My son gave me a brand new Samsung phone, which is great. But there’s a little cloud in the middle of the home screen. Is that how I get to weather? How can I just have the weather on my home screen?
By default different Android phones have different home screens because big companies like Samsung add their own user interface (UI) layer to stock Android. Samsung calls it the “Samsung Experience” and while it adds a lot to your daily interaction, it also has the unfortunate side effect of meaning that someone with a different kind of Android phone probably can’t help you figure out the nuances of configuring everything and getting it all set up properly. Life in Android land.
Fortunately new smartphones constantly arrive at our offices so there’s always some sort of device lying around, ready for tests and experimentation. This time I’ll be using a Samsung Galaxy S8 running, you guessed it, Samsung Experience 9.0 atop Android 8.0. You can check too, just go into Settings > About phone > Software information. With some effort, you can probably disable or remove Samsung Experience, but… why? I’d suggest you stick with it.
And so, here’s how you gain control over the home screen and set it up to have your local weather, starting with the default no-weather icon, a tiny cloud with a “+” in the middle:
Ready? Tap on it! You’ll then need to grant the weather app access to your location info (so it knows where you are!) but once you’ve done so, it’ll take a few seconds and then show you a current weather forecast. Like this:
As you can see, it’s been a pretty dreary and cold day here in Boulder, Colorado! That’s okay, we’re used to it here.
Believe it or not, you’re done. That’s it. Check it out by going back to your home screen and bask in the glory that is your weather forecast showing up front and center:
SUCH an improvement. But let’s not stop there. Let’s add a nice, big clock that shows us the current time too. Eventually, we can resize things and reorganize them to get exactly the layout you prefer, but for now, let’s just go full metal widget!
To get to the widget configuration area, tap and hold on the home screen. I usually do so on a blank area, but it doesn’t really matter.
The screen changes to this view:
In this view you can tap and drag icons around, move icons from screen to screen, even get rid of ’em. But more importantly, you can change Wallpaper, Theme, add Widgets or tweak the home screen settings. Handy!
You’ll want to tap on “Widgets” to add a clock. It changes the screen to this:
You can add a calendar view, contacts as shortcuts, and more, as shown. But we just want to just add a clock so… you guessed it… tap on “Clock” and you’ll see the three main options:
You can explore the various options, but my druthers is a simple digital clock. Tap and you’ll move to the home screen and there’ll be a digital clock showing the current time and date in a single box on the screen. Like this:
Notice the tiny “+” symbols and the big cyan border around the clock widget. Since you’re still in settings mode, you can make the widget bigger by taping and dragging one of the cyan dots, or move the widget elsewhere on the screen by tapping in the center and dragging it where you want.
Turns out you can do that with the weather widget too! Tap, resize, move things around and here’s my ending home screen with both the current time – nice and easily read – along with the weather accessible at a glance:
I like it. And now you know how to duplicate it on your Android phone if you so desire, or tweak it to match your own preferences. Don’t forget to go back and change your theme and/or wallpaper to really customize your look. It’s worth the effort!