how to replace icons on the home screen dock

Moving the icons you want into your Galaxy S3 homescreen dock is a great way to configure your device in a way that makes sense for you.

The Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) is highly configurable. In many ways, the new TouchWiz interface simplifies using the device. In other ways, TouchWiz can make seemingly simple tasks a bit more complicated.

Here's how to swap out the apps that are in the homescreen dock on your Samsung Galaxy S3.

The Home screen dock

When you first turn on your Galaxy S3, most likely, along the bottom dock of your Home screen, you see five icons:

  • Phone
  • Contacts
  • Messaging
  • Internet
  • Apps

While those are certainly five of the most popular apps you will use on your phone, they might not be the five that want in the dock. Fortunately, with just a few steps you can swap those icons out with the ones you really want.

Home screen

Moving icons out of the Home screen dock

Moving an icon out of the dock (to make room for a new icon) is quite easy, simply:

  1. Touch and hold any of the icons in the bottom dock and move it upwards
  2. Drag it to any of your Home screens and release
  3. It will now reside on that Home screen and you will have a blank spot in the dock for a new icon

move icon out of dock  set icon onto a home screen

NOTE: Remember that you can only move the icon onto a Home screen that has room for it – if the screen if filled, it won’t accept the new icon. You can always move the icon to the Trash can and delete it if you have no room on the Home screen. Deleting the icon does not delete the app.

Moving icons into the Home screen dock

Once you move the item out of the Home screen dock, you have an empty space in which to add a new item. You can move any App icon or even a full folder of icons into the dock.  The only caveat is that the new icon or folder MUST be on one of your seven Home screens before you place it in the dock.

  1. Scroll through your Home screens until you find the icon or folder you want to place in the dock
  2. Touch and hold the icon or folder and drag it down into the dock
  3. Release and the new icon or folder will reside in the dock

ready to move folder to the dock  folder moved into dock

In this example, I have moved out my Internet icon from the dock. Since I use Chrome instead, and since the Chrome icon is in a folder named Google, I decide to move the whole folder to the dock giving me access to all my Google apps.

Moving an App icon not on a Home screen into the dock

Since you can only move icons or folders that are on a Home screen into the dock, if you want an App icon in the Home screen dock, you need to get it first to one of your Home screens.

  1. Touch the App drawer icon in the lower right hand corner
  2. Locate the app you want to move
  3. Touch and hold the icon
  4. Drag it up to an available spot on a Home screen
  5. Now, you can drag it down to an empty spot in the dock

Android Central app moved to a home screen  Android Central app moved to dock

In this example, I want to move my Android Central forums App icon down to the dock. I moved it to a Home screen and then I dragged it down from a Home screen to the dock.

Personalizing you Galaxy S3 is not only fun, it allows you to use your device more efficiently. Once you are comfortable moving icons and folders, you can make sure that you have exactly what you want where you want it on your phone.


Reader comments

How to replace icons on the Home screen dock on the Galaxy S3


How about replacing the actual ugly square icons that Samsung uses? Yes i know how, but I know there's a lot of others out there that would appreciate it. The first thing my wife asked when she got her S3, was how to change the ugly Samsung based icons.

That should be included in the article as well.

I don't know if you're asking or just pointing it out, but for anyone who doesn't know, it's under menu -> Settings -> Security -> Lock Screen Options. Took me awhile to find it at first.

THANKS! I've been trying to find this ever since I got the phone (apparently wasn't looking hard enough, but as you point out it's not the easiest option to find).

I can only see an option to rearrange or delete the icons. Is there a way to add, say, the e-mail app icon?

You apparently can only have 4, so you need to delete one, then it'll turn into a + where you can change it to something else.

Step 1. Download Nova Prime
Step 2. Click home, click "Use by default for this action", select Nova launcher.
Step 3. Never be forced to settle for Samsung's misguided Touchwiz launcher ever again.

You cannot rearrange the "app drawer icon"

its SO annoying.

why do i want my app drawer as one of the 5 bottom icons?

I never even use the app drawer, the last time i clicked on it on my phone was probably over 2 weeks ago.

I do feel your pain, but there is a legitimate reason for this. Samsung has to build the launcher to be... idiot-proof. They've sold 10 million of these things, and a lot of those are morons. If said moron were to... delete the app drawer off his dock, it would be a nearly guaranteed phone call to someone's customer service to learn how to fix it. He may then swear off android all together because "its stupid and confusing"

And the last thing Samsung wants right now, is to give any more people ammunition to buy an iPhone.

Just because someone's life doesn't revolve around the understanding of a cell phone doesn't make them a moron... My gf could care less about icons and launchers, all she wants or needs is an easy to use phone. And since she's a medical scientist, I suspect her level of intelligence is higher than some of those who know how to change a setting on a cell phone. :-)

What Samsung should provide is the ability to export your home screens so if you do a hard reset, you don't have to spend all the time putting your icons, folders, shortcuts and widgets back like you had them.

Go Launcher EX is my fave, and I used it on my HTC EVO 4G, and now I have use it on my Samsung Galaxy S III. You can use it to totally customize everything from Fonts, Backgrounds, Themes, and Icons. You can even download their Go SMS to customize your text messaging app, and also Go Locker to customize your security lock screen. It's been my fave so far.

Go is just spamware. installs so much junk. There's a ton of much much better launchers than go. But if you like it, so be it.

I'm not sure what I am doing wrong, but hoping someone can help. Whenever I try to click & hold the apps that are in the dock, (eg. Messaging), nothing happens. If I click the lower left button & select Edit Page, it only allows me to move icons that are on the page, but not in the dock. I have tried a hard reset incase I had disabled something by accident but still no luck. Hoping someone can help.

Hi Kara-17, i am having the exact same issue!

I bought my phone from vodafone australia on thursday last week, i was able to move the icons just fine but now i cannot. I have backed the phone up and then reset and it still is not letting me just like you. My dad has an s3 also and he can still do it just fine!

I really dont know what is happening but if someone finds out please let us know!!

Yeah same here Kara-17 and brentongldcst. I noticed it after I updated the original software that came with the phone. If anyone knows anything please help!!

after the latest software update I am not able to change the dock icon app and now im stuck with a empty folder :( such a pity

same issue here ... downloaded the software update and cannot change the dock icons. Anyone found a solution yet?

I just spoke to Samsung who basically said stiff. They say it was a feature that the latest upgrade removed. They cant say if it will come back, but keep upgrading phone incase. I must say their staff that "Helped" me werent that helpful.

Definitely can confirm the drag-and-drop functionality from the bottom row of icons has been disabled with the latest firmware update (I think I only updated mine in the last 2 weeks or so).

I think the feature they thought they were "improving" is that you didn't accidentally resize widgets (you need to 'edit page' to do that kind of stuff now). However when you're in 'edit page' mode the bottom row of 'docked' icons are replaced with the trashcan, etc.

Rather sad support response as told by Matty. :(

same issue here, can't replace icons on the Home screen dock on the Galaxy S3 4G jelly bean. though I can do it with my nexus 7 tab, ruuning also 0n jelly bean.

Yeah not really happy with not being able to customize the dock anymore. Had some troubles with receiving SMS recently and long story short had to factory reset, then I noticed the stock messaging app was back in the dock. I use GO SMS Pro which trumps it in almost every way so I disabled it which made the icon disappear and now I have a gap in the middle of the dock which I can't undo even though I've re-enabled the app. I wanted to disable the stock Internet app too because I have Chrome but I don't want to widen the gap even more. Pretty lame idea, Samsung :(

Problem solved! Just installed GO Launcher and its fixed everything. Their dock is way better looking and fully customizable. Everyone should download this, runs so smoothly and you can change so many features. Beautiful interface

hi guysss...after i did firmware update, i can not change home screen dock on samasung s3...HELLPPPP :)

PS: thnx for nothing SAMSUNG....u broke my hear with that stuiped MOVE :-/

hi AussieBoy88

can u pls b more specific on Go luncher??? there different names...i need full app name..

thnx champ

Um, how old is this? My Galaxy S3 won't allow to do as described anymore, it used to, but and update has now prevented this.

When I touch and hold App as describe, my trash can is in the home dock, and if I do as described, I delete App...

Cheers, SGibson007

seriously what the fuck! all I want is to have my home screen apps back, now i am left with a gap... i dont understand why they would get rid of such an important and useful tool, lift your game samsung.

Does this still work? I am running Jelly Bean on a Samsung Galaxy S3.. I cant customise my dock in the way described.. Am I doing something wrong?

Hi,when I try to press on the apps in the home screen dock it doesn't do anything and I don't know how to replace them. Please help it's really frustrating. :)

It seems I'm just another person with the same really frustrating problem. I just got a new Samsung Galaxy S3, and while in general I love it, there are a couple of things I'm really frustrated with.

One is the inability to change the dock icons - I am assuming from all the comments I've read that nothing has changed and there is still no way of customising the dock??? (other than downloading another app like Go Launcher)??

The other thing really annoying me is I cannot find a way to install smiley/emoticons on the keyboard for texting, like you can so easily with the iPhones - other than to download an app like Go SMS or Chomp. But now I have double the messaging notifications and apps, and because I cannot customise the dock, messaging through Go sms is not as "easy"!!

Any ideas or ways to fix this problem too so I only have one messaging app running, one lot of notifications and ONE easy to use messaging keyboard that looks good and has the smilies and emoticons there and easy to use???

Any fresh suggestions would be appreciated!!!

Do Samsung read forums like this? It would be in their interest to do so - they could easily see what the "market" wants - Samsung... Hello - these issues need to be fixed!!!