Want to backup and copy the home screen layout for your Android Phone? Samsung patented a solution


Samsung Galaxy S5 hand DSC05788

No major smartphone manufacturer has yet to create a solution for copying home screen setups from one device to another. It’s a feature we’ve been hoping to see in Android from Google’s own ingenuity for quite some time, but someone seems to have beaten them to the punch.

samsung home screen patent

Samsung’s latest patent details a software solution that would allow a user to configure a home-screen and copy it to another remote device. The details in the patent are very specific about the process, but an abstract look at the thing reveals a few different possible scenarios:

  • Upgrading from one Samsung phone to another? The software could ask you if you want all your same apps downloaded and the same home-screen to be setup upon logging in with your Google or Samsung account.
  • Have a different phone in your possession and simply want the same setup? You could do that, too.
  • Need more fine-tune control than a simple copy/paste job? You could set the home-screen up differently than what’s on your current device and push it over to the new device.

Even better is that such a feature is perfect for consumers and businesses alike. Consumers have an easier time moving their preferred home-screen from device to device, while businesses can set their employees up with the most optimal home-screen to help them perform their jobs easier. It’d be a nice edge for Samsung to command in a sector where they want badly to be top dog.

samsung home screen patent flow chart

It’s important we take a step back and recognize that this has been done by independent developers to some degree. Many of the best home-screen replacement apps in Google Play — such as Nova launcher, Apex launcher and more — offer some form of home-screen backup / restore or cloud syncing to appease the crowd that might go through frequent changes (such as those who flash custom ROMs or just like to switch between different home-screen setups on the fly). We’re not sure what it would mean for the future of those apps now that Samsung owns a cold, hard patent.

Even more uncertain is how this might affect the possibility of Google implementing such a feature at the core of Android in the future. Samsung and Google have a wide-ranged patent licensing agreement that lasts 10 years, but it’s possible that this particular patent could be left out of the deal — all the better to give Samsung the competitive edge they need in today’s aggressive mobile battlegrounds.

All that aside, it’s just a really cool idea and we’d love to see how well Samsung could implement it should they look to add this as a standard feature of TouchWiz in one of their future Galaxy smartphones.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I’m no lawyer but wouldn’t the apps that do this count as prior art?

    1. Same thing I was thinking.

    2. Since Samsung has detailed a specific process on how this is done(menus and all), it’s possible that only this specific process is being patented

      1. Exactly.

        Until the retro-lawsuits begin. :D

  2. Seems like a great deployment tool for business. They should create it and sell it, never mind the patent. Very curious if they would develop it for Android, though.

  3. Use Nova. Backup. Copy to computer. Copy to new device. Install Nova. Restore backup. DONE.

    EDIT: Even better – use Titanium Backup.

    1. I do the same with GO Launcher.

    2. Why copy to computer? Why not just backup to and restore from Google Drive? Works fine.

      1. Independent backup you control. You could download it from Google Drive too, if you want, truth be told, but I prefer backups that are under my control.

        1. What do you mean “under your control”? How is saving it to Google Drive different than saving it to a computer? I’m assuming there’s something I’m missing.

          1. No servers shutting down on you or NSA bs etc. Also no Internet access required to access my files.

            I’m kinda paranoid so I prefer external hard drives.

          2. To each their own… but if NSA wanted to get your screen layout (or anything else on your phone), they will. If you suspect that Google Drive can be accessed by the NSA, so can your Phone.

          3. I’d like to see them try to access the external hard drive I plug into my laptop about once a month, haha.

          4. You are either writing data to the drive (from your computer), or reading data from the drive (to your computer). What’s stopping them from reading your computer?
            Not trying to start an argument here – if you feel that your data is private this way, well, ok :)

          5. You have a fair point. In any event I don’t always want to be dependent on Internet access to be able to get to my backups.

          6. Fair enough, and I agree on that part too. Always a good idea to have multiple copies of backups (at least one offline)

    3. Exactly what I do, using Titanium BU. I’ve got over 35 backups too lol…I’m an icon pack junkie.

    4. I copy Nova Backup File to Dropbox. The Cloud Wins.

  4. Ummm… Lollipop does this already no? I factory reset when I upgraded (Nexus 5) and all my applications automatically installed and the shortcuts on my main home screen appeared in the same locations as prior to the reset. I don’t really use widgets, so maybe they don’t restore?

    1. Dunno. That would be cool to investigate.

    2. Widgets don’t get restored (I think they just get placeholders)

  5. Hooray!!!!

    Just what we needed!!!!

    Another new smartphone patent on something that’s already existed!!!

    What could possibly go wrong?

  6. Nova Launcher, Backup and restore to Google Drive. Works great. I used that plus Moto Migrate to go from my Samsung S3 to my Moto X.

  7. I may be missing something, but Apex backs up to the phone storage. ._.

    Also, I used Nova Launcher before and I like its restore process. I’m thinking of switching to it, actually. Nova launcher would have this outline of the widget. This outlined box would be clickable and take you directly to the insert widget page. So convenient. Because I be forgetting how large I make my widgets and what I put where exactly. LoL!!

  8. This has been an iPhone feature since the App Store was launched.

  9. I thought this is what would happen with my LG g3 when I got it replaced and LG ‘s backup and restore software failed miserably and copied nothing. It needs to have a good placeholder solution because android does not like when an app/widget changes too much or is installed in a different location, first instance Pandora last update caused the widget to vanish.

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