Finding your way round

When you switch your device on and have unlocked it, you can generally swipe to get to your home screen. Or you add your pin code and the home screen pops up straight away.

From the home screen you can get anywhere with a tap or two.

Example of a home screen of a tablet device
Example of a home screen of a tablet device

You might have several home screens, well one main home screen and the rest are like your second home, or extra storage space. You can swipe or flick to scroll through these different screens.

The home screen(s) have icons that take you to your applications.  Many of these applications have already been installed for you by the manufacturer. You might have loads and loads of icons so get to know what you have and where they are.

What are applications?

Applications (apps) are the things that let you get stuff done on your device. You want to write a note, browse the internet, take a photo, listen to music.  You have to access and tap on that app. They are shown as icons (pictures) that supposedly help you work out what they are.  They are supposed to be intuitive.

So the camera application is represented by an icon of a camera. And by tapping on that icon, you can start using your camera.

camera app icon on samsung phone

Your home screen will usually have your most important apps. Like internet, calendar, notes, email. If it’s a phone you will have icons for sending text and making calls.  The other screens might have things like music player, photo albums, games, weather and things like that.

Finding your apps

You may well already have loads of apps and you will probably add more as time goes by.  You will have to know where those apps are.  You could just try and remember where they are but there are other ways as well.

On some devices there is an icon on the home screen or a button that if tapped lets you see all your applications on one page.  The button often looks like a small square grid. In the picture of the samsung home screen just above you will see that grid icon  and underneath the word apps.

Or there will be probably be a way be a way of quick searching to find a particular app. On the ipad this is called spotlight search and can be accessed by pulling down the screen with your finger placed on the home screen. But don’t have your finger at the very top of the screen.

The home  button

Your device will have a home screen button, it might be a physical one that you depress or a visual one which often looks like a house. You need the home button to take you back to the home screen.  It’s very important for being able to switch apps and stop yourself from getting lost.

Navigating around your device – switching from app to app

You will need to switch from app to app to get jobs done.  There will be a couple of ways of doing this, here is the easy version. It’s easy but not necessarily the most efficient.

We will learn other quick ways to hop from the camera to your email to your notes to the internet but for now we’ll learn the easiest.

On your device you will have a home button, this might be a physical one that you depress or a visual one that you tap. Sometimes the home button looks like a little house. Your home button is really really important. It takes you home. Wherever you end up on your device, tapping your home button will take you back to your homescreen. Once you’re back at your homescreen then you can go anyway with a tap or two.

So to move from the home screen to notes app to camera app, to internet app  this is what we’ll do

  1. Home screen, tap notes app, press or tap home button
  2. homescreen,  tap camera app,  press or tap home button
  3. homescreen, tap internet app, press or tap home button
  4. homescreen etc etc

You will also need to learn about touch screen gestures to get around your device. Touch gestures are taps, double taps, swipes.  Touch gestures move you around your device and make applications work. Here’s a useful post on using touch gestures.

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