google tv home screen

The switch from Android TV to Google TV brought a massive change to the home screen experience. The focus is on recommendations and surfacing content from your streaming services. We’ll show you how to customize the home screen on devices like the Chromecast with Google TV.

There are three ways in which we can customize the Google TV home screen experience. First, you can rearrange the order of your apps and games to put your favorites front and center. Second, you can share which streaming services you pay for with Google. Lastly, we can turn off recommendations entirely.

RELATED: How to Get the Google TV UI on Android TV Devices Right Now

Rearrange and Organize Your Favorite Google TV Apps

Your installed apps and games are shown in a row on the “For You” and “Apps” tabs. Only 12 apps and games can be shown without expanding the full list. It’s a good idea to put your favorites at the front of the line.

To rearrange your favorites, navigate to the “Your Apps” row and highlight the app or game you’d like to move. Select “See All” for the full list if your app isn’t showing.

see all apps

Now, hold down the “Select” or “Enter” button on your remote for a few seconds.

highlight the app

A pop-up menu will appear with a few options, select “Move.”

select move

You can now use the D-pad on your remote to move the app shortcut left or right. Move it left to bring it to the front of the list.

move the app in the row

When the app shortcut is in the spot you want, click the “Select” or “Enter” button on your remote to confirm. You will still be in app rearrangement mode. Select another app to move it, or tap the “Back” button on your remote to finish.

app arrangement mode

If you’re moving apps from the full app list, keep in mind that the highlighted rows indicate the apps and games that will appear without selecting “See All.”

first two rows

Get Better Movie and TV Show Recommendations on Google TV

The recommendations on the Google TV home screen take a few things into account. First, the services you selected when setting up the device for the first time. Second, the movies and TV shows you’ve added to your Watchlist and rated. Lastly, Google’s suggestions that you can’t control.

To make changes to the services you’re subscribed to, go to the “For You” tab at the top of the home screen.

go to the for you tab

Now scroll all the way down to the very bottom of the tab and select “Get Better Recommendations.”

select get better recommendations

You can now toggle the switches on or off for the various services available. Streaming services at the top of the screen are linked to your Google account and can be removed using Google’s webpage.

toggle services on or off

The next thing we can do is add movies and TV shows to your Watchlist and rate titles. Adding content to your Watchlist can be done from a Google Search on any device.

RELATED: How to Add Movies and TV Shows to Your Google Watchlist

To add something to your Watchlist from the Google TV device itself, first, highlight a movie or TV show and hold down the “Select” or “Enter” button on your remote.

highlight show or movie

This will bring up a menu with a few options, one of which is “Add To Watchlist.”

select add to watchlist

In this same menu, you’ll notice options for “Watched It,” “Like,” and “Dislike.” You can use these to tune the recommendations as well.

more options for content

If you do this enough over time, the recommendations will get better.

Enable Apps Only Mode on Google TV

The Google TV home screen is mostly filled with recommendations, but it is possible to turn them off almost completely. The “Apps Only Mode” boils everything down to the Highlights row and the “Your Apps” row.

First, select your profile icon in the top-right corner of the screen.

Select “Settings” from the pop-up menu.

select settings

Next, click “Accounts & Sign In” from the menu.

select accounts and sign in

Select your Google account (the account responsible for the Home screen).

select your google account

Scroll down and toggle the switch on for “Apps Only Mode.”

toggle apps only mode

A confirmation screen will appear to tell you that this mode will hide Google’s recommendations and your ability to use the Watchlist features. You will also not have access to any content you purchased from Google Play Movies or the Google Assistant. Select “Continue” to proceed.

Your Google TV Home screen will now look like this:

apps only mode

While not as customizable as Android TV, the Google TV Home screen has the potential to get better the more you use it. Hopefully, these customization options can help.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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