android phone.)
Add a new contact to your phone
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Open the People app as noted above and tap the Add Contact icon in the bottom-center of the screen.
Set a custom ringtone for a specific contact
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Open the People app and tap the name of the person, then tap the vertical-dots icon at the top-right of the screen and select "Set ringtone."
Automatically route a specific person's calls to voicemail
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Open the People app and tap the name of the person, then tap the vertical-dots icon at the top-right of the screen and select "All calls to voicemail." (If the person isn't already in your phone's contacts, you'll need to add her there first.)
Set a specific contact as a "favorite" to make him appear at the top of your dialer
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Open the People app and tap the name of the person, then tap the star icon at the top-right of the screen.
Set custom "quick responses" for calls that you reject
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Open your app drawer, select the Phone app and go to its settings (not your overall device settings) by tapping the vertical-dots icon at the bottom-right of the screen and selecting Settings. Tap "Quick responses" and then tap on any message to edit it.
Add, remove or edit an account on your phone
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Go to your device settings and select "Accounts & sync." Tap any account to adjust its sync options; tap the vertical-dots icon at the top-right of the screen and select "Remove account" to delete it. To add a new account, tap the "Add account" command at the bottom of the screen and follow the prompts.
Add a new calendar appointment or event
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Open your app drawer and select the Calendar app. Tap the vertical-dots icon at the top-right of the screen and select "New event."
Edit or delete an existing calendar appointment or event
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Open the Calendar app and scroll through the calendar to find the event in question. (You can also search for the event by tapping the vertical-dots icon at the top-right of the screen and selecting Search.) Touch the event to open it, then, at the top-right of the screen, tap the pencil icon to edit it or the trash can icon to delete it. (Note that you can also do this online, using the Web-based Google Calendar service; all data is automatically synced between that and your phone.)

Connectivity

Function Icon How to do it
Adjust network settings
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Go to your phone's settings, then tap on Wi-Fi. Here you can see a list of all available Wi-Fi networks, opt to connect to any specific one, "forget" a network that you've connected to in the past, have your phone notify you when an open network becomes available, keep Wi-Fi on during sleep and more.
View and restrict mobile data usage
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Go to your phone's settings, then tap on "Data usage." Check "Set mobile data limit" to create a total monthly limit, or scroll down and tap on any app to restrict its individual use.
Set up a VPN
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Go to your phone's settings, then tap More and then VPN. Follow the prompts to add a VPN network.
Use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot
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Go to your phone's settings, then tap More and then "Tethering & portable hotspot." (Note that your carrier may require you to subscribe to an extra paid service in order to activate the hotspot function.)
Restrict your phone's GPS or location services
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Go to your phone's settings, then tap on "Location services." Uncheck any of the options there to prevent them from being used.
Set your phone to airplane mode Press and hold the phone's power button, then select "Airplane mode."

Security

Function Icon How to do it
Set or change your lock screen security configuration
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Go to your phone's settings and tap on Security, then "Screen lock." Follow the prompts to set a pattern, PIN, password or Face Unlock protection system. (Note that Face Unlock is generally less secure than the other methods.)
Set a grace period before a pattern, PIN or password is required
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Go to your phone's settings and tap on Security. Touch the "Automatically lock" option and adjust it to the amount of time you want.
Input owner information to be displayed on your phone's lock screen
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Go to your phone's settings and tap on Security, then "Owner info." Make sure the "Show owner info on lock screen" option is checked, then type in any info you'd like in the space provided.
Encrypt all data on your device
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Go to your phone's settings and tap on Security, then "Encrypt phone." Follow the prompts to set up encryption. (Note that encrypting your data will require you to enter a special PIN or password every time your device boots up, and the process can only be undone by factory-resetting the device.)
Allow your phone to install apps from outside of the official Google Play Store
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Go to your phone's settings and tap on Security. Scroll down and check the option labeled "Unknown sources."
Ensure that Google is backing up your system and application data
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Go to your phone's settings, then select "Backup & reset." Make sure the options for "Back up my data" and "Automatic restore" are checked.

Multimedia

Function Icon How to do it
View photos and images stored on your phone
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Open your app drawer and tap the Gallery app, then browse to the folder you want or tap the word Albums at the top of the screen to sort by location, time, people or tags.
Share an image on your phone or send it to another service
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Open the Gallery app as noted above, open the image you want, and then select the Share icon at the top of the screen. You'll be presented with a menu of programs that can be used for sharing -- things like Gmail, Facebook, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote and so forth.
Share or send multiple images on your phone
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Open the Gallery app and press and hold each image you wish to share. Each image will become highlighted in blue once selected. Then tap the Share icon at the top of the screen and select the app you wish to use for sharing.
Edit an image on your phone
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Open the Gallery app and open the image you want to edit. Tap the vertical-dots icon at the top-right of the screen and select Edit. You can also select "Rotate left," "Rotate right" or "Crop" for quick access to those commands.
Capture a regular photo with your phone
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Open your app drawer and tap the Camera app to open it. Use the sliding zoom bar to zoom in or out as needed, then tap the blue shutter button to capture the photo.
Capture a panoramic photo with your phone
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Open the Camera app as noted above. On the far-left* of the screen, tap the Camera icon, then select the icon that's meant to look like a panoramic photo. Press the green shutter button and slowly move your phone across a wide area to capture the entire space in a single image.
Capture a snapshot with your phone's front-facing camera
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Open the Camera app. On the far-right* of the screen, tap the icon that shows a camera with an arrow; this will toggle between the rear- and front-facing camera. Then tap the blue shutter button to capture a photo.
Adjust camera options
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Open the Camera app. On the far-left* of the screen, tap the Settings icon and then tap any of the icons that appear to adjust various options (picture size, scene mode, exposure, white balance, flash mode, etc.).
Capture a video with your phone
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Open the Camera app. On the far-left* of the screen, tap the Camera icon and then select the icon that looks like a video camera. Tap the red record button to begin recording, then tap it again when you're ready to stop.
Adjust video options
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Once in the Camera app and in video mode as noted above, tap the Settings icon on the far-left* of the screen. Tap any of the icons that appear to adjust various options or apply live video effects.
Conduct a video chat from your phone
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Open your app drawer and select the Talk app. A video camera icon will appear next to the names of any of your contacts who are online and available; tap any contact's name to send her a request.
Capture a screenshot on your phone Press and hold the power button and volume-down button at the same time; the screenshot will be saved to a Screenshots folder in your Gallery.

* These instructions assume your phone is in the vertical postion; icons are placed differently when the phone is held horizontally.

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