Logo Icon Logo
A Crowd-sourced Cookbook on Writing Great Android® Apps
GitHub logo Twitter logo OReilly Book Cover Art
Android 5 User TutorialBack to Android Cookbook Home | Up to Chapter: Getting Started

Author: Ian Darwin ('idarwin')
In Published Edition? No
FormatLanguage: WikiFormat

Android 5 User Tutorial


You (or your friends, colleagues, testers, etc.) need to know to use Android 5


Using Android 5

This brief tutorial is intended to get you started with using Android 5. We assume you have a new smartphone or tablet with Android 5, and that you have installed a SIM card if needed. This is a small card with a bunch of metal contacts on it, from your cell phone carrier / supplier. It contains your phone identity, so treat it like cash! Most phones in North America have one sim slot; phones in some parts of the world normally have two, which is good for roaming or for using one company for voice and another for mobile data. SIMs come in three sizes (regular, micro, and nano). Here is a photo of the largest ("regular") and the smallest ("nano") beside a North-American style 10c coin. Note that the size of the electrical contacts is the same, only the plastic gets smaller. In fact, these are the same electrical contacts on any other smart card (like a bank card with a PIN chip); they just cut away more of the plastic to make it fit into your phone.

We also assume that you have charged up your device's battery. Both of these steps probably involve following the directions that came with your device, though the battery charging is basically "Plug the USB cable into the phone, and the other end into the charger if it's not permanently wired in, then plug the charger into a wall plug / mains outlet for a couple of hours.

This tutorial is for Android 5.0 and 5.1 only. If you have Android 4 ("KitKat") or earlier, there are other tutorials on the web. Also note that some vendors modify Android in a zillion different ways, so if something here conflicts with your device, you can probably get by with common sense and/or your device vendor's instructions.


There are usually three bar-shaped buttons on the outer edge of the device, commonly on the top or right side. The two that are together (or sometimes one big "rocker" switch) are the volume control. The smaller one by itself is the power button. Power the device On by pressing the power button and holding it for about 5 seconds, until you feel the phone vibrate. The device will take a short while to "boot up" or start up.

Your phone is equipped with a touch-sensitive screen (touch screen). You can do a lot of manipulation of things by touching, tapping, sliding, mostly with one finger but occasionally with two. This takes the place of a lot of keyboard-and-mouse work that you might have done on a desktop computer (PC, Mac or Linux).

Setup Dialog

If the phone is uninitialized, it will ask you some questions. First is the choice of language.

Put your finger on the screen on top of the selected (middle) language, and slide up or down to change the language. When the language you want is in the middle, press the blue Continue button.

And don't worry if the screen goes dark while you stop and think about any of these. This is normal: the battery saver dims the screen to save power and give you longer battery life. You can always re-light it by a short tap on the power button. After you're done setup, it will also lock the screen, but at this stage, you can unlock just by sliding your finger halfway up the middle of the screen.

Then you will see the Network Connection dialog. You can set up a network connection now, or defer this to later. If you do it now, the information on using the keyboard is under "Owner Screen" below.

Next is the Google Services page. You just have to read this and accept the policy.

Setting the date and time is next, if you didn't set up a network. If you did so successfully, Android will set its time from the network.

Then there is the "owner screen".

A quick tap in the First Name line will bring up a keyboard, allowing you to type your name. Note that it automatically capitalizes the first letter of each name, by default.

When done, the '>' button will take you to the last Name line. The '>' button changes to a checkmark button, which will take you to the next page.

Then there may be some vendor-specific legal stuff to deal with. Read it and figure it out.

Finally you'll come to the Welcome screen.

When you click OK here, you finally get to see the Android home screen. This is the beginning of actual Android stuff.

Note that some vendors provide an alternate Home Screen app; in the Acer screen shot above, Quick Mode is their alternate Home Screen app. We don't recommend using alternate home screens as they are often just different enough to be annoying, though some people like them.

Basic Usage

The top status bar shows notification icons (if you have any) in the upper left, and device information in the upper right (Fig 10). This one shows my SIM card missing (the '?'), my battery at 64% full, and the time (11 minutes past midnight).

At the bottom are thee key mini-icons, which used to be physical buttons in the early days of Android. The left-facing triangle is the Back button, which takes you back to what you were going when you're done with an app (or a screen within an app). The middle one, a circle, is the Home button, which as the name implies takes you back to the home screen. The small square box is the "running apps" button (officially called "recent screens"); if you have multiple apps running, they will appear here and you can jump into them by tapping. These mini-icons appear whether you're on the home screen or inside an application, unless it's a full-screen application, one that needs all the space on the screen ("screen real estate"), such as the Camera application.

The light grey bar near the top is the Google search bar. Assuming you're on a data network, you can search Google's catalog of the entire web by tapping in this box and typing search terms. If you're not good at typing one handed, you can also speak your search terms by tapping the microphone icon at the right side.

Below that is a clock (obviously), and a couple of rows of applications. Tapping the Chrome icon (in the lower row, second from the right), for example, will launch the Chrome Browser application.


The Play Store app (right side, with a green/blue triangle in a suitcase icon) lets you download and install new applications. There are a million or so apps, so they won't all fit on your phone, but there are some good ones out there. Just find one you want and click the Install button. _Important_: Review the Permissions section carefully. If an app asks for Networking permissions and Contacts permission, it could (in theory) upload ALL your contacts to the app vendors server, send them spam, turn them over to the NSA (or its worse equivalent in other countries), and so on. Use your brain when deciding whether to install an app or not! Assuming you are OK with what the app will be allowed to do, click Accept. In a few minutes your shiny new app will be installed, and will automatically create an icon on the home screen.

On this home screen there's obviously not room for too many icons. There are two ways to see more app icons. You can slide the entire home screen sideways just by sliding your finger from side to side. Note that the very bottom row stays put; these 5 or so icons are available on every home screen. Most vendors will ship devices with 2 or 3 screens created and only a few icons on each, to give you room to work before you have to figure out how to create additional screens.

App Functionality and Menus

Most apps work in a pretty standard way. One thing that many apps have is a Menu button, three dots in a vertical stack.

Tapping this button will bring up small menu which depends on the application, but will usually end in a Settings button. This configures settings for that particular application.

When you're done, you can use the big Back Arrow in the upper left to get back to the app. Of course you can also use the Back Button at the bottom of the screen to go back to the app.

Customize the Home Screen

In the middle of the bottom row is a circle with a bunch of dots, representing icons. This will display a slide-up "drawer" containing the icons of _all_ the apps you have installed, in alphabetical order.

From here, you can launch an application that you use infrequently and don't want on your home screen, just by tapping on it. You can also install an app to your home screen by "long-pressing" (press and hold for a few seconds) which will start a "drag" operation. You can drag it to a blank space on a home screen and drop it, which will place it there, and show you the home screen. You can then move it around the same way: long press, move it where you want, and drop. If you drop it on the "X Remove" that appears at the top, it will be removed from the home screen. Don't worry, though, it's not gone from your device, will still show up in the app drawer, and can be run or added to a home screen.

Remember those 5 "always there" icons? You will eventually want to put the five apps you use most in there. On my phone I have the Phone app, the Contacts app, the App Drawer, the Messaging/SMS app, and Settings. But everyone is different in what they like. You can remove an icon from the bottom row by dragging it out to a home screen, or remove the icon altogether by dragging it up to the "X Remove" icon and dropping it. Just one thing: don't remove the App Drawer icon, as it's hard to get back. Once you've made a space in the "bottom 5" row, you can drag another app there.

BTW, that Google icon is unusual in that it's a Folder icon. Tap it, and you'll see all the Google apps in that particular folder.

Mine shows GMail, G+, Google Maps, Google Play Music, Google Drive, Hangouts, YouTube, and more. You can drag icons out of a folder to a home screen if you use them often. You can create your own folders, too: just drag one app on top of another and presto! Now they're both in a folder.

Important Apps

The apps that most people need may include:

If you're here for social networking, there are apps for all the big names and most of the smaller ones:

Phone App

Start the phone app...

To call somebody from Contacts, type the first few characters of their name, then tap their name when it shows up. If there is only one number, *it will call them* without further action.

After you have used this app a few times, the commonly-called names will appear in the middle of the window; you can call one of these just by tapping it.

You can call any number by pressing the dial-pad icon at the middle bottom. (later, you can add this number to your Contacts from the Call HIstory if it's a number you want to save).

Contacts App

When you tap the contacts app icon, you will see a list of your contacts.

You can add a new contact by pressing the the + button in the lower right.

You can search your contacts by scrolling (sliding) through the list, or by tapping the Search icon in the upper right and entering a name.

Note that your contacts will be synchonized with your Google contacts (on the web at https://mail.google.com/mail/#contacts), so you can see them online via the web and, if you have a lot of contacts to enter, you may find it easier to type them in the web version.


Play Store


Camera and Photos/Gallery

Photography is divided into two functions (and hence two apps): taking pictures, and managing them. The default Camera app is generally like a point-and-shoot camera; it takes decent pix most of the time and doesn't bother you with many controls. There are, of course, fancier camera apps that make your phone work like a DSLR; the one I use is "Camera FV-5". But the default app is simple: type the Camera app, pinch to zoom, and press the Camera icon to take a picture. Really easy!

Managing your photos is handled by the Photos app. You can have it automatically upload your pictures over WiFi, and view them at http://photos.google.com/. By default it shows your pictures in newest-first order; you can tap a picture to view it full-screen, use the Share menu to send it to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your friends, or whatever.

Photos gives you some basic photo editing and enhancement functions. There are also many fancier photo editing apps in the Play Store, including various versions of Adobe Photoshop (some of which require an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription).

Settings and Google Settings

Remember that "settings" has three meanings:

The Settings app is the main control for global control of how your individual phone behaves. When you start this app, its main screen is a _huge_ list of settings, in half a dozen major categories. Slide your finger up to review. The main topics are:

Important Things To Do Next

See Also