Skip to main content

A look at the Android Central editors' homescreens

Home sweet home

On Android, your homescreens are so much more than a grid of icons. Whether you want to keep things sparse and tidy, or file every app you would ever need to use in it's own comfy folder, you'll find plenty of ways to make your homescreen the perfect homescreen. We love that. None of us are the same, and none of us want to be the same.

We wanted to share how our homescreens look, and since we all have access to a great Android blog we got together and are gonna share. You'll find our homescreens are as different as we are, with some boring (guilty) and some busy. And each is just perfect for us.

Have a peek, then hit the comments to analyze us — you can probably tell a lot about a person from his or her homescreen. Then we want to see yours, so click or tap the forum link below and show off your homescreen!

READ NOW: A look at the Android Central editors' homescreens

Phil Nickinson

Like me, my home screens aren't particularly exciting. They also haven't changed all that much in quite some time. In fact, I only need a single screen. I'm still using Pure Calendar Widget (opens in new tab) for the bulk of the screen. It's especially useful when we're at events, and so I just leave it there all the time, usually with a transparent background so it's pretty much just text on the screen. In fact, I'm really not a huge fan of widgets, since they're all designed differently and never really seem to play together all that nicely. Other than that, it's folders, labeled by function. I've got one for all the Mobile Nations apps (opens in new tab). Another for the social apps — Google+, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Another for apps I use fairly often. And finally one for all my travel apps — Delta, Tripit, Uber and Google Maps.

And really that's it. Everything else is relegated to the drawer — I'm still using Action Launcher 3 (opens in new tab), so it's really a very fast list.

Ara Wagoner

Ara's screen

My homescreen looks kinda busy, but in my defense, I did hide as much as I could. I have three homescreens and two dock screens that scroll independently. On the actual homescreens, I have music, Timely, and Keep on my main home screen. To the right is my more utility-centric screen with my toggles, Drive, battery widget, and weather. The left screen was empty for a long time until I got my Hue lights, and I mostly use it when I need to drag something out of my other screens for capping purposes.

My dock has eight spots on two pages, and only one of those icons is actually an app rather than a whole folder: the dialer. Next to the dialer are my other frequent communications apps: Hangouts and Falcon Pro 3 (finally replacing Carbon). Next is a folder of Google apps, or it was until QuickPic replaced Photos. Next are my quick shortcuts for my most-used tools. The secondary dock page has apps divided into four folders: on-the-go, office, work, and entertainment.

And because I have Nova, there are gesture shortcuts hidden throughout my homescreen. Double tap the wallpaper to open Play Music, tap the home button on the homescreen for Google+, double-finger swipes up and down to connect/disconnect from Bluetooth sources, and swipe up from the entertainment folder to deactivate my Tasker-made driving mode.

It's full of tricks and secrets, but my homescreen helps me get in and out quickly and helps keep me from opening tons of apps and settings for basic tasks.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew's screen

First and foremost I'm using the Google Now Launcher, which fits in with my relatively simple two-page homescreen setup. My main page is where I spend 90 percent of my time, with the Google Calendar widget taking up the left half of the screen for a glance at the most appointments, and the right with individual apps and folders. I hold my phone most often in my right hand, so for me lining things up on the right side makes sense for reachability. I group my folders by function, but keep the most-used apps in the dock and outside of a folder. Quick access to Hangouts, Chrome, Gmail and the Camera are important. My second homescreen (right of center) is really more of a throwaway — a Press RSS widget and my trusty Starbucks widget. I could probably condense those two apps into a folder on the main screen and not skip a beat.

Derek Kessler

Derek's screen

What is on my HTC One M8's homescreen is very simple: it's what I use the most. Obviously. I actively use three parts of the launcher — Google Now to the left, the first screen of the home page, and the app drawer for everything else. I've tried using widgets, but it just doesn't seem to work for how I work. And because I'm that weird sort of mild OCD, I arrange those apps in alphabetical order — helps to find them faster. The dock at the bottom is home to the apps I used most often, especially since they're accessible from the M8's lock screen.

Russell Holly

I keep things pretty boring, as this is my one and only home screen. My four folders are hubs for whatever I'm doing at the time, with exception to the Googley Bits folder. That's just there because three folders would have driven me bananas and I don't play games on my phone enough to need a separate folder for those apps.

As for the wallpaper, let's just say I'm holding out hope that someone is working on a BB-8 droid that I'll be able to drive around Sphero style.

Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry's screen

Welcome to the land of the bland! I crave order and simplicity, and the screen on my Xperia Z3 Compact is one of the few places where I can make both happen. I use the Google Now Launcher, one of the bundled Sony wallpapers, and just a few folders and icons with the things I find myself looking for in the app drawer the most. Since I use Hangouts for my Google Voice number, I've got it in the tray along with the Messenger app (family still uses the SIM card number to text and call), Chrome and the camera.

The Google folder is pretty self-explanatory, and the rest of my stuff — some entertainment, some home control and some PlayStation second-screen apps — sits in a folder all it's own. An all-off widget for a handful of Hue Iris lamps gets it's own spot so I can find it in the middle of the night, and the AC app (opens in new tab) is there so I can check and see what's going on at work with just a tap.

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.

128 Comments
  • I am along the same lines as Jerry. I hate clutter on my phone. Simple and clean for me too please :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1, pretty much as same as Jerry:) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Mine is scarily similar to Jerry's. Google Now Launcher, four folders along the bottom and a 2x1 weather widget at the top right. I'm even using a Z3C...
  • Same here. I only have app shortcuts in my dock, the rest is reserved for my weather and clock widget and my glorious wallpaper :)
  • It looks like I'm the only one using Nova. that makes me feel special.
  • Nova's pretty special too.
  • What weather widget that?
  • It's 1Weather.
  • Love Nova on the phone and Google now for tablet. Next-us
  • Nova user. First app that goes on my device when I get a new one or flash a new ROM, guaranteed to take the lag out of any launcher or bloated OS. My screen is pretty loaded, I keep the AC app widget, Google news and a few folders categorized for my frequently used apps, shortcuts for direct dialing & messaging my wife and a couple other people. On the 2nd screen, timely, beyondpod, spotify, tune-in radio widgets. That's it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Love nova gestures and resizing of icons. GEL is so boring and the sizes are all screwed up.
  • *Google Now Launcher Posted via the Android Central App
  • I used to use Nova, but right now I'm sold to Action Launcher for life (meaning: 'till I find something that suits my workflow better. I try every new launcher I hear of, but I can't stand those automated stuff like Aviate -control freak in me wants every little bit in it's place- and Nova is almost perfect with a lot of customisation options, gestures and whatever you want. AL3 is much more limited, but shutters and covers make my workflow on the phone the way I want it. So, please win me over Nova, cause that would mean bringing something awesome to the table ;)
  • Nova is what I use too, GEL lacks way to many features and is just boring. Love using gestures, icon resizing etc.. Good choice
  • Nova is still one of the highest quality launchers out there Posted via the Unrivaled Note 4 or Tab S 10.5
  • I use Nova, mainly cause I get find any other launchers with as much functionality, I can't live without my gestures, overlapping widgets, the ability to change the grid, remove padding on widgets, and the menu that pops up when you long press the home screen. Apex launcher actually has more features but it lacks the stability of Nova
  • I use Nova too, gestures are the best! Nexus 4 (AT&T)
  • And a theme
  • I have 2 different launchers on my Droid the first one is Nova which is cool and the other day i just installed Aviate and it's not bad I figure i give it a try and change things up, i'm such a rebel
  • I also agree with the simple and clean I idea, thats why I love Themer so much. I am using the "HUD" theme buy Burro, here is mine since we are sharing. https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-BmRl2O0yrl0/U31IcRdNdcI/AAAAAAAACZE/A...
  • Very JARVIS-y.
  • That is very clean - like the look Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like it, it looks very sifi. Posted via the Android Central App
  • WOW dude... just... wow :)
  • pretty cool. Thanks for sharing!
  • What weather app are u using Ara Posted via Android Central App
  • i'm on 1Weather, but I'll be going through a bunch of them this month ahead of our series on weather and radar apps.
  • Heeeey, i use 1weather too, only on my tablet though. It's definately decent Posted via the Unrivaled Note 4 or Tab S 10.5
  • This reminds me of that "What's on my iPhone?" crap WAY too much. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You remind me of someone who clicks on a "Here is an article about X" headline just to leave a comment about not wanting to see X. Revealed preference, bro. http://www.cbabuilder.co.uk/Quant3.html
  • Wait... only two of you are on Lollipop?
  • i'm on the AT&T Moto X 2014 (long story) and they haven't updated us to that buggy Lollipop that the Pure Edition got. And let's remember that a lot of phones are still working out those bugs.
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • BUT I WANT IT NOW!! REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT WORKS WELL!!
  • Agreed. I had a Nexus 6 since launch, took it back for an iPhone 6 Plus to use. Which, BTW, is just as buggy guys as Lollipop. I finally went back to my Samsung roots & got the Note 4. This thing is rock solid. I miss some of the 5.X features, but Jesus, that OS *Sucks* like Ara said. Just my .02 & please Nexus people, this is not an affront to your "Pure" Google fascination.
    I
    should add, I used Sprint for the major the time, switched to AT&T, got a Nexus 6 again, STILL buggy as shit. Switched to a Note 4 & data speeds doubled. In Socal & traveled to Las Vegas via a vehicle for a week as well. Posted via the Android Central App
  • 5.0 is a mess on the pure edition. I would love to get kit Kat back. You're lucky Ara. Posted from my bathroom in the basement.
  • http://imgur.com/Ko1DCdb Pretty simple. Apps arranged in folders by purpose. Have used Nova for awhile but trying Action at present. Muzei wallpaper. Fullscreen Keep and DigiCal widgets to the right.
  • After years on either Apex or Nova, I made the switch to ZLauncher. It's been a month or two, but I don't see myself going back. The only thing I miss is the clean home screen.
  • Am I seriously the only one who put folders in her dock?
  • I do too! I use all the space above the tray for full widgets and the dock as my icons and folders. Posted from the Nexus 5 or Xperia Z3
  • I do as well but I have one screen dedicated to icons for apps that I am testing. Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • For me, the dock is for apps that I want quick, one-tap access to. Putting folders there would defeat the porpoise.
  • ^THIS
  • Then again, I also cheat and have the swipe actions on my folders so I can swipe for one app or tap and open a different one. But I find the dock easier since everything's in folders anyway.
  • I'd rather have two tap access to vastly more. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nope I have them too. Keeps screen clean Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nope, I use folders on dock and in app drawer. Nexus 4 (AT&T)
  • I have one on my phone for the dialer and hangouts dialer, because hangouts isn't reliable enough for me to use it alone without Google Voice. Posted via Android Central App
  • Z3C FTW Jerry! Posted from the Nexus 5 or Xperia Z3
  • So... device guesses in order of posts: Phil - M8
    Ara - Moto X '14 ?
    Andrew - not sure... N6? 2014 X w/ 5.0? Rooted M8?
    Derek - M8 since he said so! :)
    Russell - like Andrew... not sure
    Jerry - Z3c since he said so as well! Great post.
  • I'm on a 2014 X
  • Yep! Then again, my phone graces my heroes frequently enough that it's not much of a guess for me anymore, at least until I start interjecting the N5 the boss sent into my heroes...
  • It's MX 2014.
  • Yeah I also thought Andrew was on the Nexus 6, probably because of the wallpaper. On another note I think it's pretty obvious which two phones from last year are the editors' favorites lol
  • Yeah they said it in an article which was best. The Note 4 Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • That purple search bar though. Posted from my Moto G 2013
  • I love the purple search bar on Phil's Posted via the Android Central App
  • I thought it looked great too. I think that's a feature of Action Launcher 3.
  • How come none of you are using a Nexus 6? Posted via the Android Central App
  • www.androidcentral.com/how-we-would-change-nexus-6 see here.
  • Ara, Thank you for the link. I somehow missed this article. Posted via the Android Central App
  • since it's not a phone....
  • Where can I find that the force awakens droid wallpaper?
  • BB-8 is it's name - https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JoanJimenez/posts/jKhrvqU37wy Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thank you very much!
  • I have a questIon, was Materiel Design created with the idea people would have to download and pay for launchers that would make the white search bar less intrusive? I love Google Now Launcher I just wish their was an option (inside the Google Now Launcher app) to change the color of the search bar to something other than white. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Use action launcher 3. You can change the color of the search bar Posted via the Unrivaled Note 4 or Tab S 10.5
  • With the latest update all you have to say is "ok google" so who needs the bar anyway?
  • ^ This. Then again I've got a Moto X so I have a custom trigger phrase and IT. IS. GODLY.
  • Is the phrase "Godly"?
    Also, does one have to shout it for it to take affect? "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Yes. My Internet got worse.
  • Actually, my phrase is made-up words so that it's unique and not something I'm likely to mispronounce or for others to say, and the shouting is very rarely needed. I just like shouting sometimes...
  • Honestly I hated it at first, but it took approximately 2 days for it to stop being an issue for me. And I use the search bar all the time, probably more often than I go into the app drawer, so I love that it's there. But hey, for those who don't, or don't like the colour of it, there are options.
  • I want Russell's wallpaper agh!
  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JoanJimenez/posts/jKhrvqU37wy Posted via the Android Central App
  • where's ALEX DOBIE??
  • Ara I am curious to know more about your Tasker driving mode! Have you gone into depth anywhere about how you set that up already? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Which one, the one triggered by Moto Assist or the one triggered by connecting to the car's Bluetooth? I've gone over the former a bit in some of my earlier Tasker articles from the fall, and the BT one isn't very difficult, I use Bluetooth Auto Connect's Tasker plugin as the event context, set your device and the mode to connect, and then add your driving task as desired (in my case, turn off silent mode and hit play on my current Play Music queue).
  • Cool thanks! The one thing I do love about my RAZR M is its preinstalled driving mode. But my Nexus 6 is coming this week so I will finally be able to play with Tasker. I have planned on returning to your Tasker articles for some guidance! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think this is a great idea for an article, but, at least on my Moto X, it was impossible to enjoy. The format of each page was inconsistent. I could only see some of the photos full screen, which was the most important part.
  • Crossing Field from SAO :)
  • Purchased legally from Amazon. Sorry, I'm kinda amazed when I can find anime music legally and I like to highlight that when I can. I wish more shows did it.
  • My launcher is very simple and some would say bland. I too have every app alphabetized because of my ocd. Posted via the Android Central App on the 2nd Gen. Moto X
  • No one uses the Google Now widget?? Wow. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well considering I have Google Now Launcher it'd be useless for me... but I think in general the Now widget is questionably useful. If you want it all the time, you just use GNow Launcher, but if you want it less than that chances are you're OK just accessing it with the long press+swipe up on the home button. The widget is pretty subpar to those two choices.
  • Yours is my favorite setup Posted via the Android Central App
  • Jerry forgot to mention that timley clock widget. I love nova and timely.
  • Hey, Jerry wasn't the only one with Timely! I just mentioned mine like I was supposed to.
  • Please share the BB-8 Wallpaper.
  • As you wish - https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JoanJimenez/posts/jKhrvqU37wy Posted via the Android Central App
  • Awesome. Thanks!
  • Mine is closest to Jerry's, except I go even a step further and have everything on the bottom. So Phone, Google Folder, App Drawer, Media/Tools Folder and Text Messenger. I rotate pictures of my wife and kids for the background so I like to keep them fully visible.
  • You guys have surprisingly simple setups, especially Jerry! Posted via Android Central App
  • Hey, I can't see the comments.
  • Page doesn't load properly. Please fix this.
  • All really dull, with that widget Phils looks like Windows Mobile 6.5
  • Re: Phil's setup - I thought the same thing, but that's because I have a similar setup and came from WinMo6.5 as well. Agenda Widget Nothin but Nebula....
  • Looking at this, I'm actually a little depressed to learn you guys really don't toy around with anything even closely resembling a branch-out from a generic/stock look. Essentially no custom icons, or other custom layouts, really. Just grouping. I'm curious if anyone on the staff roots their device, and/or runs an AOSP ROM? I've got some random screen-shots from various configurations I've had over the years, and it's astounding how unique and different each of them have been. That's like...80% of the fun of owning an Android device: the customization. Ara's the only one whose setup looks even remotely fun :p
  • Some folks just have more important stuff to do...like work! You can fiddle around with your phone as much as you like, then at some stage you realise you are just wasting your time. You just stick what you need on the phone and go with it.
  • Due to instability and lack of feature support on the MX, I have a separate device for fiddling with ROMs nowadays. My N5 splits time between OMNI and CM12 currently. As for icon packs, I lose interest as soon as there's an icon that's unsupported by the pack. It ruins the effect for me so I don't use them often, which is a shame since I think I've paid for something like 25 of them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • We've talked about rooting and ROMS (hell, the article of mine that finally got Phil to ask me aboard was about me saying that root isn't nearly as needed as it used to be), and we've generally agreed that we don't need it as much as we once did and sometimes it's nice to use a device that just works out of the box. Besides, the rest of these guys change phones often enough that rooting them all would get time-consuming, and I refuse to root or ROM my primary phone, which is usually my ONLY phone. And I'm happy you think mine is fun, Gesture controls for the win!
  • Yeah, i don't know which one is worst to be honest :/
  • Mine is the worst. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I use the Touchwiz, I haven't found any other launcher that is as easy to use except for Google Now launcher. I have it installed but I don't use it, it doesn't allow for as much customization as Touchwiz. I don't want to aggravate with all of the non sense of other launchers. Nova was my favorite I think, it's been a while. Everything I need right away is in a "Home Screen" folder. Everything else is in the app drawer in folders, the biggest folder is my "Miscellaneous apps" folder so I still have to look through a bunch of apps that I probably could get rid of some of them. I have Touchwiz customized like I want /use it. I hate having to look for an app that's some where on one of several pages. I just don't want to re do the organization with another launcher. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nova ftw Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nova is clearly the best launcher... Posted via My Beastly Galaxy Note 4...(T-Mobile)
  • Ara's layout would probably look less busy if you break out each screen. Oh, and that wallpaper...pretty, but adds to the busy feel...
  • It probably would, but if I really wanted to make it seem less busy I would've used a solid black wallpaper for capping and then put the wallpaper back, but they wanted us to show what we're using, not what looks the cleanest. I need to find a Valentine's wallpaper for this week with some Disney influence....
  • Oh, I like the look and certainly understand the "why". Very much each his (or her) own. You're actually a bit more organized in the intent of what you have where.
  • I have a similar Disney theme for my backgrounds but lately I've been taken with using Muzei and pointing it to a local folder containing a bunch of wallpapers. I like the look of the backgrounds when they're dimmed/blurred/decolored slightly, but I can bring back the original temporarily with a double tap of the screen. A nice compromise between readability and something nice to look at.
  • These are all so ugly, do these people even know what am icon pack is? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm running Moonshine icon pack and my dock icons are custom Red Moonshine icons done for me by Moonshine's dev.
  • One of the advantages of Android according to all of the reviews I've read is the presence of widgets. For a long time this has been the reason why I never got an iPhone. However, over the past few years I find myself relying on widgets less and less. My nexus 5 home screen is quite similar to Phil, except I use the sunrise calendar widget. With this in mind, what advantage does Lollipop have over iOS 8. Especially since we now have the iphone 6 plus. Beyond personal preference for design language I find myself struggling to come up with a reason why I should recommend android over iOS. By the way, I have been using android phones since the HTC magic Posted via the Android Central App
  • Android and iOS are definitely closer in parity but you still can't customize the iPhone to the extent that you can an Android, or truly automate it. For more power and control, get an Android. Oh, and... a back button. Sheesh. Posted via Android Central App
  • Jogging club? Phil, from the looks of it, you guys just sit around talking about jogging someday. :-p
  • I use dodol launcher on my nexus 6 I feel it's very "light" Ok so here's my biggest pet peeve when ever I get a launcher I like to keep my dock icons invincible so it doesn't clutter up my home screens . I'm not sure if anyone else does that but it's a great idea and if it's your own phone so you already know where all the icons are memorized. Secondly I use A calendar because I just need an actual monthly view for a calendar widget. And thirdly everything in folders. So as you can see I take the "clutter free" idea a step forward.
  • Before I got the red icons for Christmas, my dock consisted not of icons but of vintage Disney posters, just so I knew where everything was and it added a little more Disney flair (my background during that time was a rendering of New Fantasyland from Disney Parks Blog.
  • Jerry, why Google Now Launcher on an Xperia? My experience is that Xperia Home is similar to Google Now Launcher but with some useful extra features. (And without the distracting page transition from Google Now Launcher's application drawer.)
  • I'm with Derek. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hey Phil and Andrew, can I get a link to your wallpapers? They look great! Thanks Posted via Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Nova Prime with Modern Android Icons. Simple and to the point. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This definitely had me reconsidering how I laid out my home screens. I do use folders and I actually have 2 in the dock for most used apps (phone dialers and browsers (chrome/firefox)). I've changed my calendar widget to Calendar Widget from +1 Labs and I'm finally using Action Launcher. I have the Google Now Widget on the 5th screen but it might be going the way of the dodo thanks to Andrew reminding me about the swipe up. On my phone, I have the AC widget on far left, the new calendar widget center left, a clock widget from Make Your Own Clock Widget and a 1x1 weather channel widget, Bible widget plus some folders and common apps on the main page, more folders and what's this song on center right, and then the possibly soon to be deleted Google Now. Tablet is a different animal. Nexus 7 2013, so more room! Calendar Widget, Bible and a bunch of folders on the home screen, AC widget center left plus a few more folders, and half a screen of apps/folders center right. Google Now possibly soon to be deleted. Posted via Android Central App
  • but now I have gone and pared it all down. Posted via Android Central App
  • When I bought my Moto X in December 2013, the first thing I did was install Nova Launcher. Have been using it ever since and have never had an issue, works flawlessly and the customization options are top notch.
  • I love Nova, it gives me the freedom to create my boring, one screen setup, just the way I like it. Posted from the redheaded stepchild of the Nexii
  • I'm really surprised that none of the editors has done anything really different with their homescreens. Here is mine:
    https://plus.google.com/117963626897421403503/posts/d3kdaAKGaV5 Posted via the Android Central App on My Samsung Galaxy S 5.
  • After years of having a multi-screen set up, I decided to compact mine down to two pages max. Come across this article and bam. Shamelessly nicking Andrew's layout. Swap out that bottom widget for the google play music widget and the calendar for sunrise calendar and they are near on identical. His explanation for his layout just made so much sense.
  • How incredibly simple these all are, to each their own. Mine must look chaotic to you all but I've pushed Apex Launcher to it's fullest capable extent. Everything is a gesture away, even with 7 screens, doing away with my app drawer altogether. Basically any functiom not present on my stock Note 3 I googled, & found the "app for that". Anyone else follow suit by maximizing their phone real estate?
  • Hey !! Hope y'all are well!! I am just learning my new k7. I have alot of cleaning up and will do that soon after I have everything downloaded I want do you have a question however, home screen page out of 6 pages it's where the phone picked it is there a way I can change that I have a certain page I want to be my homepage my home screen but I'm not getting it done anyone able to help me? I appreciate any advice y'all give me. Ty