I organize my Home screens according to type of task and frequency of use, and I try to keep some free space on the screens: the more icons and widgets on any given screen the slower swiping between screens will be.
Most Android phones support three Home screens, but newer phones (and those running custom ROMS) are leaning toward five as the default. Filling these screens with icons and widgets, not to mention running an animated “Live Wallpaper” behind them can take a toll on even the fastest processor.
There are really only two ways to address this: upgrade your hardware (faster processor, more ram, faster video chip, etc.), or reduce the number of items on your Home screens.
Since we can’t simply open the chassis and add another stick of RAM, or replace the CPU or GPU, that leaves us with the other option.
I’m not advocating removing everything from your home screens, but reducing the number of items that you don’t regularly use will help with overall speed. But that will only get you so far. To squeeze every little bit of performance use Folders.
What are Folders?
If you long-press on an empty spot on any Home screen you’ll set several options (which will vary depending on what Launcher you’re using). The typical items are Shortcuts, Widgets, Folders, and Wallpapers.
Tap on “Folders” and you’re given more options. On my Nexus One I have: New Folder, All Contacts, Bluetooth received, Contacts with phone numbers, Facebook Phonebook, (Pandora) My Stations, and Starred Contacts. Tap on New folder.
You now have a new icon titled “Folder” on your Home screen. You can drag any app icon you want onto this folder (not widgets though) to move the icon from your Home screen and into Folder. Tap on Folder and you can see all the icons you’ve just moved into it. Long press on the folder’s title bar to rename the folder.
Now instead of having Home screens full of icons you can have a folder that contains grouped icons. You could make a folder for:
– GPS Apps (Maps, Waze, Earth, My Tracks, CoPilot Live, etc.)
– Web Apps (Twitter, Facebook, Browser, Gmail, WordPress, Market, CM Updater, etc.)
– Camera Apps (Camera, Gallery, Camcorder, Barcode Scanner, Goggles, ShopSavvy, TagReader, etc.)
– WiFi Apps (FCC Test, wardrive, WifiScanner, Wifi Analyzer, etc.)
What about you?
Have you used Folders in the past? Will you after having read this article? What Folders do you use (or did you create after reading this)? Did your speed increase after you put your Home screen app icons into Folders?