Wordle beginner’s guide: From novice to expert in an afternoon

Jan 27, 2023

Even after Wordle came out of the oven hot in 2022, you still can’t escape Wordle posts going into 2023; sharing and discussing daily puzzle results online has become part of millions of players’ everyday routines. Once you’ve got a hot streak going, it is tough to stop. But given the widespread nature of Wordle, you’d think it would have had a standalone Android app by now, but it doesn’t. In fact, to play Wordle, you either install a progressive web app obtained directly from The New York Times website or throttle your way through the slightly intrusive New York Times Crossword app. Fortunately, if you choose the progressive web app route, it’ll still offer a seamless app-like experience on your Android device, and it doesn’t even need the best Android phone to operate. But to make the experience a breeze for everyone, we’ll walk you through how to set up and install the Wordle app, highlight customization options to enhance your app experience, and introduce how to play and maneuver through everyone’s favorite word game, Wordle.


Getting started with Wordle

You can freely start playing Wordle from any web page, but you may desire an app-like experience while on the go. Even though a native app doesn’t exist for Wordle (beware of copycats), the next best option is pinning the progressive web app to your home screen. Otherwise, if you’re already playing Wordle with your New York Times account, you can access Wordle through The New York Times Crossword app, but still, the most direct route for playing Wordle is through the progressive web app, which we will walk you through how to install below.

How to install Wordle on your Android phone

Warning: If you’ve been playing elsewhere, such as a different mobile web browser and/or other devices, to preserve your streaks, sign up/log in to your New York Times account.

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Navigate to Wordle’s homepage https://www.nytimes.com/games/wordle/index.html.
  3. Click the three vertical dots in the upper right to access the overflow menu.

  4. Tap on Add to Home screen > Add.
  5. Tap Add again in the secondary pop-up to finish; Wordle is now on your home screen.

How to access Wordle on The New York Times Crossword app

Please note that you must have a New York Times account to transfer your results. On the other hand, if you prefer to play without an account while on your device, we recommend sticking to playing Wordle using the progressive web app instead. Registration for The New York Times is free and doesn’t require a premium subscription to access Wordle.

  1. Install and download The New York Times Crossword app from the Google Play Store (see our widget below this section).
  2. Tap Wordle on the home page, then tap Play .

  3. Alternatively, you can sign up with a New York Times account to ensure your results don’t get lost while playing across different devices.

Customizing your Wordle settings

You’ll have a few options to tinker with that may enhance your overall experience playing Wordle. Color-blind players and dark-mode app users will want to enable these options immediately before getting into Wordle.

  1. To access your settings, tap on the gear icon at the top right corner.
  2. A menu will display some options: Hard Mode, Dark Theme, and High Contrast Mode .

  3. To turn on any of these options, tap on the slider until it is highlighted green or orange (for high contrast mode).

Options for improving the Wordle experience

Turning on hard mode forces you to use revealed hints in your subsequent guesses; this will help users structure guesses around the green and yellow letters — no more wasting and repeating letters. Please be aware that re-using a revealed letter in a word isn’t the worst strategy in the world, just not always the most optimal approach, so only turn this on when you need help.

The dark theme inverts the colors found on the app, so if you prefer a darker background with white font, turn that on.

Color-blind players should rejoice. Turning on high contrast mode changes the app’s color scheme, replacing the yellow with blue coloring and replacing the green with orange.

Understanding Wordle’s gameplay

Wordle’s premise is relatively simple: so we’ve summarized the rules for how to play Wordle below.

  1. You’re given six attempts to guess a 5-letter word, with new words to guess every day to replace the previous one.
  2. Each attempt at guessing the word offers hints by the highlighted letter coloring.
  3. If a letter contains a green background, this indicates you guessed the proper letter in the correct spot.
  4. Anything with a yellow background indicates you’ve guessed the correct letter, but it’s in the wrong spot.
  5. In contrast, letters with gray backgrounds are not in the word at all, which means you can skip them in your following guesses.
  6. You only have six turns to gather all your previous clues to figure out the word of the day. If you fail, you lose your win streak — a lot is at stake once you’ve started playing for months!

How to form a strategy for Wordle

Playing Wordle is similar to roleplaying as a word detective. First, you need to do some poking and prodding around until you’ve gathered enough clues. Second, it’s about optimizing your word guesses since these are limited. We recommend having a target (e.g., using up as many vowels) or a learning goal for every attempt. Lastly, it’s about improving your efficiency; you’ll aim to complete the daily challenge as quickly as possible to boost your overall stats (it’s a fun competition, after all). But finding those goals or targets is tough when you need to gain more experience with the game, which is why you may need to read up on the common strategy behind all word attempts while playing Wordle.

How to play Wordle

  1. Navigate to your home screen and open the Wordle web app shortcut.
  2. Wordle’s ruleset box pops up. Once you’ve reviewed the rules, close the ruleset box to get to the gameplay.

  3. A blank 5 x 6 grid is displayed. Each row is where you’ll enter your word, starting at the top. New attempts start in the following row.
  4. Using your keyboard, enter any 5-letter common word and tap Enter . Each letter in your word gets highlighted (green, yellow, and gray) along with the corresponding keys on the keyboard. Use these clues to guess more 5-letter words. Keep the green letters where they are, move the yellow letters to new spots before they turn green, all while avoiding any gray letters. You have a limit of 6 guesses.

  5. If you guess the correct word, the entire row is highlighted green. You’ll see the word ‘impressive’ once you’re done. Congratulations, you’ve solved the daily puzzle!
  6. To play more puzzles, you have to wait for the daily reset, as there is a new puzzle daily. Once you get a streak going, a box keeping track of your stats displays on the screen along with the reset timer.

Important tip while playing Wordle

Remember, Wordle uses common words. So your first guess should include as many common letters as you can fit without obstructing the word (try not to push for plural words); vowels are your best friends at the start. Picking a starting default 5-letter word that hits the criteria helps immensely and builds on your overall strategy. Remember duplicate letter possibilities, but save these until later attempts. And when you’re stuck, open the web browser and consult a word list to help get your gears turning again.

How to share your results online

  1. After solving a word puzzle, you can post your results online by tapping on Share.
  2. Tap on Share to access more options. You can directly choose an app to post your result or copy the text to post anywhere. Your results only show colored boxes – so no worries about potential spoilers or leaking personal data.

  3. Alternatively, you can screenshot and crop your stats box and upload that as an image instead.

Foreseeing Wordle’s legacy

Wordle remains untouched today. The progressive app still operates at full capacity, even with the added support for Wordle within The New York Times Crossword app. And there were many concerns during 2022 behind the New York Times’ acquisition, but thankfully the experience is still the same. The creator planned for the game to shut down in 2027, but there’s always a chance that the acquisition may lead to Wordle having a longer lifespan than initially intended.

After experiencing Wordle, you may be left hungry for more word puzzles and challenges. So you may opt into experiencing Wordle on hard mode, which will definitely have you putting on your thinking cap and get those gears turning.