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How to use an Android tablet: All Basics Explained (very easy)

A simple guide for beginners to understand the basic of using an Android tablet.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE with Android 13

If you’ve recently bought an Android tablet or are considering getting one, you may be wondering how to make the most of its features and capabilities. Especially if you are an iPad user who is considering getting the taste of an Android tablet for the sake of trying out a new interface. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about using an Android tablet.

How to use an Android tablet: Quick Overview

  • Android tablets come in various sizes and brands, offering a wide range of options to choose from. The specific features mentioned in this guide may vary slightly depending on the version of Android and the manufacturer of your tablet.
  • You can personalize your Android tablet’s homescreen with your favorite wallpaper, widgets and most important apps that you want to keep handy
  • You can tweak the permissions for every installed app by going to the Settings of your Android tablet
  • Pair your Android tablet with accessories like keyboard and compatible stylus for better productivity

Getting Started with Your Android Tablet

Before diving into the features and functionalities of your Android tablet, it’s essential to set it up properly. Begin by unboxing your tablet and powering it on. Follow the on-screen instructions to connect to a Wi-Fi network and set up your Google account. By syncing your data, you can easily access your contacts, emails, and more seamlessly across devices. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the basic hardware components, such as the power button, volume buttons, charging port, and headphone jack. 

On most of the Android tablets, you get the Power button on the right side with a volume rocker placed below it or on the left side of the tablet. There are not many Android tablets with a physical home button. On Samsung tablets, for example, you will get the home button, back button, and recent app buttons. These buttons are most essential when using your tablet. Coming back to hardware, the majority of Android tablets support microSD card slots often paired within the SIM card tray. You can use the external storage for storing non-default apps. This really keeps your internal storage free. 

Navigating the Android Interface

Once your tablet is set up, it’s time to explore the Android interface. The home screen is where you’ll spend most of your time, and it’s highly customizable as you can add/remove apps or drag/drop them for preferred placement on the screen. Ideally, the home screen should feature your most-used apps.

homescreen android tablet

You can add widgets, rearrange icons, and change the wallpaper to make it truly yours. On my tablet, the first thing I did was to add the Google search bar widget on the home screen. This lets me do a quick search without the need to open the browser app. You can also add a bunch of other widgets on your homescreen like a calendar or a detailed weather widget or an analog clock if you prefer that instead of the digital timer. 

App drawer on android tablet

The app drawer is where all your installed apps are stored, and it can be accessed by tapping the app drawer icon or on some tablets you can just do a swipe up gesture with your finger to reveal all the apps installed on your device. 

notification panel android tablet

From the notification bar, you can check notifications, access quick settings and connectivity options like WiFi, Mobile Data, and other options like screen recorder and more. Tablets from brands like Samsung also let you customize the notification panel and add your most used functions there. 

Essential Apps for Your Android Tablet

Android tablets come with a range of default Google apps including Chrome for browsing the web, Gmail for managing your emails, YouTube for watching videos, and Maps for navigation. Additionally, there are built-in productivity apps like the calendar, note-taking tools, and document management apps.

default google apps android tablet

Just because it is an Android tablet, it does not mean that you are stuck with Google apps. You can very well choose a different browser like Opera or Bing for surfing the internet or Outlook for emails. Same goes for other default apps like Google Drive, you can use OneDrive for storing your documents online. If you’re looking for more apps, head to the Google Play Store, where you’ll find a vast selection of productivity apps, games, and other useful tools. 

For apps that are not available on Play Store, you can also install an APK from third-party sources. But beware, third-party sources are not the most secure when it comes to downloading apps and you can unknowingly install malware on your Android tablet. 

Connecting Your Android Tablet

To make the most of your tablet, it’s important to set up connections with other devices. Start by setting up Wi-Fi connectivity to access the internet. You can also use Bluetooth to connect your tablet with wireless peripherals such as headphones, speakers, or keyboards. Another useful feature is pairing your tablet with a smartphone to share data and enable features like call forwarding and message syncing.

connectivity android tablet

You can install instant messaging apps like Telegram or WhatsApp on your Android tablet. On my Galaxy Tab A9+, I have been using WhatsApp and it works as smoothly as it does on my Samsung smartphone. Even voice and video calls function seamlessly. Additionally, productivity and work apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams work well. 

Talking about other connections, if you use a Google Chromecast or Nest speaker then you can also install Google Home app to easily cast the content from your tablet to your TV. 

Downloading and Installing Apps

The Google Play Store is your go-to destination for downloading and installing apps on your Android tablet. You can browse through different categories, search for specific apps, and read user reviews before making a decision. Once you’ve found an app you want, simply tap the “Install” button to begin the download.

Play Store on Android tablet

Managing installed apps is also important to keep your tablet organized and up to date. You can update apps, uninstall unnecessary ones, and organize them in folders for easy access. For a quick overview of the installed apps on your Android tablet, just go to Settings > Apps.

Apps settings

In case you want to keep your privacy in control, you can also go to the Settings of your tablet and check for permissions granted to every app. If there’s an app that you don’t want to access your Media on the device, then you can disable that within Settings. 

Read: The Best Casual Games for Android Tablets

App permissions on android tablet

As we mentioned earlier, your Android tablet will likely come pre-loaded with default Google apps and some Microsoft apps along with bloatware apps depending on the manufacturer that you cannot uninstall but can disable. Xiaomi is infamous for filling its device interface with bloatware aka pre-loaded MIUI apps. Other tablets OEMs like Samsung, Realme, and others also include some pre-loaded apps.

software update on android tablet

While we are talking about apps, it is important to remember that you must update your Android tablet with the latest software updates available alongside regular security updates that aim to keep your device secure against security threats and vulnerabilities. To check for latest updates on your Android tablet, just go to Settings > About > Software Updates > Install Update. Also, before installing updates, make sure you have the backup of your data and that your device is connected to stable WiFi network and has ample battery power left to carry the update.

Personalizing Your Android Tablet

One of the advantages of using an Android tablet is the ability to personalize it according to your preferences. Start by customizing the home screen layout, choosing your favorite wallpaper, and adding widgets for quick access to some functions.

wallpaper settings

You can also adjust display settings such as brightness and font size to enhance your viewing experience. To ensure the security of your tablet, set up a PIN, password, Face unlock, or fingerprint unlock.

lock screen android tablet

But wait, the personalization does not end here. The best thing about owning an Android device is that you have complete autonomy over the look and feel of the interface too. From the Play Store, you can also install different themes based on your preference. If you are a tech savvy user and want to experiment further with the UI of your tablet, then you can also install a custom ROM by rooting your device. But beware, it’s a complex process so unless you have done it before, I suggest steering away from experimenting. 

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Despite their user-friendly nature, Android tablets may encounter occasional issues. If you experience connectivity problems, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth not working, try troubleshooting by restarting your tablet or checking your network settings.

factory reset an Android tablet

If certain apps crash or your tablet’s performance is slow, you can clear app caches, update the apps, or even perform a factory reset if necessary. Always remember to back up your important data before taking any drastic measures.

Accessories for Android Tablet

To further enhance your Android tablet experience, consider investing in compatible accessories like Stylus, Keyboard, and Cover. Protective cases or covers can safeguard your tablet from accidental bumps and scratches. Many Android tablet brands offer their own protective cases that often come bundled with the tablet or available for purchase separately. 

Lenovo Yoga Duet 7i stylus

Stylus pens provide precision for drawing or note-taking tasks. Android OEMs like Samsung and Lenovo have their own stylus pens like the S-Pen and Lenovo Precision Pen. For other tablets, users can buy third-party universal stylus pens. 

Lenovo Tab Extreme Folio Case

External keyboards can be connected via Bluetooth or USB, turning your tablet into a productivity powerhouse. The best option is to go for folio cases with a keyboard attached to them. They connect easily with Android tablets and offer a seamless experience. Some of the popular keyboard case makers include Logitech. 

The Bottom Line

Using an Android tablet doesn’t have to be complicated. With this comprehensive guide, you now have the knowledge to navigate the interface, download and manage apps, personalize your tablet, troubleshoot common issues, and explore various accessories. Embrace the versatility of your Android tablet and make the most of its features to suit your needs and preferences. 

For more information on the best apps for Android tablets and other useful guides:

Best Scanner Apps for Android Tablets

Best Games for Android Tablets

How to Lock & Password Protect Apps on Android Tablets



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