Adding a bookmark to an Android Home screen

It’s easy to add a link to a URL to the home screen on the iPhone. When you’re looking at a web page, just hit “+” and select “Add to Home Screen”. On Android it’s slightly more involved:

  • Bookmark the page you want to add to a home screen
  • Go to the home screen you want to add the link to
  • long-press in an empty space to bring up the “Add to Home Screen” menu
  • select “Shortcuts”
  • select “Bookmark”
  • choose your bookmark!

The icon you get will be the standard bookmark image with a small overlay of the site’s favicon. If the site provides <link rel="apple-touch-icon-precomposed" href="blah" /> in the <head> then that will be used in preference. Both the iPhone and Android support the apple-touch-icon-precomposed link rel-type so it’s the preferred way of setting a custom icon for your webpage.

Update: I should mention that the resolution of the image you link to shouldn’t be too important but that the Android Icon Guidelines say it should be a 48×48 transparent PNG. I ignored that and used an icon I had lying around that was 256×256 and the OS scaled it just fine. Google themselves use this technique and their image is 57×57. You can find lots of good, free icons for your apps on Smashing Magazine.

Update 2: As rblon says in the comments, there is another way of doing this:

  1. Bookmark the page you want to add to a Home screen
  2. Open the browser “bookmarks” screen
  3. Long-press the bookmark you want
  4. Select “Add to Home screen”


52 thoughts on “Adding a bookmark to an Android Home screen

  1. An other way of doing it is:
    – long press on a bookmark
    – select “Add shortcut to Home”
    I don’t get it to work though (ie I only get the bookmark image with small favicon in the bottom left). Testing with Android 2.1, while it does work on the iPhone.

  2. Damn! It doesn’t work for me (Android on HTC Desire) and Ive tried the ‘apple-touch-icon-precomposed’ on its own AND with the ‘apple-touch-icon-precomposed’ (declared before and after) for the glossy icon on iPhone…
    Maybe the type of PNG (8 or 24) might mess it up… I’ll try again

  3. Yeah, its pretty ugly in HTC sense with the favicon in the bookmark icon. Its quite a poor UI compared to the iOS’s approach where that “bookmark” on the home screen looks and behaves like a native app whereas in HTC sense its just a shortcut to firing up the browser with the link opened.

    • Is that quite right? If the site uses the correct HTML then Android will use the same icon that iOS uses. I was also under the impression that it just opened in a standalone mobile Safari window, rather than actually behaving like a mobile app, but don’t have my Touch at hand to test!

  4. Is there any way to replace the standard default icon (or the default icon with small overlay) with a proper, customized icon?

    For instance, if I’d much rather have the proper Euronews logo of a white circle on a black field on my home than a generic white star over a red field (especially when I have a dozen other icons of the same star on a red field).

  5. Thx for the site, it’s a lifesaver! One question about this topic tho – of course it only works for the default browser – any ideas how to do it for something like Dolphin?

  6. I’m trying to essentially use the bookmark like an app. Click the icon on the homepage, and it’ll load the relevant site. It’s a little less smooth than a well-made app, but for news sites (which 90% of my bookmarks are), I’d need connectivity whether it’s a bookmark or an app, so no real advantage to an app as far as I can see.

    But I’m using it on Dolphin. And the icons are either a red flag with a white star on them. or else the same flag with a very tiny inset of the proper logo (maybe 1/15th the size of the flag). Perhaps it would be different if I were using safari.

    Either way, I’m slightly disappointed that my android won’t allow me to manually change the logo (or so I think?). I’m also a little annoyed that if I put the bookmarks into folders, I can’t readily rearrange them. If I want to make the 20th bookmark the third, I’d better take all my bookmarks out and put them back in (and even then, it seems to put apps before bookmarks, even if that’s not the order you prefer).

    To date, this is my only gripe about my Android – that and they haven’t worked out media streaming with netflix on all devices. A mild annoyance, but still annoying enough I’m spending time trying to fix it.

  7. I, too, would like to be able to have home screen icons that open pages in Opera or Skyfire instead of the default browser. Neither of the methods above will work with Opera. Any ideas, anyone?

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  25. Hi everyone,

    First off, thanks Phil for the guide. However I thought I might update it a bit on how to add a bookmark to the home screen on Android 4.0. as the above method won’t work.

    1) Bookmark a page in your browser
    2) Long press on the back arrow on your browser. The History and Bookmarks menu should show up.
    3) Select “Bookmarks”
    4) Long press on the bookmark you want to add to your home screen, and click ‘Add shortcut to Home”

  26. Also for android an easier way:

    1. press the button with squares on the phone.
    2. in the pop-up menu choose “(+) more”
    3. choose “add to home screen”. also it will be added to the bookmarks

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  28. I have an HTC EVO 3D with the new Android “Ice Cream Sandwich” upgrade, and when I went to “add to” to bookmark it I was also given the option of addin it to my “homescreen” at the exact same time. Be sure you have space for it on your home screen–it’s not very difficult regardless. Just use common sense.

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