The Settings are a vital part of your Android experience. They contain everything you need in order to set up and personalize your smartphone according to your preferences. While accessing the Android Settings can be quite intuitive, you might encounter some issues, especially on a new smartphone, with an unfamiliar version of Android. Read this tutorial to learn how to open the Android Settings menu:
NOTE: For this tutorial, we used a Google Pixel 4a with Android 12 and a Samsung Galaxy A51 using Android 11. The procedures are similar on all Android-powered devices, so you should be good to go even if you have a smartphone from Xiaomi, Huawei, Nokia, Asus, or some other manufacturer. If you do not know your Android version, here’s how to check the Android version on your smartphone or tablet.
Even with the same Android version, the user interface is slightly different from one manufacturer to another. But no matter the layout, the one place you’ll always find the Settings in is the All Apps screen. On your Home screen, swipe up or tap on the All apps button, which is available on most Android smartphones, to access the All Apps screen. Once you're on the All Apps screen, scroll down until you get to the Settings app and tap on it. Its icon looks like a cogwheel. This opens the Android Settings menu. Here’s how it looks on the Pixel 4a running Android 12:
On the Samsung A51 running Android 11, the only difference is that, if you can’t find the Settings app on the first page of the All Apps screen, instead of scrolling, you need to swipe left to browse through the apps. However, on brand-new Samsung Galaxy devices, the Settings app is on the first page:
TIP: If you can't find the Settings, you can also type the word "settings" in the search field displayed at the top of the All Apps screen. This applies both to Android 11 and Android 12.
If you need to access the Android Settings often, you can create a shortcut on your smartphone's Home screen. On Android 12, swipe up or tap on the All apps button, and find the Settings app. If you tap and hold on it, then move your finger, you will see the Home screen appear. You can now drag it to an empty space. Lift your finger off the screen to drop the shortcut anywhere you want it. Next time you need to open the Android Settings menu, you can do so by tapping the shortcut on the Home screen.
On Samsung Galaxy devices, the procedure is very similar: here, you also need to open the All apps screen, find the Settings icon, and tap and hold on it. The difference is that you don’t need to move your finger to make the Home screen appear. Just keep holding your finger on the screen. Once the Home screen appears, place the icon where you want it and lift your finger.
On your Android smartphone, the Favorites bar is the bottom section of the Home screen. This section stays on-screen no matter what page of the Home screen you’re on, and you can place several icons in it. Many smartphones already have a Settings shortcut on the Favorites bar. For example, on the Google Pixel 4a with Android 12, you can tap on the icon directly from the Home screen:
On other devices, like the Samsung Galaxy A51 running Android 11, the Settings app is not in the Favorites bar, but you can place a shortcut to it there. First, swipe up or tap on the All apps button. Then, tap and hold on the Settings app. Keep holding it until the Home screen appears, then drag it either to an empty spot or a folder in your Favorites bar.
TIP: To learn more about customizing your Android Home screen, read six ways to personalize the home screen of your Android smartphone or tablet.
You can find a shortcut for the Settings app in the Quick Settings menu. To open the Quick Settings, swipe down from the top side of the screen. On some devices, you get the same result by swiping down from any part of the Home screen. On some Xiaomi smartphones, like the Xiaomi 11T that we reviewed a while ago, by default, you need to pull down from the right part of the screen to access the Control Center (Xiaomi’s version of the Quick Settings).
Depending on your smartphone and the screen you are swiping from, swiping down from the top of the screen opens either the compact or the expanded view of the Quick Settings. On some smartphones, the compact view displays a cogwheel icon that you can use to get to the Android Settings menu. On the Samsung Galaxy A51 running Android 11, the icon is in the upper-right corner of the Quick Settings menu:
If you cannot find the Settings icon in the compact view, swipe down again to access the expanded Quick Settings menu. On the Pixel 4a, the Settings icon is only displayed in the expanded menu.
TIP: You may also want to read about customizing the Quick Settings on Android.
If you like using the Google Assistant, first make sure it is listening by either saying "OK Google" or tapping on the microphone icon in the Search bar on your Home screen. Then, say "settings" to open the Android Settings menu. Here’s how it looks like on the Pixel 4a (left) and the Samsung A51 (right).
We access the Android Settings menu pretty often on our smartphones, so we decided to use the Favorites bar to get to it quicker. However, you may prefer another shortcut for opening it. Before closing this page, tell us how often you access Settings. What do you tweak the most? Which of the methods illustrated above do you prefer? Let us know in a comment below.