is the most recent version of Android
most recent version of Android is 7.0 "Nougat", which
was released in August 2016. To learn more, visit Android History
at the official Android website.
can I tell which version I have?
steps for checking your version vary depending on your device
(sometimes depending on your version, believe it or not!). Below
are general instructions that should work for most Android devices.
1: Open your device's settings.
2: Look for an option that says About Device, About Phone, or
3: Find your Android version on the list of specifications.
do I get the most recent version?
most recent compatible version will be sent to your device automatically
whenever there's an update or new release. All you have to do
is accept, and your device will take care of the rest. If you
have an older phone or tablet, you may not be able to upgrade
to the latest version.
are the differences between versions?
the differences are purely cosmetic; sometimes they can affect
your device in more important ways. Below are just a few examples
of things that might be different from version to version:
1: Icons, screen layout, and other visual elements
2: New apps or features
3: Changes to existing features "Hidden" improvements
that may boost your device's performance
to know a new mobile device can be pretty exciting, especially
if this is your first smartphone or tablet. The key is to start
with the basics and take it one step at a time so you don't get
First, make sure you're comfortable with the
interface, including the screen, some of the built-in apps,
and the various gestures you'll use to get around. Then you
can move on to some other fundamental tasks, like connecting
to the Internet using Wi-Fi
time you turn on your device, you'll be asked to set up a few
different things, including your preferred language, the date
and time, and (most importantly) your Google account. If you
don't have a Google account yet, you can create one during the
a few reasons this step is so important. In short, your Google
account is your identity on your device. Not only does it connect
you to the cloud - where things like photos and contacts are
stored - but it also gives you access to the Play Store, where
you can download and purchase apps. The more you use your device,
the more you'll see how integrated your Google account really
have a Google account already if you use any other Google services,
like Gmail, Chrome, Google Drive, or even YouTube. For more
information, check out our Google Account tutorial.
to know your device
your device is set up, you should be taken to a simple screen
with some icons, buttons, and other miscellaneous features. This
is actually one of the most important parts of your device - it's
called the Home screen - and it's where you'll store all your
Remember, every Android device is unique. This
means your experience may vary depending on your device.
Phone for making phone calls
Messaging for text messaging, or Hangouts for text messaging
plus Google chat
Email for managing your email, or Gmail if you have a Gmail
People for your contacts list (may also be called Contacts)
Chrome for browsing the Web (may also be called Internet or
Camera for taking photos and videos
Play Store for downloading apps
Settings for adjusting your settings
Some of these apps may be on your Home screen
already. If they aren't, take a look in your Apps view. This
special view gives you access to every app on your device. To
open it, look for the icon near the bottom of the Home screen.
are what you'll use to interact with your device's touchscreen.
For instance, instead of clicking something with your mouse, you'll
tap the screen with your finger. We'll refer to gestures throughout
this tutorial, so make sure you're familiar with the examples
Tap to "click", select, or open something
on your device, like a button or an app
Tap and hold to occasionally access other options (think of
this as "right-clicking")
Drag to scroll up and down, left and right, or any other direction
on the screen
Swipe left or right to "flip through" things, like
pages on the Home screen, photos, or pages in an e-book
Double-tap to zoom in or out in certain apps, like Maps or Chrome
Pinch (i.e., open or close your thumb and forefinger) to zoom
in or out almost anywhere
device can connect to the Internet almost anywhere, either though
mobile data (3G/4G or LTE) or nearby Wi-Fi. So what exactly is
the difference? Most data plans only give you a certain amount
of data per month, and there can be repercussions if you go over
your limit. With Wi-Fi, you can use the Internet as much as you
want, and it won't count against your data.
connect to Wi-Fi (optional):
Do you have
access to a nearby Wi-Fi network (for example, at home or at
work)? You can easily connect to it using the steps below. For
networks that you access repeatedly, you generally only have
to do this once. The next time you're in range, you'll be connected
to the network automatically, as long as you leave the Wi-Fi
feature turned on.
you're on the Home screen, then open the Apps view. Your icon
is usually found in the Favorites tray near the bottom of the
Settings icon. You may need to swipe through a few screens to
the list of settings until you find the Wi-Fi feature. If it
isn't already set to ON, tap the control on the right.
done, tap the word Wi-Fi. This will open a list of nearby networks.
a network, just tap the one you want. If the network is secured,
you'll need to enter a password to connect to it.
done, your device will remember the details of the network (including
the password if applicable), so you can connect to it automatically
in the future. If you ever want to change these settings, tap
and hold the network name, then choose Forget or Modify.
If the network
you're connecting to is unsecured, you can access it without
a password, but you should think carefully before you do (especially
if it's a public hotspot, like Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop).
Anything you view or share over an unsecured network is not
necessarily safe from prying eyes.
now, you've probably already encountered the keyboard on your
device. It's designed to pop up automatically whenever you need
to type something; for example, when you're composing an email,
searching the Web, or filling out a form.
This keyboard may be smaller than a traditional
keyboard, but it comes with several convenient shortcuts to
make typing easier. Things like symbols, numbers, and capital
letters are actually easy to access - you just have to know
where to look.
this point, you've turned on your device and gotten it all set
up. You're probably eager to start using it - for things like
taking pictures, sending text messages, and all that other fun
Fortunately, these tasks are fairly easy. You
just have to know what apps to look for and how to organize
them so they're easier to get to. Soon, things like making phone
calls and customizing your Home screen will start to feel like
a specific app
be found in two places on your device. The first is the Home
screen, which should include shortcuts to several common apps
by default (you can even add your own—we'll show you how
in a minute). The second is the Apps view, where you can access
every app on your device.
Apps view using the icon on the Home screen. The icon may look
different on other devices - sometimes it's a circle, sometimes
it's shaped like a grid or a square. It just depends on your
make and model.
add an app from your home screen
an app to the Home screen is a lot like adding a shortcut on your
computer desktop. You're not moving or altering the original app
in any way - you're just creating a link. Ultimately, this is
a great way to make your favorite apps easier to get to.
Open the Apps view, then find the app you want.
selecting an app
Tap and hold the app (be careful not to let go!), and you'll
be taken to a special view of your Home screen.
Continue to hold the app while you decide where to put it. If
your primary Home screen is full, you should be able to access/create
another one by dragging the app all the way to the right.
positioning an app
Release the app once you've chosen a spot, and it will be added
to your Home screen.
To navigate between Home screens, swipe left
To move (or remove) Home screen apps:
With a little know-how, you can easily rearrange
your Home screen icons any way you want. You can also remove
any shortcuts you don't need, like if your device came with
a shortcut you don't really use.
Make sure you're on the Home screen, then tap
and hold the shortcut you want to edit. This should give you
control of the icon.
To move it, drag and drop the icon to a new location.
To remove it, drag the icon to the Remove option. (Keep in mind
that this won't delete the app from your device. It will only
remove the shortcut from the Home screen.)
calls and texting
that you know how to find and organize the apps you need, there's
no limit to what you can do. Here are some other tasks you might
be interested in while you're still getting used to your device.
Every smartphone comes with an app for making
phone calls. Yours may look different from the example below,
but the overall experience - including opening the app and using
the keypad - should be the same.
Open the Phone app on your device. It's usually
located in the tray at the bottom of the screen.
The keypad should appear.
Enter the number you want to call, then tap
the phone button to continue. (If the person is in your contacts
list, the information may pop up automatically. We'll take a
closer look at contacts in our lesson on Managing Contacts.)
When you're done, tap the red button to hang up.
As you may have gathered, tablets don't come
with a phone feature. If you're interested in making calls with
your tablet, you might want to look into an alternative like
To send a text message:
Open the Messaging app on your device.
To start a new conversation, look for the new message button.
Enter the phone number of the person you want to text (or type
the contact's name if he or she is already in your contacts
Enter your message, then press the Send button.
When the other person replies, his or her message should appear
in the same conversation thread.
Traditional text messaging is done through your
device's phone number—that's why tablets don't have this
feature. As an alternative, you can use the Hangouts app for
chatting, or you can check the Play Store for other messaging
newer devices come with an app called Hangouts. You can use it
to send and receive text messages just like you would with the
Messaging app - the difference is that it can be used for Google
chat as well. This makes it a great choice if you do a lot of
texting and chatting. To learn more, check out Hangouts on Google
app can vary quite a bit from device to device. Not to worry
- the interface should still be fairly intuitive. If you have
questions about how your particular camera works, try checking
your manual or your manufacturer's website.
device's Camera app.
The camera view should appear. If the picture is blurry, try
tapping your subject to refocus.
To take a picture, tap the camera button.
give you the option to launch the camera directly from your
lock screen. To see if your device has this feature, look for
an icon on your device screen.
your device's settings
you're more familiar with your device, you might feel inclined
to customise some of your settings. These settings let you control
everything from the volume of your notifications to the way your
lock screen works. They can even tell you how much storage space
We'll talk about various settings throughout
this tutorial, so it's important to know how to access them.
As for customising them, we recommend taking the time to explore
your options on your own. Because every device is different,
your settings will be a reflection of whatever makes yours unique.
Open the Settings app on your device. If it
isn't already on your Home screen, you'll find it in the Apps
Your settings will appear.
Scroll through the list to find the section
or setting you're looking for. Common sections include Wireless
& Networks (where you can manage your connections) and Device
(for personalizing your device).
list of settings
Some devices will include shortcuts to your
settings in the Notification Shade. To get there, swipe down
from the top of your screen, then tap the icon in the upper-right
Up Your Email
started with email
is probably one of the first things you'll want to set up on your
device. All you have to do is sign into your account using the
appropriate app - then you can start sending and receiving messages
just like you would on a regular computer.
The big question is, which email app should
you use? There are quite a few options to choose from. Most
people use the "official" app for their email service,
such as the Outlook app by Microsoft or the Gmail app by Google.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
you have a Gmail account
If you use
Gmail, you're in luck. The Gmail app comes pre-installed on
every Android device, so you don't have to download anything
from the Play Store. In addition, there's a good chance your
account is connected to the app already (as long as you used
the same Google account to set up your device).
app is designed to work a lot like your regular inbox. You can
read and reply to messages and archive or delete the ones you
don't want. You can even add multiple accounts to the app, so
you can access them all in the same place (we'll show you how
you use a different email account
the only service with its own app. All of the primary services
have one, including Outlook, Yahoo!, Mail.com, and AOL. All
you have to do is download the app from the Play Store, then
install it on your device. If you've never used the Play Store
before, you can learn more about it in our lesson on Downloading
you can use the all-purpose Email app, which comes pre-installed
on most devices. Each version of this app is different, but
it's generally designed to be more universal. In other words,
you can use it to set up any type of account, including Outlook,
Yahoo!, and everything in between. You can even use it to set
up your work email (if your job or business uses some type of
email app lets you add more than one account to your device.
This option is great if you have multiple addresses - like separate
ones for work and school - and you want to be able to access
them in the same place.
for this can vary, but the general idea is the same. Start by
going to your device's settings, then look for the option that
says Add Account. Next, select the account type - for example,
Google or Yahoo! - and follow the instructions.
contacts list is one of the most important things on your device.
It's where you'll save contact information for the people you
know, including their names, phone numbers, and email addresses.
This information isn't just for your records
- it's also used by other apps. For instance, if you need to
call or text one of your contacts, thankfully you don't have
to remember his or her phone number. All you have to do is start
entering information and the app will pull up the rest.
If you have
any existing Google contacts, they were most likely added when
you set up your phone or tablet. Beyond that, you can easily
add contacts manually. To get started, open the contacts app
that came with your device. It's usually called People but may
be called something else (for example, Contacts).
add a new contact using the add contact button (which is usually
identified by a + sign or something similar). A list of fields
will appear where you can enter any kind of information you
need, including a person's name, email address, and multiple
filling out contact info
you can add contacts directly from other apps, like if someone
emails you for the first time and you'd like to save that person's
address. To try this out, tap the person's information (or tap
and hold if that doesn't work). You should be taken to a screen
or dialog box where you can quickly add the person to your contacts.
and editing contacts
return to the People app whenever you need to view or edit one
of your contacts. Each version of this app is different (for example,
yours might have different icons), but some tasks are still fairly
universal. Here are some tips to help you learn your way around.
To browse your contacts, scroll up and down the list. They're
usually sorted alphabetically by first name.
search for a contact, tap the search button. You can find the
person you're looking for by entering any contact information,
including the contact's name, organization, or email address.
To view a contact, tap his or her name on the list. Their information
To edit or delete a contact, tap the menu button while viewing
the contact's information. You'll find several options to choose
from—you can even set an individual ring tone.
you're making a phone call or sending a text, using your contacts
list to pull up the information you need can be a huge time
saver. There are two ways to put your contacts to use: You can
start with the People app or go directly to the app you want
someone using the People app, navigate to the contact's information,
then tap the item you want, like a phone number or email address.
You can even tap the message icon next to the contact's phone
number to send a text message instead. Once you tap one of these
items, you'll be taken to the appropriate app.
To pull up someone's contact info in Gmail or Messaging - or
another similar app - start typing anything that's saved to
the contact's record, including his or her name, organization,
or email address. It's a lot like performing a search of your
contacts list. Once you've found the person you're looking for,
tap the contact's information and the app will take care of
how to pull up someone's contact info in the Phone app? Try
dialing part of the person's phone number or spelling his or
her name with the keypad. This should bring up the rest of the
to the Play Store
now, you're probably familiar with the apps that came with your
device. What if you're interested in downloading some more? That's
where the Play Store comes in (also known as Google Play). The
Play Store gives you access to thousands of apps, services, and
other media - everything from games like Angry Birds to tools
that can help you with everyday tasks.
Many of the apps in the Play Store can be downloaded
for free. Others cost as little as £0.99, although some
may be more expensive. To purchase apps from the Play Store,
you'll need to have some form of payment on file with your Google
account, such as PayPal or a credit card. If you don't have
this set up yet, that's OK - the app will walk you through it.
and installing apps
Play Store comes pre-installed on every Android device. To get
started, open the app. You can use the search feature to search
for something specific, such as the name of an app, the company
that makes it, or something descriptive (like "photo editor").
You also can tap Apps to browse the apps section of the store.
download or learn more about an app, tap the one you're interested
in. You'll be taken to the product page, where you can check out
reviews, screenshots, and a description of the app. To download
the app, tap the install button (it will say "install"
if the app is free or will tell you the purchase price), then
follow the rest of the instructions.
return to the Play Store homepage, open the menu in the upper-left
corner, then choose Store home. You can also use this menu to
view your current apps, account settings, and more.
apps in the Play Store are perfectly legitimate; however, there
will always be a few exceptions. For example, some apps may compromise
your privacy by sharing your personal information with advertisers.
Others may even contain malware, which can affect the operation
of your device.
The best way to protect yourself is to stick
to apps and brands you trust. You should also think critically
about the app's reputation before downloading it, and review
the app's permissions - especially if you're unfamiliar with
Reputation: Every app has a reputation of some
kind. You can get a better idea of what it is by checking the
user reviews and other details on the product page. For example,
do you see a lot of negative comments? Does the app have fewer
than 100 downloads? This is a pretty good indication that the
app may be unreliable (or may even be unsafe or a scam). Use
your judgement, and don't download anything that makes you feel
Permissions: Apps need permission to access
certain information on your device in order to work properly.
Sometimes this information is completely necessary, and sometimes
it isn't - it just depends on the context. For example, if you're
downloading a simple flashlight app and it requests access to
your phone, contacts, and location, you might want to reconsider.
The app's reputation can also help you make smart decisions
an app only takes a few minutes. There are two ways to do it.
First, if you're viewing the app in the Play Store, all you
have to do is tap Uninstall - the app will be removed from your
outside the Play Store, open your device's settings, then go
to Apps or Application Manager (this may vary depending on your
device). From there, select the app you want, and tap Uninstall.
If you change
your mind later, you can always reinstall any apps you've uninstalled.
Just go back to the Play Store and follow the usual steps. If
you paid for the app, you won't have to pay for it again.
more with the Play Store
truth is, apps are just the beginning when it comes to the Play
Store - there are many other things you can download, including
movies, TV shows, books, and music. Unlike apps, these purchases
aren't just for your mobile device; they can also be viewed on
your computer. To learn more, check out the Google Play Help Center
or the desktop version of Google Play.
lose their devices or experience some breach of privacy more often
than you might think. Luckily, there are several things you can
do to protect your phone or tablet - and, by extension, your personal
Some of these precautions involve enabling something
on your device (for example, a screen lock that provides extra
security). Others depend on your knowledge of safe browsing
habits, like knowing when to avoid public Wi-Fi. It only takes
a minute to review your options and prepare for any mishaps
down the road.
few basic strategies can go a long way toward protecting your
device. Here are some everyday tips to help safeguard your information
and keep your device safe, secure, and healthy.
your version of Android whenever prompted. System updates often
contain bug fixes and other improvements that can protect your
device from the latest security threats.
to access your security settings. Take some time to review them,
and make sure you understand how they work. Everyone's security
settings are different - you can usually get to them in your
when downloading apps. Many apps in the Play Store are safe,
but some may pose a risk to your privacy. Stick to apps you
trust, and think carefully about any permissions they require.
(To learn more, see the previous lesson on Downloading Apps.)
default, most devices don't require a PIN or password to unlock
the screen. This means anyone can access your information if you
aren't careful - including your email, photos, and text messages.
To help combat this, you can set up a secure
screen lock using a feature that's already built in to your
device. All you have to do is open your settings, then look
for the option that says Security or Screen Lock. Your choices
may vary depending on your make and model.
The next time you turn on your device, you'll
have to enter the code (or pass whatever security check you
chose) in order to unlock it.
and remote erase
your device is never lost or stolen. If it is, there's a feature
called Android Device Manager that can help you track it down.
You can even use it to erase all of your data remotely, so there's
no chance of anyone accessing it.
Device Manager must be set up in advance, so we highly recommend
doing this now just as a precaution. To get started, open the
Apps view on your device, then look for Google Settings. Next,
choose Android Device Manager. You can enable or disable two
options—one lets you locate your device, and the other
lets you lock or erase it remotely.
can track or manage your device at google.com/android/devicemanager,
the Android Device Manager website. Go ahead and test it out
- you'll need to sign into your Google account first. To learn
more about Android Device Manager, visit Google Support.
Wi-Fi instead of mobile data is one of the best ways to stay connected
on your device. However, your privacy and security could be at
risk if you aren't careful about the networks you use. When connecting
to Wi-Fi, consider these tips:
secure wifi networks
If you have a home Wi-Fi network, make sure
it's secure (i.e., you have to enter a password to connect to
it). If you don't know how to set this up, try asking a friend,
relative, or even your Internet service provider for help.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi for sensitive tasks
like online banking or shopping. Even if the network is secure,
someone else on the network (for example, a patron at the same
coffee shop) could gain access to your activity.
Never connect to an unsecured network (in other words, one that
doesn't require a password) - especially an unidentified hotspot
in a public place. Criminals sometimes set up rogue networks
with common names like "Free Wi-Fi", making it easy
for them to access your information