Minimal Android Interface: Maximum Function

Minimal Android Home PageI’ve been working on minimizing my digital life in the same way I’m minimizing my physical footprint. To that end, I’ve uninstalled a whole slew of apps on my android (I tend to be a collector when I’m not careful). Additionally, I wanted an organized, easy way to get what I like to use quickly — without all the visual clutter.

I’ve found a minimalist launcher to be the primary “clutter-buster” on my android device, but I also need quick access to more apps than this clean screen will allow. To that end, I found a notification tool that kicks serious green android butt.

If you want to have all the essential tools on the home page, eliminate all the sliding additional pages and still be able to access your stuff, get SmartLauncher by Ginlemon. There’s a free version (which will do probably everything you want), but I recommend the pro version… just to support the programmer.( I always like to support the creators of great little apps and this is one of those!)

I use the home page launcher “flower” to store my most often needed “quick access” tools. On my screen I have the following app icons: phone, Evernote, flashlight, google chat, text, Chrome, camera, calculator and music. That’s it… all “prettified” in a flower shape that looks reminiscent of an old phone dialer (the rotary type). I added a wood plank background to keep the look clean and zen.

The little boxes down in the lower left corner launches a screen that files my apps by type. It looks like this:

Sub Page of Android Launcher

Personally, I use the “phone” icon page for all my communication stuff. I eliminated the stuff I don’t use often and kept only what I use constantly. This is one of the few pages that contains apps available on my home screen — but the phone/messaging apps are important enough to me that they available from more than one location.

The “World” icon is for all the stuff I do online, from browsing to shopping to cloud storage and social networking. I have things like “etsy” and “pinterest” along with chrome and gmail and google search in that division.

The “game” icon is self explanatory and I still REALLY need to clean that section out.

The “media” icon I use for all media — books, photos, camera apps, recorders, movies, music, redbox, flixster, and so on.

The “Utility” one (with the pencil and the calculator) I reserve for my work apps — like my freshbooks timer, calendar app, office apps, etc.

And the bottom one, called “settings” I use as a catchall for those apps I don’t want to keep in the other divisions. These are things I want to keep on the device, but don’t use that often. It’s also where I stick all those blasted apps that the phone or Verizon won’t let me uninstall. I also have most of the apps that appear on my “homepage” stuck in here since I have a faster, easier way to get to them without hunting.

I like that I can get to the play store from the top nav bar of these subpages, that I can change the appearance of the entire launcher from here and I can do a quick search to find anything I want. Simple. Easy. Fast.

Minimalism Tools: Part Two

The other tool I couldn’t live without is called 1Tap Quick Bar by Root Uninstaller. This  little baby let’s me access my most often used apps from ANY screen, with just the flick of a thumb (the same way I access my notifications). It’s a little less “clean and spartan” than my homescreen, but it’s a real workhorse!

It looks like this:

Quick Access Apps on Android

 

Yes, a little like a carnival, but the backgrounds match what the row holds and keeps it easy to scan visually and select quickly. I love the customization offered by this app (in the paid version — you only get a few options in the free one). I tried this app and went pro in a matter of seconds. I’ve used it dozens of times a day EVERY day since. It makes my android much more useful. NO more “hunting and pecking” for those things I use constantly.

I have one line for communication (and my business timer on the end because that’s the row I access most often). The next row (the pink striped one) has entertainment apps.

The third has tools I use constantly. The fourth is for travel and the last is financial stuff.

From any page at any time, I can get what I use most.

I’m sure I’ll be tweaking what goes where over the next few weeks, but after setting these two things up together, I’ve made very few changes so far. VERY few.

Hope this helps people who are trying to simplify and minimize their android to make it work harder for you with less effort. I’d love to hear your favorite apps to help accomplish this goal!

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