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Android 4.0 cheat sheet

New to Android 4.0? This handy reference for Google's Ice Cream Sandwich OS shows you how to do everything from tweaking an app's notification settings to getting detailed info about your battery usage.

August 16, 2012 06:00 AM ET

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 Tap the Back button at the bottom of the screen.
Return to your home screen Tap the Home button at the bottom of the screen.
Multitask (switch to another recently used app) 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Go to your phone's settings as noted above, then tap Sound and select the appropriate option.
Add new ringtones to your phone 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Go to your phone's settings, then select Accessibility.

App management

Function Icon How to do it
Download a new application 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 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 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 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 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 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.)

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



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