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How to stop Google Play from automatically adding new icons to your home screen

There's nothing worse than getting overwhelmed on a new device, but thanks to one pesky setting in Google Play Store, while you're installing all your apps on your new Android phone you might go into Google Play with an empty home screen and come out to find it completely covered with apps. It's a bit annoying if you're not the type to put every app you use on the home screen — but don't worry! The setting is called "Add icon to Home screen" and it's really easy to turn off.

  1. Open Google Play.
  2. Tap the three-line menu button.
  3. Swipe up to scroll down.

Into the settings

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Add icon to Home screen to uncheck the box.

Turn it off, off, off!

If that box is checked, an icon for every app you install will be added to your home screen, which can fill your pages quickly, especially while you're in the initial flurry of downloading your most-used apps and games. Uncheck it and apps will be waiting in the app drawer for you rather than hogging space on the home screen.

It's a bummer that Google enables this setting by default, but luckily it's easy to turn off so we can keep our home screens beautiful and clutter-free. And if you need some help finding your way around the rest of the Google Play Store, be sure to check out our ultimate guide!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

60 Comments
  • First thing I do when I get a new phone or flash a new ROM, turn off shortcuts and auto updates.
  • I turn off shortcuts but not auto updates. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Turn off both so you can read change logs before updating apps.
  • I turned off auto updates but not short cuts. 9 times out of 10 my app is going into a folder somewhere on the homescreen anyway. I use to allow auto updates but I now like the ability to choose whether or not I want an app updated. The last Chromecast update brang with it connectivity issues for me and so I was able to make a back up of the previous version on one device and install it on the other. Next-us
  • I keep shortcuts turned on also. When I am looking for an app to perform a specific function or task I generally download 3 or 4 different ones and try them out. The ones I don't want I batch uninstall and the one I am keeping goes into a themed folder. I like having them all lined up in a row on my default homescreen. It's much faster than having to dig through the app drawer for each one. It cuts down on device clutter. I do the same thing with my Windows PC. All downloads go to the desktop and then I put them in the appropriate folder. Most people's phones, tablets, and PC's are a cluster f@#k of unseen, forgotten clutter.
  • Same here. I can wait till I get home and update over WiFi rather than use my data allowance. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This seems like really common knowledge.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The wonderful thing about common knowledge is how it seems common once you know it Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is for people who are new to Android. I thought that should be pretty common sense... Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's comical especially since there's no such setting on my phone. I guess I'm stuck with it.
  • Yeah that's a really bad default setting. This is why we have an app drawer..... Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 via Android Central App
  • So, you get paid for picking something random and posting it? How many words to cover the nut? Sad face. You can do better.
  • U mad bro Yeah you mad Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • Next up: How To Take A Screenshot, Episode XIV: The Screenening
  • I am quite sure you didn't just pick up your first Android phone and instantly know everything. Articles like these are for people just starting with Android. All off us have been a first time user..... Don't be an prick Posted from België using my Note 4
  • Well said...
  • At least these aren't pertaining to the Nexus 6 like they were doing. I'd take a wild guess in that most, if not all Nexus 6 buyers are no where near new to Android. Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • How dare this article not be relevant to me! /s.
  • I very much LIKE having shortcuts for new applications appear. It affords me an opportunity to place them into sub-folders. I keep all my common apps handy in folders across the bottom, sorted by "Applications", "Utilities", "Games", etc... This acts as a good reminder if I'm tooling around in Play Store and wind up installing a few apps..."What did I install again?"
  • That's what the notification is for.... Posted via the Android Central App
  • What notification?
  • When you install an app you get a notification with the app icon next to it saying [X app]
    Installed successfully. Or you should at least. Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • I keep it enabled as well. I install so many things throughout the day from reading articles (usually installing via the web interface), etc, that I forget about them by the time I get home and have a chance to explore them further. Having the shortcut on one of my homescreen is a gentle reminder that I thought this app was intriguing at some point. After I test it, I move it to it's proper location, which is sometimes the trash can. Isn't it nice to have options?
  • I read about a lot of things that pique my interest, but I would never install them now for evaluation later. If something piques my interest I add it to my wish list.
  • Thanks for the article. Learned something new. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same here When I get a new Rom is to uncheck that. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No more "no more room on home screen notifications" for all! This should be off by default! Posted via the Android Central App
  • While mindful of the posters here expressing impatience with articles aimed at 'newbies,' I have a couple of classic 'dumb questions' with which I'm certain the experts here can help me. I've had my Galaxy Note 4 less than a week from Verizon and it is the very first 'smartphone' (am I using the correct term?) that I have held in my hand. I live so far out in the sticks, I really had to wait till this year for this kind of phone to even work out here. I've had the old flip phones only and I use Verizon because no other company even tries to serve rural New Mexico. As a widow on a fixed income - let's just say dirt poor - my main concern is taking good care of my battery and not frying it with overuse. I couldn't care less about what shows on my home page because no one is looking but dogs and cats, unless it's in my way. What I want to know is: which option causes the most battery usage and/or memory drain? My guess is the automatic updates but I could be wrong. Second question: Since I live in the least-populated county in the state, enabling WIFI is useless anyway unless I'm 'in town,' or what passes for one, or at a neighbor's who has a different ISP and Verizon told me to go ahead and turn that off when I'm at home. I pay Verizon for a big fat data package, with their jetpack, so I can live online most of the time. A little data usage on my phone isn't a big deal at the moment but the life of that phone and the wear and tear on its operating system are of great importance to me. Is either of these stated 'issues,' the shortcuts or the automatic updates, making my phone work harder than it needs to do?
  • Just use your phone, you ain't going to diminish it's lifespan by using it. Posted via Android Central App
  • I recommend YOU controlling the updates. Posted via the Android Central App
  • MS. HAMNER: I'm have VZW also. Did you buy insurance also called TOTAL PROTECTION PLAN for your NOTE 4? It is about $8-9/m. I know that is a lot but if ANYTHING happens to your phone you call ASURION & they send you a replacement phone overnight (except on the weekend). It has saved my family thousands of dollars. My advice though, don't turn your NOTE 4 in too easily. TROUBLESHOOT with the highest level of support at VZW & online. Your ?'s...you are NOT going to wear out the smartphone (yes your terminology was correct :-))by using it or downloading things or watching movies all day. The manufacturer tests these things vigorously and you will not burn it out. IF it gets HOT, which it might do, take the case off or stick the NOTE 4 in front of a fan until it has cooled down.
    It is not wise to talk on the phone while it is charging. It is very dangerous to sleep with the phone under your pillow...It may explode. The battery will hold less charge over time...that is the way it is made, but VZW is usually really good about replacing them. You may have to buy another battery in a year but you will be able to get one on AMAZON for ~ $20. I understand being on a fixed income as I am physically disabled. VZW has a Senior Plan ...see if you qualify for that with your NOTE 4 & JET PACK or they have the EDGE program. I hope I was able to help you a little. Explore your NOTE 4 & have FUN with it. I have a NOTE 3 & my DAD does too and my sister has a NOTE 4. We all love them. Reply if you need anymore help. Kelly
  • Only essential apps to you or your phone should be appearing in Settings > Battery.
    If you're near charging opportunities in your day anyway, the battery is kept healthier, and with more total use time, by charging between 20% and 80%, than 0% and 100%.
    Also keep the battery temperature under 40C. OS Monitor, with its notification on, is a simple way to watch these things. I also like Snapdragon BatteryGuru. Less simple to set up is Battery Monitor Widget Pro, but allows for creating "watchers" which audibly alert at 40C, and 80%, etc.
  • May be good for newbies, but the title seems "clickbaity" to me. Posted via Android Central App
  • Agreed also this is the stupidest thing ever implemented on Android OS
  • "This is the one you absolutely, positively must disable" Give me a break.
  • Right, exactly...no issues with information...but spreading FUD because your hone screen is going to fill up? Puleeze...I thought that Jerry was above this. Automatic updates would be the first thing to turn off, but still not worthy of FUD.
  • I did not write that title. My title is the one you see when you open the page "How to stop Google Play from automatically adding new icons to your home screen" But I do agree with the other title. Shut that shit off.
  • I turn off auto add and auto update apps first thing I do
  • After the initial load install (new phone) it's not that annoying. If I download a few new apps, I like them posting to my home screen immediately. That way I don't have to hunt for them. To each his own though Jerry :)
  • Step one disable auto-updates. Step two disable adding icons to home screen. Step three profit!
  • I can't believe I never noticed this. Feeling like a doofus.
  • This will only work for inferior phones with those old fashioned "app draw" things.
  • The other one is auto update apps.... I kill that one fast..
  • If I remember correctly the default for this setting used to be off and you had to enable the add to the home screen if you wanted that. This default must have been changed in the last few years. I always keep the app auto update option off, that way I get to read reviews about the update and can decide if I want to try it or wait until problems get solved.
  • Why is this and auto updates still enabled by default?? And why doesn't Google sync your settings? They could at least ask before they start automatically updating all of your apps.
  • clickbait bullshit.
  • Besides being a year-old recycled story. WTF, aren't there new things to write about?
  • I rewrote most of this article and updated the article style to match our other how tos. As to being other stuff to write, always, but what's wrong either making sure old articles are kept in line with current standards and look?
  • Serious question - Whats with everyone turning off the auto updates and why exactly?? I can understand the app shortcut but I do not understand the auto update.
  • Because there are many apps that actually get worse, remove features, and increase spam with updates, especially Google's own apps lately, so many people are leery to update apps without knowing what changed, for a while I had to revert Google maps back to the initially installed version on my phone the new one was so irritating, and ES files explorer I had completely removed as the newer versions now generate spam popups over other apps even when notifications are blocked.
  • because not everyone has unlimited data
  • Sorry but that's a stupid reason when you have the option to update on wifi
  • what's stupid is assuming everyone will always want this enabled so they eable it by default. ....and i don't want them updating immediately when i get on wifi either....so no. it's not a stupid reason
  • Because I sometimes want to see what changed before updating it.
  • I like the setting. I'll keep it enabled. I disable it if I switch to a different launcher though. I do turn off auto updates though. There have been several occasions where a new version of an updates causes issues (like the newest Google Keyboard freezes on my Note 5) and the only way to go back is to find an old apk on the internet.
  • I truly hate when I set up a new phone and I forget to disable this :(
  • Latest on this can be found here:
    https://android.stackexchange.com/questions/182782/how-do-you-disable-ad...
  • No such setting in my play store.