Main interface


October 20, 2021

The main interface, also called the main screen or the start screen, is the mobile operating system or computer program on the main screen. The home screen is not exactly the same, because users can rearrange the icons according to their preferences, and the home screen is usually different on different mobile operating systems. Almost every smartphone has some form of home screen that usually displays applications , Links to settings and notifications.

Common Features

The home screen usually consists of application links or shortcuts, which can usually be arranged on multiple pages and serve as the main method for users to access phone functions. The home screen also tends to include a docking bar at the edge of the screen, where application links can be stored and accessed from any page on the home screen. Most operating systems allow users to add folders to the home screen to further organize application links. Some home screens may also contain a pane that displays push notifications, or can access selected system settings. In addition to application links, many home screens can also display environmental information, such as live tiles on Windows Phone or widgets on Android. These tiles or widgets may be linked to the application, but they are different from traditional links because they display current dynamic information instead of static icons. However, the increased relevance of information may come at the cost of device battery life, bandwidth, and ease of identification provided by static application icons.

Optional home screen

Although most home screens have a similar structure, not all screens are the same. Two notable examples of less common home screen paradigms include Siri and WebOS. The former is Apple's natural language user interface, and its functions are similar to the more traditional home screen, such as opening applications, displaying relevant data and managing phone settings. The latter is known for using fully dynamic application icons that mimic the current state of the application, similar to task managers on other mobile operating systems. Although most mobile operating systems include a default home screen, some devices also allow users to replace the local home screen with a different application or a third-party home screen, thereby allowing other home screens to be used differently.


One of the first examples of the main screen can be found on the PalmPilot launched in 1997. Early home screens are generally less customized than current iterations. For example, early versions of iOS did not allow users to rearrange apps on the home screen or change the background image. Because the home screen is often used as the main method of interacting with the mobile operating system, they tend to slowly change in operating system updates.

See also

Mobile operating system Smartphone front page Main interface comparison


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