Swipe up from the time display at the edge of the screen (or swipe down if it's at the top) to get a handy menu.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


Android tablet basics

January 12, 2014

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

Last week I rescued new iPad users from twiddley-thumb syndrome by explaining how Apple's tablet works. If you found an Android tablet under the tree, this week's tips are for you.

First, Android tablets work a lot like iPads, so last week's column, at www.technofileonline.com/texts/tec010514.html, will be helpful. Pay attention to the don't-poke-the-screen advice and heed my comments on screen cleaning and how to turn your tablet on and off. The battery advice applies here, too.

And now the Android-specific stuff:

1. The Google Play Store is the best place to get apps. If your tablet doesn't have access to the Play Store , the best alternative is the Amazon Appstore. Here's how to add it to your tablet: http://www.technofileonline.com/texts/tec080413.html.

2. The Play Store will refund any purchases within 15 minutes after the sale. Be sure to try out any new app as soon as you buy it so you can get a refund if needed. (This is a rare bonus, and Google is doing the right thing here. Apple, are you listening?)

3. Swipe up from the time display at the edge of the screen (or swipe down if it's at the top) to get a handy menu. You can access the Settings from there.

4. The three icons at bottom left are Back, Home and Multitasking. The Back button is always at the left and works for all "back" functions (web pages, previous menus and so on). The Home button opens the Home screen if its not already showing. The Multitasking button shows icons for apps that are running in the background. Touch one to bring it to the foreground.

5. When an app is running, make it go into the background by touching the Home button. Bring it back by choosing it from the Multitasking view. Swipe it away in the Multitasking view to close it.

6. Touch the grid icon, if your tablet has one, to see a succession of app screens. (No grid icon? Tap the Home button while the Home screen is showing.)

7. To remove an app: Touch and hold the app icon and drag it to the "Uninstall" label that appears at top. Or open Settings, touch Apps and uninstall from there.

8. Drag an app icon from the app screen to the Home screen to make a launcher, otherwise known as a shortcut.

9. Drag one launcher icon on top of another one to create a folder. Add other icons by dragging.

10. If you have a USB port, you should be able to connect a flash drive, keyboard or mouse, among many devices.

Note: Older Android versions might work differently. Kindle Fire and Nook tablets are hybrid Android devices and might have different functions.