Widgets are very common in the Android world, and you might already have a couple of them on your home screen. But you may not be aware of the Home screen shortcuts that are equally useful but not as much attention.
Home screen shortcuts are very similar to widgets but are just like apps, meaning they only take up one tile on your home screen. With them, you can do in one click what you might need to open an application and search for a job in the program.
Here are nine really useful home screen shortcuts from the most popular Google apps.
How to Find Home Screen Shortcuts on Android
Accessing the home screen shortcuts is really easy. To do this, start by pressing and holding the app you want. This will open a small menu containing the various shortcuts to the features in this app.
Next, press and hold the shortcut you find useful, drag it to an empty spot on your home screen, and then drop it. And you’re done! The icon has been added to your home screen. Simply click on the icon and you will start directly at the selected feature within the app.
1. Shortcut the call by Google phone
You can assign a call shortcut to your favorite contacts using the Google Phone app. This way, you don’t need to open the app and search for the contact’s name and tap on the call icon. You can contact that person with a single click, which makes the whole process much faster.
The only minor issue here is that Google Phone doesn’t allow assigning a direct contact shortcut to any contact you want; So, you will need to download the Google Contacts app instead and use its direct calling tool which conveniently only requires a single slate.
2. New Text Note Shortcut by Google Keep
Need to take a quick note? Use the shortcut New Text Note from Google Keep Notes. Clicking the icon will launch Notepad and pull up the keyboard—it’s ready to start typing.
This helps you store ideas quickly before they leave your mind and is more useful for people taking notes on the go. Alternatively, you can use the New Voice Note shortcut to record your voice instead of typing text if you find it faster and more convenient.
3. Go to Work Shortcut by Google Maps
If you’re one of the many people who use Google Maps every day to get to work, you can make things even more convenient by putting a Work shortcut on your home screen. Do note that you need to set your business address in Google Maps in advance for this shortcut to work.
Usually, you need to open the application, click on the search bar, and click on the “Action” tab. Or ask the Google Assistant to start navigating. But you can do it with a single click on the shortcut, assuming your location and mobile data is turned on.
4. Accessing drive shortcut by Google Drive
You can quickly access a specific file or folder in Google Drive that you open on a regular basis, so you don’t have to waste time searching for it. Please note that this shortcut is not on the shortlist like the others and instead Google put it as a tool – we’re not sure why.
However, here’s how to access the shortcut:
- Long press on an empty spot on your home screen and tap on widgets.
- Find and click on Google Drive to see its user interface elements. Long press on the Drive shortcut widget and drag it to your home screen.
- If you have multiple signed-in Google accounts on your device, choose the account that contains the file or folder you want and tap yes.
- Select the file or folder for which you want to create a shortcut and click Choose.
5. Scan QR Code Shortcut by Google Pay
An increasing number of restaurants and bars are starting to use QR codes as a way to receive payments online. If this is popular in your area, you can use the shortcut “Scan any QR code” by Google Pay for quick corporate payments.
This shortcut will launch your phone’s camera which you can then point to a QR code to scan. Once scanned, enter the amount and confirm the payment as you normally would.
6. View Shortcut Screenshots by Google Photos
If you take a lot of screenshots on your phone (perhaps to create tutorials like this), it can be very convenient to quickly access them via the “View Screenshots” shortcut by Google Photos. Clicking the icon will take you directly to the Screenshots folder in Google Photos where you can view, share, edit, or delete these screenshots.
7. Briefly share files with Google Files
You may know that Google Files uses a file transfer feature called Nearby Sharing to quickly send large files from one phone to another. This is very useful for sharing large photo or video files without sacrificing their quality.
If you frequently share large files, it’s a good idea to create a shortcut for them. Use the Share Shortcut in Google Files to quickly access the sharing menu in the app. Do note that you need the Nearby Sharing feature on both phones for it to work.
8. Shortening messages via Google Messages
You can set a message shortcut for your favorite contacts using the Google Messages app. However, just like Google Phone, the app does not allow you to set a direct message shortcut for any contact you want. But you can still use the Google Contacts Direct Message tool to achieve the same result.
9. Youtube Shortcut Subscriptions
With the “Subscriptions” shortcut by YouTube, you can quickly view all the new videos posted by the YouTube channels you have subscribed to. This is a great way to stop watching irrelevant videos that YouTube suggests and go straight to videos from creators you know you love.
If you’re a creative yourself and want to quickly shoot small clips (for TikTok or Instagram Reels, perhaps), you can put a selfie camera shortcut on your home screen as well.
Home screen shortcuts do more for less
Home screen shortcuts are underestimated. Unlike widgets that can sometimes take up a large portion of your home screen, shortcuts use only one tile and can perform a variety of functions – allowing you to fit more of them into a limited space.
The Google app shortcuts we mentioned above are great examples of this. With them, you can skip the hassle of having to open the app and navigate through its user interface, and do your routine tasks more quickly with just one click, increasing productivity and convenience.