DRAFT VERSION – TO BE COMPLETED
Microsoft announced that Windows 10 Mobile will stop being supported in December 2019.
In a previous post I showed how the user interface of every Android smartphone can be modified simply changing its launcher.
In particular, choosing one of the many launchers that give a Windows 10 like UI, I highlighted that you can get a UI very close to the Windows 10 Mobile one.
In particular, my choice fell on Square Home launcher because it seemed to be the most promising in order to personalize the start/home page as I did in my “old” Lumia 950 XL, so having more features on tiles than simply having shortcuts to some apps.
Unfortunately, officially there is no user manual for Square Home launcher app, even though you can use the Quick setup wizard function that can help a lot in setting at first the homepage you like. That will be only the first step because, I am sure, you will improve your homepage more and more as soon as you will discover all the features provided (some not so obvious) …
Moreover, you can select the option Show suggestions again [IT: Mostra di nuovo suggerimenti] in the Functions & UI [IT: Funzionamento & UI] section of Home options [IT: Opzioni Home]. If set, the launcher will display some suggestions when you are configuring it: try it … you can always switch it on/off whenever you want!
- How to add a new page?
- How to remove “+” tile?
- Columns of tile are too few, how can I make it 4 columns?
- Stuck to “portrait” orientation on my tablet!
- The margins are too big on my tablet. How to reduce it?
- “Blank” and “Divider” widget is not fully transparent!
- How can I add 3rd party widgets onto the home?
- How to make tile show some notification or count?
- My photo slide widget does not show the photos in SD-card
- I want to make a full image stuck on the tile without switching the small app icon
- Why are the permissions required so much?
- Is there any way to reduce used RAM?
- How to backup current page layouts and settings?
- How to make the app drawer sorted always by name?
- How the themes for Square Home can be applied?
- I cannot uninstall it. How?
- How to hide apps and show them back?
- It seems to consume a lot of battery
- How to reset the password?
Moreover, in that site you can find also some pages that give some useful information on the following specific topics:
- Some Tips for the App Drawer
- Easy & Powerful Launcher for your Android
- Adaptive Tile Colors to the Wallpaper
There are also already some video on YouTube showing how this launcher works and can be set (e.g. SquareHome 2 Launcher – A Windows look on Android) but usually they refers to previous versions and, moreover, they do not show only few features!
Therefore, in this post I will give some further information based on my personal experience using Home Square launcher: in the near future I will publish a video too to better show the following ticks & tips.
Finally, if you will have still doubts, you can always email the developer, Young Keun Chi and you’ll receive always an answer from him in few hours … as it happened to me whenever I contacted him. This is the support that everyone hopes to receive when using an app and that can make you decide your purchase it even though only a few advanced features are not available forever in the free version: note that some of them are only aesthetic (e.g.the display of tiles in relief) but others are more substantial (e.g. some widgets, like Calendar one, do not completely work anymore).
After this trial period, if you want to maintain all the available premium features, you should buy Square Home Key app: installing that other app it just unlocks those premium features in the already installed Square Home app where, if the trial period ended, they are not working anymore. At first, I found strange this way of unlocking, that is an alternative to have two different apps (one free and one fee premium). However, the developer explained me that there are several other apps working like that (e.g. Nova launcher and its key app Nova Launcher Prime) because that way user side there are the following advantages:
- A user doesn’t need to migrate to the paid app when he decide to buy it.
- There were some old versions of Square Home as different apps (currently removed from the Play Store) and all those different versions could be unlocked by this one key app.
However there could be in-app purchases and, in general, I think there is not the need to have different apps for every new release (and then possibly have to remove the previous one) but it should be sufficient an update the existing app in the Store: anyway, as a developer, well I know that further possible way to let premium feature again! Note that, in the case of Square Home, the app name include a number that is in some way associated with the version (i.e. Square Home 3, Square Home 2) … so I think that the developer is willing to change the app name at any main release of this app.
The key currently costs 4,29€ that can be considered too much by someone, as some comments in the Play Store say, but I personally think that the development effort for this app has been remarkable and such is the support! Anyway you can choose to get only the free basic features (there are a lot) and anyway the launcher will not bore you with ads, as some other launcher does (e.g. Launcher 10, Win Launcher 2018 – metro look intelligente).
In the following you will find some information and suggestions to improve your Home Square launcher, based on my experience. Most of the tricks will be soon shown live also in a video that I am going to load in YouTube: I think it will be more useful than many words!!
In this post you can find the following tips & tricks :
- How to go in Modify mode for making some change in Square Home pages
- How to set a default phone number (and/or email) for a contact
- How to link a tile to a contact and possibly be able to directly call one of his/her phone number (e.g. possibly the default one)
- How to show in the Apps page all the installed apps in a list (and not only as tiles as it it by default) and the same for the Contacts page
- How to associate a tile to a specific URL so, when pressed, the default browser opens to show that site (or PWA)
- How to have tile notification for new incoming emails only for a specific account among all the registered ones in the associated mail client app
- How to set icons in Metro style (simple, white and self-explanatory)
- How can I set the height of a split component, so that it the associated text is well shown?
- How to backup your Home Square launcher configuration
- How to hide some app
- How to filter apps in app list
- How to filter contacts
- How to let all pages be showed in a circular way
- How to easily delete an installed app
- How to easily change the look of your home pages simply setting the backgroud image and/or trying some different options
- What about the several Square home apps that are listed among the apps?
- What about the options available in the listed apps
- How to set the navigation bar in order it leaves the whole screen available and don’t interfere with the underlaying fields
- Choose the better keyboard for you
1) How to go in Modify mode for making some change in Square Home pages
To configure Square Home app and display its menu items, from whatever page of the launcher (even not the home one if you have set more pages, like Contacts, Apps, ecc …), you have to simply place two fingers on the touchscreen and pinch in.
You can then return in normal view similarly pinching out, in order to make the changes you like in the homepage and associated ones.
The Menu icon on the bottom left is always available and let you change all options available in the Home Square launcher [IT: Opzioni Home] even when the launcher is not in Modify operating mode:
In particular, those are the Home options [IT: Opzioni Home] that allows a fine tuning of the user interface:
To add new tiles and/or new items in some menu, there is the need to set the Home Square launcher in Modify operating mode. This can be done, from whatever page of the launcher (even not the home one if you have set more pages, like Contacts, App drawer, ecc …), clicking the Modify [IT: Modifica] closed padlock icon, available on the bottom-right, that will change its appearance to become an open padlock. In this operating mode, a New Page icon appears in the bottom center and, after pinching out so returning to normal view, let you add new tiles and modify existing ones.
2) How to set a default phone number (and/or email) for a contact
It is possible to set one of the available phone number (and/or email) as the default one.
To set a specific number as the default one, just open a contact page (e.g. choosing it from the contacts list or clicking on a newly created associated tile) then long-press the wanted phone number and, from the popup menu, set it as the default one , i.e. “Set as default” [IT: “Imposta come predefinito“].
In this way, that number will become checked as the preferred one and it will be moved as the first in the list (if it is not already). If a default number is set, it will be automatically called when you long-press that contact from the contact list or a long-pressing feature is activated on a tile associated to it (see next tip).
You can then always cancel the default phone number if you will want to (e.g. so you’re asked which one to choose among the available ones), simply choosing the Delete default [IT: Cancella preferito] option.
Incidentally note that, if more emails are defined for a contact, even in this case it can be defined a default one that will be chosed by default evrytime you ask to write a new email (e.g. from a form).
3) How to link a tile to a contact and possibly be able to directly call one of his/her phone number (e.g. possibly the default one)
You can not only associate a contact to a tile but even give several behaviors to it as the following: if you click on the tile, that contact page is displayed, letting you to choose one of his/her numbers for starting a call, while a direct call is started using one of his/her number (possibly the one you set as the default one) if you long-press on the tile.
To set those behaviors, as a first step you must add a tile with the picture of the contact. So set the launcher in Modify mode, then click on the “[+]” icon available at the botton, choose the second option “Link” [ITA: “Collegamento“] and finally Contact [IT: Contatto]. Selecting the wanted contact (possibly one with an associated photo), an associated tile is created and, whenever pressed, it will open that contact page.
As a possible further step, you can add another behavior to that tile, that is to start a direct call to a pre-defined number of him/her, just long-pressing that tile. This is the same behavior you have in the built in contacts list page, where a direct call can be started just long-pressing one of the listed names. To set that long-pressing feature on a tile, you have (always when the launcher is in Modify mode) to long-press the tile in order to get some tile setting appears on its summits: choose the bottom-left one with the options icon, then select the second item in the list, i.e. “Action on long-pressing” (IT: “Azione pressione prolungata“), then the third in the popup options, i.e. “Link” [IT: “Collegamento“), then the forth in the list, i.e. “Direct call” [IT: “Chiamata diretta“], then choose again the same contact and finally one of his/her phone numbers.
During the setting of a Direct call behavior, choosing one of those listed numbers let you start a direct call using that selected number. Anyway you can possibly set a specific number as the default one, as described in the previous tip so, in that case, it will be automatically called when the long-pressing feature is activated (it is not shown the list of the available numbers in order to select which one you want to associate).
Note that you may experiment, using the Direct call behavior, a delay in opening a calling page, but this is due to the fact that the Home Square is launching another app so that delay depends on how the phone app is implemented. So, after long-press the tile you could have to wait for a while (e.g. possibly even 3 seconds) before the calling page is displayed: this delay is anyway less than having to open the contact page, click on the number you want to call and then wait for the same calling page be shown …
NOTE – I tried to associate to a tile directly a contact number, so simply clicking on it the call would start (without having to set the long-pressing behavior). However in this way I noticed that there is a high risk to start a call by accident. So I strongly advise against do it even though it could be configured: I undersood why this option was not even foreseen by the Windows 10 Mobile interface! Therefore much better to associate to a tile a single click to open a contact and possibly set the long-press behaviour to start a direct call, if you like …
4) How to show in the Apps page all the installed apps in a list (and not only as tiles as it it by default) and the same for the Contacts page
As it was in Windows 10 Mobile, if you want to have a page showing all the installed apps page in a list (and not only as tiles) you need to set an option available in Menu -> Home options -> App drawer.
The same option is available in Menu -> Home options -> Contacts for setting the view of the Contacts page.
5) How to associate a tile to a specific URL so, when pressed, the default browser opens to show that site (or PWA)
One feature available in Windows 10 Mobile was to create a tile to directly open in the browser a site (or PWA).
Square Home options does not provide directly that feature but you can easily reach the same result in several ways, for example:
- Going into the browser options list and select the proper one (i.e. Add to home page);
- Installing one of the free apps that allows to make a shortcut to an URL and then associate that app to a new created tile, choosing one of the URLs you defined there.
Most browsers (e.g. Edge, Chrome, Internet Samsung) have a proper option to add the displayed URL to the Home page:
For the Internet Samsung browser it is a little bit more complex: you have to go to the bottom-right hamburgher menu, click on the +icon (Add page to [IT: Aggiungi pagiona a]) and finally select Home page [IT: Schermata home]:
In you prefer to use thew second method, that allows also to set possible further parameters, among free apps, for example, I tried Shortcut To URL app in order to register in it specific URLs (e.g. this blog).
After registering the URL, you have to created in Square Home page a new tile, associated to that HTTP Shortcut app and then choose that URL among the listed registered ones.
Finally you can chose a picture (e.g. in my example, my logo) to properly set the icon for that tile that, when clicked, opens the site (e.g. my blog site) in the default browser.
6) How to have tile notification for new incoming emails only for a specific account among all the registered ones in the associated mail client app
Very often it happens to have several email accounts, some more important than others (e.g. family members’ ones, not read frequently by the owners! 😒). Therefore it could be nice to have a tile for each account that notifies only new email coming from a specific account, as it was possible in Windows 10 Mobile with Outlook app. However I experimented that this is not possible in Android, using whatever mail client app, even Outlook one. So let’s see why this happens and how you can overcome this limitation.
In general, when (from the [+] icon) you add a reference to an application, sometimes it does not directly insert a tile to launch that app, but it shows a popup menu that allows to make a further choice. Items available in that menu (other than the first one, that simply launch the app) are called “App shortcuts“ and they comes from the related app, if it foreseen some. Square Home launcher shows them as a menu also when, next the tile is created, you long-press on it. Note that the listed options might dynamically change depending on the app status (e.g. for email client apps, like Gmail, Outlook, Samsung E-mail, if there are new incoming emails, they are listed).
However only some email client apps (e.g. Gmail, E-Mail but not OutlookApp shortcuts when thetileiscreated.) allows to set a tile directly to open a specific email account registered in that app, choosing the related App shortcuts when the tile is created.
However I noticed that with Square Home laucher, if I create a tile (e.g. from Gmail app, but it is the same with whatever other email client app that support that kind of “app shortcuts“) choosing one of the listed specific emails (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) there is no notification of new incoming emails as I expected and I would like. On the contrary, if I create a tail choosing the first choice (i.e. Launch App option), the app status changes but this happens every time it receive a new email from whatever account registered on that client (e.g. from every mail accounts I could have registered in that app). Therefore, for example, having registered both my email and the one of my daughter within Samsung E-mail app, I receive on the tile a new email notification whenever new incoming email arrives (and not only when it arrives to one specific account, as I would like): therefore, there is no way to set which is the “principal” email I only want to get notification from.
So, when with Home Square launcher you add a tile choosing a specific email account (so selecting one specific email and not Launch app [IT: Lancia app], when the tile is created associated to a client app), selecting a specific email app shortcut, the notification does not work because it’s not an app tile. This could be a nice feature to add to that launcher, not so easy to be implemented because of Android O.S. limitations in getting information from the app shortcuts and notifications: anyway I hope the developer will find a way to implement even that nice feature!! 😉
On the contrary, when using Outlook app in Windows 10 Mobile, it was possible to create a shortcut (a tile in the Startup page) linked to a specific email account among the possible several ones defined in that app: on that tile the new email notification was related only that specific email account. On the contrary, in Outlook for Android the notification is launched whatever configured email account receive an email.
For the time being a trick should be found to can overcome this limitation!!
The solution I found to have a tile notify only one email account, was to use more email clients and properly configure each one. For example, I configured in Outlook app all the family email accounts, then Gmail app for my Gmail account and Samsung E-mail for my work account. So now I have three tiles on my home page each one associated to one of those email clients.
In particular, you have to take care that Gmail app, by default, has set all Google accounts registered in the phone (even those I set in other email clients, … and if I delete some of them from Gmail, they are also deleted from the phone and so also from other email clients!!) … so, by default, I should receive on that tile a new email notification from them all. However the solution is to set, in Gmail app settings, Notifications to None for all Gmail accounts other than the one you want to be notified for new incoming emails. With that configuration, even though from Gmail app you could navigate from the upper right menu to all Gmail accounts registered in the phone (but usually you will not, because you use another email client for those others, in order to have a separate tile notification), you will receive notifications for the only one you left ON the Settings -> Notifications management -> Show notifications [IT: Impostazioni -> Gestione delle notifiche -> Mostra notifiche].
As a final note, I remind that for all email accounts (even the only tile notified one) you can set the sound notification to null, if you like: I personally hate to hear so many sound notification from my phone so I enabled sound notification only for incoming Whatsapp and SMS messages.
7) How to set icons in Metro style (simple, white and self-explanatory)
By default, when you create a tile, the icon of the related application is placed inside it, so usually it is a complicated and colorful one, definitely not in the Metro style!
If you like, as I do the Metro paradigm (now it is used to call it Modern IU or MDLMicrosoft Design Language … but the concept is the same!), you can change the icon of tiles one by one or even all together choosing the image from one of the available/installed icon packs. The default one is the Application embedded one.
My preferred icons are those availabel in the Whicons – White icon pack because they are the most similar to the native Windows 10 Mobile ones. Metro Icon Pack / Theme could be another option. It should be really nice if Microsoft would publish in the Play Store an Icon Pack with all its Metro style icons!! Anyway there are several icon packs available in the Play Store that can be installed in order to be used: some can be directly downloaded even from the Download button available in the Icon pack section of Square Home options.
However, if you easily want to set all the environment to chose by default the most proper icon from a specific icon pack, you can select the icon pack you want in the Menu -> Home options -> Icon style -> Icon pack [IT: Menu -> Opzioni Home -> Stile icona -> Icon pack]. In this way you can change, in few seconds, all icons of tiles you have already set in the Home page.
A new folder is created inside that folder [IT: Cartella] filtering page:
Inside that folder, clicking the [V] tile, you can select whatever apps you want to add inside it: a green check bullet is shown for each selected app:
In the same way you can configure several folders and then exit from the Modify mode to have the [V] icon disappear:
To add a new category, you have to click on New category here [IT: Nuova categoria qui] item and insert the new category name (e.g. TIM):
All TIM apps are then selented to be labeled in that category:
12) How to filter contacts
To filter contacts in the Contacts page you can use the bottom-right list icon that let you not only add a new contact but also set some filtering options like show only favorites ones or of a specific group.
13) How to let all pages be showed in a circular way
By default, when a further page is created, to reach it you have to swipe on the right or on the left of the homepage.
I find better to have all created pages (e.g. Home page, Contact page, Apps page, selection of apps page, multimedia apps page) reachable swiping on whatever direction, letting be the swiping circular.
The option to be set is Menu -> Home Options -> Operation & UI -> Infinite scrolling[IT: Menu -> Opzioni home -> Funzionamento & UI -> Scorrimento infinito] and it works only if the tablet options is disabled.
14) How to easily delete an installed app
Instead of going in the smartphone Settings -> Applications section, select the app you want to uninstall to see its information pageand then click on the Uninstall button available there, Square Home allows you to reach the same result in a few click.
It is sufficient to go to the app list page, long-click on the wanted app and then select the upper-right trash icon.
15) How to easily change the look of your home pages simply setting the backgroud image and/or trying some different options
Periodically you can easily change the look of your home pages simply changing the background image or choosing different options available in Menu -> Home options -> Tile dimensions & style [IT: Dimensione & stile mattonelle].
In the following I show how my homepage look changes simply changing the background image:
Note that the image must be chosen appropriately, that is should be both uniform, to let the text be easy readable, and mostly light or dark, in order to set the font color appropriately: the example with a picture of flowers shows how that image is not the best one to be used as background.
There is a specific item to set the image, going to Menu -> System background [IT: Sfondo di sistema], but I think it is not the best rocedure to follow.
Therefore, if you like to have different images for them, as I like, the best procedure I tested is to go to picture you like, click on the upper right three dots to have the options showsn, then select the Set as background [IT: Imposta come sfondo] option. Then you can decide, in the next configuration page, if to set that image only as home background, only as lock screen or as both.
Furthermore, you can change the look of your home pages also changing some options in n Menu -> Home options -> Tile dimensions & style [IT: Dimensione & stile mattonelle] like the tile effects section ones.
16) What about the several Square home apps that are listed among the apps?
I noticed that now there are 3 app related to Square Home: one is related to the key one but what about other two? The one with small TV icon is for TV box: just turn off TV apps in the app drawer options to remove it.
17) What about the options available in the listed apps
I added in the Game Launcher app handled app list, one related to a Home launcher in order to record how it works. However, once I record the screen, the background image I choose for that launcher is not seen and it is black …
Is there anyway the Game Launcher really record the effective screen you see on the device?
Moreover I used to use the Game Launcher to add record features (I’d like to record some features for the tutorial), and it worked registering the Sqaure Home app before I bought the SquareHome Key: now it is listed as a possible app only the Square Home Key app and selecting it the record feature is not added anymore when using the Square Home Launcher functions: any idea how could do to overcoming event this little problem?
I don’t think the key causes the issue for Game launcher. You could simply test it by uninstalling the key.
Before I installed the Square Home Key app I had listed, among the app to be handled by the Game Launcher, the Squared Home app and, select it, I had the record icon at right in the toolbar. Now, after having installed the Home Key app, there is no more the Squared Home app in the list but only the Squared Home Key one and, selecting it, the record feature is not available any more … ???!! Some suggestion? Otherwise, I will use some recording app but it is a pity …
Further note: I noticed that now the tiles related to a direct contact phone number, have a big delay to react to a touch (sometime about 3 seconds before the calling page is displayed!) Once they were much quicker! Should it be related to the fact that now my home page has more tiles, some squared ones, some widgets … perhaps not because the Squared Home key installed that add a further delay? I did some improvement of the interface just after buying the key so now I have this doubt … and I would like to get the reaction also of this tails as it was before 🙂 What I should change (no squared tile, no more than n tile, no some kind of widget – I used the calendar one and the weather one)?
I attach some screenshots of my chosen interface so you can see its complexity and possibly suggest what I could change to have the contact direct call work quickly (as before)
– I have no idea about it because I have no device with Samsung Game launcher.
All installed apps should be listed in Game launcher?
I supposed to but after installing the Square Home Key app, the Square Home app is listed no more!!?? Do you have any idea why … may be the Square Home key app is the running one as seen by the OS and no more the Square Home app?
Basically, Square Home key does nothing. It cannot be a reason of any kind of issue you are experiencing.
Just an update on what I said about the no more capability, after having installed the Square Home Key app, to let the Samsung Game Launcher app select Square Home app to record the video screen. It was not true but I was took in error by the fact that the Game Launcher list the available apps showing not Square Home but as Opzioni home (in Italian Opzioni means options) while Square Home Key is listed with the same English name so I did not find it because I expected neat that new on app with a similar name!! … even though ones selected Opzioni home, it is then listed (among the chosen games) as Square Home!!! … may be you give the app an Italian translation only for Square Home and not for Square Home Key. If so, Opzioni home is not really a good translation of Square Home: literally would be “Casa quadrata” or “Casa con riquadri” or ” Home con riquadri” … but much better lo leave the English name Square Home !!! 😉
So now I am able to use the Samsung embedded recorder facility again even for Square Home app 🙂 !
But there are 2 activities from Square Home: “Square Home” and “Home options”.
so, at least after installing the Square Home Key app, only the Optioni Home activity is shown together with the Square Home Key one, no more or never the Square Home one, … however selecting even only the Opzioni Home among the listed app in Game laucher Samsing app, the record function is acyivated (even though the backgroud image I chose is not didplayed and it is black). So finally I am going to use Mobizen to record some phases of the configuration
18) How to set the navigation bar in order it leaves the whole screen available and don’t interfere with the underlaying fields
A generic suggestion, that specificately has nothing to do with Square Home, is to set in you smartphone the navigation bar in order it leaves the whole screen available and don’t interfere with the underlaying fields. This can be done by most manufacturer UI settings pages that, as I said before, do not change choosing a custom launcher. In the following I show the Samsung way, that allows to have simply 3 lines (one for each navigation button) at the very bottom of the screen, not at all intrusive: you need to swipe up to have the associated action taken (e.g. show running apps, go home, go back).
19) Choose the better keyboard for you
Another generic suggestion, that specificately has nothing to do with Square Home, is to choose the better keyboard for you, that implies to try the many available. They are all different and I think is a very personal choice. For example I choose the following one where capitalization is also evident because of the color and allows even voice insertions:
… but, I repeat, the choice is a very personal one so I suggesto you toi try more options available and do not necessarely leave the manufacturer default one.
There are already some video on YouTube showing how this launcher work and can be set (e.g. SquareHome 2 Launcher – A Windows look on Android) but usually are about previous versions and cannot show all features!
- Windows Central – How to make your Android phone look like a Windows phone
- Launcher 10 brings a dash of Windows Phone to Android (24/1/2018)
- SquareHome 2 is a Windows phone-like Android launcher you’ll love (9/2/2018)
- Computer Launcher (like Win 10 PC interface)
- Launcher 8 (like Windows Phone 8 interface)
- Win 10 Launcher (a mixture of Windows 10 PC and Windows Phone – can be used on an Android tablet too)
- Square launcher Home 10 (like Windows Phone, easy to use and friendly)
- Square HomePhone (simplest, one of the lightest windows launcher)