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I had recently gifted my Mom a Nexus 7, with a hope that she will like to read books. She is old with poor eye sight and can't read English that great. I find her eager to learn and she had made a good progress in reading few books. Since she is not used to these gadgets, I am trying to keep settings in her tablet constant. Recently I observed that the shortcut in home screen for PDF reader disappeared and resulting in discontinued reading till my arrival. The frequency of this sort of interruption has increased now a days. Rather than finding how the shortcut is being deleted, I think preventing changes to home screen is sensible.

Hence, I would like to know about any means to keep the icons or shortcuts in home screen and in launcher constant, immune to long press and drag and drop operations.

Device info: Nexus 7, running stock 4.2.1, unrooted, but willing to root if required.

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My Mom also has a Nexus 7, and also was puzzled by the home screen suddenly changing. Here's what happened: she acidentally installed some non-standard home screen, and started using it and customizing it. Then one day she accidentally rebooted the tablet into "safe mode", which caused the stock home screen to appear. She didn't realize she was using a different home screen, and wondered where all her cusomizations had gone. –  offby1 Jan 24 '13 at 23:11

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

There's no built-in functionality for this, but there are a handful of third-party launchers that support locking the desktop. Off the top of my head, I know that both Apex Launcher and ADW.Launcher do.

For Apex, simply double tap on an empty space on the home screen and then select "Lock Desktop" to prevent icons from being added or removed.

Apex Launcher screenshot

On ADW.Launcher you should be find a "Lock Desktop" option in the settings, which you can access from the overflow menu in the top right of the app drawer (Apex also has a settings menu there).

Other launchers that have the “Lock Desktop” option:

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