A New User’s Guide to Android

xiprox @ xda-developers.com | http://forum.xda-developers.com/member.php?u=4526435


-Google Accounts
-Importing Contacts
-Audio System
-File System
-Apps & Games (sd data of some games, app data, etc.)
-USB Debugging
-Developer Options
-Ringtones, Notifications and Alarms (how to add your own to be displayed in Settings->Sound)




When you get your android phone and turn it on for the first time its most likely going to make you go through a bunch of steps
in order to set your phone up. The very first thing it will ask you will be your Google Account (Gmail). This obviously shows that G Accounts
are important. Well, you’ll ask why.

Everything of yours in that phone will be saved in your G Account. Your contacts, list of the apps you have installed, your Google
Calendar events, Browser data, Photos, Music, etc, etc.. Once you create a contact in the Phone app it will save it in the google account
and synchronise it as connects to the internet. Next time you get a new phone or have to reset your phone to factory settings you’ll automatically
get your contacts restored, your apps visible in Play Store, your calendar entries restored, etc…



There are several ways of restoring contacts these are:

1. Setting up your Google Account which has your contacts pre-synchronized.
2. Manually Uploading your .vcf file to Gmail’s Contacts section.
2. Copying your .vcf file to your sdcard and importing using People app
3. Copying your contacts in your old phone to your SIM card and vise-versa on your Android phone.

1. Setting up your Google Account which has your contacts pre-synchronized

This is the easiest way but unless you have your contacts already synchronized to your Gmail this won’t do the trick. What I mean is if you’re not coming from another android phone than you most probably wont have them in your Gmail. You can try the next options.

Restoring this way is very simple. All you need to do is to go to Settings app -> Accounts -> Add Account -> Google. And set your account up. Then make your you enable synchronization of Contacts. Your Contacts should be displayed in the contacts app.

2. Manually Uploading your .vcf file to Gmal’s Contacts section

On your computer’s browser go to http://www.gmail.com. Find the dropdown menu that has the “Gmail” text, click and select Contacts.

There go to ‘More’ and select ‘Import’ Simply chose the .vcf file and click ‘Import’.

Now, switch to your phone and add your Google Account that you just imported the contacts in. You can find information on this in the first method above.


3. Copying your .vcf file to your sdcard and importing using Phone App

Connect your phone to your PC and transfer to your sdcard. I suggest you name the file something unique so that it’s easy to identify while importing. If you are sure you have no more than one vcf file than it’s all right.
Now switch to your phone and open up the phone app. There touch the menu button (  ,  ,  )

select “Import/Export”.  Then “Import from storage”


It is going to search for a Vcard file. When it comes up with the one you want just select and import.


4. Copying your contacts in your old phone to your SIM card and vise-versa on your Android phone

After you get your contacts copied to your SIM card insert it to your Android phone and open up Phone app. Go to menu and touch “Import/Export “ there select “Import from SIM card“. Let it search for a while…





According to Wikipedia;

Data synchronization refers to the idea of keeping multiple copies of a dataset in coherence with one another, or to maintain data integrity.

“Synchronization“ simply means to keep a clone of the current data by passing
changes on one side to the other.

There are many areas where synchronization comes in in Android. First of
them is Contacts, then Apps, then Calendar, then Pictures, and so on. While these
are stuff maintained by the system in other to prevent you from loosing your
data, other apps might be able to synchronize data too. Evernote for instance, is
a note app which synchronizes your notes with its cloud storage…



You most probably remember the old phones and Operating systems where there was only one sound volume for ringtones, music, sms altogether… In android this is different. You have many different sound volumes for different things.

These sound volumes are:

-Media Volume (music, video, games, etc.)
-Ringtone Volume
-Notification Volume (sms, e-mail, alerts, app notifications, etc.)
-Alarm Volume
NOTE: In some cases Ringtone and Notification Volumes might be linked.


In Android the Home Screen is called “The Launcher“. It’s said that most customizable part of Android is the Launcher. You can
put lots of different widgets including different types of clocks. Some people use text widgets for various designs, etc.
The Launcher can be replaced with third-party ones. There are many alternative launchers out there such as Apex Launcher,
Nova Launcher, Holo Launcher, Go Launcher, Next Launcher, SPB Shell, ADW Launcher and many many more. Each of them bring more
features and customization…


Android’s file system can be accessed easily. However some part of it cannot be viewed unless superuser (root) rights. For further
information about root please check it’s page.

When you install a ‘File Explorer’ app it’ll most likely start at /sdcard directory (your sd card). When you touch the up button (In
my case, using Solid Explorer I had to click Jump->Device->System root) you’ll see that there are many more directories…

Here is what I have:


contains apps installed in the phone memory, their data (your progress in a game for instance), system settings,
etc. Basically your data since the time you got the phone or reset it to factory settings (except the ones
you deleted of course). You cannot see them without root permissions.
is obviously your sd card. This can be thought like a shortcut to your real sd card. The sd card for me (Galaxy
Nexus) is actually at /storage/emulated/0.
all system files are stored there. You can see them but can’t edit.




.apk files are the application packages. They contain the code, icon, ui elements, etc. of the app. Think of them as executables (.exe) in windows. They are simple .zip pakages. They can be opened with any archive viewer.


There are millions of games and apps out there. In Android you’ll mostly be able to install apps from the Play Store. However sometimes there might be apps that need some specific ‘sd files’.
A while ago my friend came to me with such questions like: What’s that .apk file I saw when I was looking for fifa 2012 on google? And also something called sd files, what’s that? Which one should I download? One is 20mb the other 1.3Gb? They are the actual game. In Modern Combat 4 for instance these sd data could be maps, sound effects, models, textures, etc.. It is more convenient to have these files put on the sdcard separately than having to download a game of 2GB directly from play store. And what if it fails downloading at 99.9%? Would you want to download 2GB file once again? Of course not. In the case of Modern Combat 4 the apk file has the code in it which then loads the files in the sd card, the ‘sd files‘ and shows them to you…


Sometimes you will want to pull out an apk file of an app. To share a game with friends perhaps. Or to modify something in it. Or to pull a wallpaper from a launcher for instance. To be able to do these you obviously need the location of the apk file.

System apps can be found at /system/app
Apps in the internal storage at /data/app [root required]
Apps’ data at /data/data [root required]
Apps on the sd card /mnt/asec
Apps’ data on the sdcard /mnt/asec




USB Debugging is used by developers mostly for debugging purposes at it can be understood from its name. It could be used
for various other functions such as taking a screenshot using your computer, usb tethering, file pushing/pulling using adb, cracking the
lock pattern/pin, changing phone settings remotely from your computer with root access… It’s not needed for daily use but it’s good to
know what it is. There are times we all need USB Debugging…  



Developer Options are obviously mostly for developers. There is nothing too dangerous but if you don’t know what they are you
better don’t mess around. However, some of those options are for everyone. Pointer location, USB debugging, Show touches, Show layout
bounds, Animation scales…


There are two places where ringtones are stored. In the system and in the sd card.

Ringtones in system /system/media/audio/ringtones
Notifications in system /system/media/audio/notifications
Alarms in system /system/media/audio/alarms
Remember: You can only pull from system unless you have root permissions

Ringtones in sd card /sdcard/media/ringtones
Notifications in sdcard /sdcard/media/notifications
Alarms in sd card /sdcard/media/alarms
NOTE: These folders might not exist you might have to create them yourself.


Simply copy the audio file to /sdcard/media/ringtone. Or if it is a notification then to /