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Android Smartphone Basics Everyone Should Know

SIM and SD cards

These are often confused with each other and since they have very different functions it is important to know the difference.

Your phone company (Verizon, Tracfone, AT&T) provides you with a SIM card, usually free of charge, and contains information such as your phone number and contacts. It is usually quite small and white in color.

A micro SD card can be used in most smartphones and is for storing things like photos, music, videos, and documents. Micro SD cards can be purchased almost anywhere, including Walmart, CVS, and even eBay. These cards come in sizes like 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128GB.

If your phone has a removable back, the SIM and SD card slots can be found by removing the back of the phone. Otherwise, a small drawer located on the top or side of the phone contains the SIM and SD cards. A special key is required to open this drawer and should have been included with the purchase of the phone.

Starting screen

The home screen is similar to a computer desktop. It is the main screen, the one you will use the most, and your phone returns to it each time you press the home button. More screens can be added to the right or left of the home screen and can be accessed by sliding your finger in any direction.

Apps installed by the Play Store will automatically appear on your home screen. It is also possible to drag applications from the application drawer to the home screen or from one screen to another.

Notification

Your smartphone uses applications (applications) to perform thousands of functions. These apps like to send notifications to keep us updated. YouTube, for example, will notify you about a video that you can enjoy that has just been uploaded. Whereas a weather app will send weather related notifications and its message app will show you the messages as you receive them. Swipe the notices to the right to delete them or click “delete all”.

Notification bar

The notification bar is at the top of the screen and generally shows the time, current battery charge, and Wi-Fi / data strength. The notification bar can be expanded by sliding your finger down. When extended, quick settings such as WiFi, data, location, and Bluetooth are revealed.

Drawing application

The app drawer is where you can find and launch any of the apps on your phone. It can be accessed from the bottom of the home screen (or whatever you’ve added) in one of two ways:

Click on the circle icon (usually white) with several holes or dots

Sliding up

Home, Back and Recent Keys

The home key will return you to the home screen from any screen or app and is found at the bottom center of all smartphones.

The backspace key will take you back to the previous screen. If you answer twice, you will exit an application.

The recent key reveals all open applications. Swipe the applications to the right to exit and close them or click “close all” to close all open applications. This is quite important, as not closing an application properly will significantly slow down your phone; especially after several are left open.

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