Mobility

How to turn your Android wallpaper into a news source

If you're tired of the same old boring Android wallpaper, Jack Wallen found an app that'll spice up your home screen with imagery as well as news.

tapdeckhero.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

We have become a society of 24/7 news junkies. If you want your news front and center, TapDeck turns your mobile device's wallpaper into a discovery feed. With this unique app you can follow feeds (from various categories, collections, companies, users, and websites), set up how often the feed changes, use gestures to interact with the wallpaper, and more.

Let's install and set up TapDeck so you can get your Android device's homescreen news feed started.

SEE: Android N goes beta and here's what's new (ZDNet)

Installing TapDeck

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    Open the Google Play Store on your device.
  2. Search for tapdeck.
  3. Locate and tap the entry by TapTap Mobile UG.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Read the permissions listing carefully.
  6. If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept.
  7. Allow the installation to complete.

Once TapDeck is installed, tap the launcher in either the App Drawer or on the home screen to fire it up. When TapDeck opens, you'll be required to either sign in with a TapDeck account, with a social account (such as Facebook), or with your Google account.

After signing in, you'll be greeted by a welcome screen — swipe through and learn the ins and outs of TapDeck, as well as set up how often the wallpaper is automatically changed and select your gestures. During this welcome, you will be prompted to give TapDeck permission to draw over the home screen. To do this tap GO TO SETTINGS when prompted and then tap the OFF/ON slider until it is in the ON position (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

Enabling the draw over feature on a Verizon-branded LG G3.

Once you've finished the welcome, go through the various categories to select the content you want to include (through topics, collections, and/or users), and you are ready to start using TapDeck.

Gestures

There are two gestures associated with TapDeck:

  • Swipe down on an empty space to change the current wallpaper
  • Swipe up on an empty space to see the information for the wallpaper

When you swipe up, a new overlay will appear (Figure B) where you can get more information about the image — Retap (to curate a collection of articles), Drop (share) the article via TapDeck followers or to Facebook, or Share the article through the built-in Android sharing system.

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

Getting information about the current wallpaper.

Working with your home screen launcher

If TapDeck doesn't work with your current home screen launcher, the developers have taken that into consideration. Within the Settings (open TapDeck, swipe right from the left edge, and tap Settings from the sidebar), you'll find an option called Harmony Mode (Figure C). If the TapDeck gestures don't seem to be working with your home screen launcher (for instance, the LG G3 home screen launcher doesn't work with the TapDeck gestures out of the box), enable this feature and it will, most likely, work fine.

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen

Enabling the Harmony Mode feature so TapDeck will work with the LG G3.

At this point, you should be working with TapDeck like a pro.

For those that want a little variety

If you get tired of looking at a pretty picture as your wallpaper, TapDeck is a great way to not only get a bit of variety on your device, but turn that wallpaper into a source of news or education.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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