Your Android device may come with a standard home screen, layout, and interface based on the phone manufacturer and model, but you’re not stuck with the way it looks or works. You can enhance your Android device with a launcher.
A launcher reimagines the home screen and other screens with a different look, layout, and features you can customize based on your preferences. In the Android world, you’ll find several helpful and effective launchers, most of which will work on Android phones and tablets.
The free Microsoft Launcher is a good choice if you’re a frequent user of Microsoft apps and services such as Windows, Office, OneDrive, Cortana, and Edge. This launcher lets you change your wallpaper to a Bing slideshow, easily download and access Microsoft programs, customize and access a screen of widgets, and view the timeline from your Windows 10 PC.
Situated on the home screen is a Microsoft folder from which you can download and use the apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, and other Microsoft apps and services. Swipe to the right to view the widgets feed where you can add and view your Microsoft calendar, contacts, task list, documents, Sticky Notes, and more.
You can also tap into a full array of settings for the launcher to change the layout and icons on your home screen, edit your widgets feed, customize the app drawer and dock, and tweak the gestures for swiping around the screen.
Nova Launcher provides a clean and friendly look with a range of powerful, flexible features, all of which you can easily customize. You can play with the screen display, the layout, themes, gestures, and other items.
Upon starting Nova the first time, you choose a specific layout, theme, and drawer style, then open the full array of Nova settings. For your home screen and the app drawer, you specify the icon grid and layout, search bar style, scrolling effect, and more. Choose the appearance and style for your folders and icons. You can also define specific gestures and shortcuts, then back up and restore your settings and customizations.
The basic version of Nova is free, though certain features are locked, such as personalized gestures and custom tabs and folders. For $4.99, Nova Launcher Prime unlocks these and other features.
Apex Launcher comes in three different flavors. Apex Launcher – Customize, Secure, and Efficient added features and updates onto the original, but it was negatively received by users.
Since the new version failed to live up to what came before, Apex Launcher Classic was released to bring back the functionality people seem to prefer. A paid version called Apex Launcher Pro unlocks a lot more for $8.99, but the Apex Launcher Classic is a simple and friendly place to start.
Easily manage the app’s features through the menu situated on the home screen, which provides a quick and easy means to customize the screen with apps, widgets, shortcuts, wallpaper, and themes.
There are also specific Apex actions you can add, including an app drawer, status bar, search field, voice search, and screen lock. The Apex Launcher also provides a handy navigation feature that lets you jump to any screen on your phone.
Evie Launcher is a simple Android launcher with just enough features to be satisfying but not overwhelming. As with many launchers, you can jazz up the Home screen with a certain layout, icon size, and search bar from a friendly Settings screen. Choose your own search engine, such as Google, Bing, or even DuckDuckGo. Add a dock to the screen and tweak its size, opacity, and background, and modify the look of your folders and icons.
Next, you can create and customize your own gestures to navigate the screen. And when you’re done, you can back up your screen layout and settings to your Google account if you ever need to restore it or want to apply it to a different device. Sometimes the simpler the app the more effective is it, and that’s the case with Evie.
Action Launcher: Pixel Edition
No, Action Launcher: Pixel Edition isn’t designed just for Pixel phones. Rather, it uses the Pixel Launcher as its baseline and then adds more features and options on top. Right off the bat, you can choose where to place the search box, determine how to open the app drawer, and grant the app access to your wallpapers. From there, Action Launcher provides a helpful welcome screen that explains all the key features.
The app prides itself on being quick, and that is made clear by how many of its features are named. Quicktheme paints your home screen with the right color to match your wallpaper. Quickbar lets you tweak the search box with shortcuts and menus. Quickpage offers you a home screen panel that you can access from any screen. You can also back up all of your customizations to restore them or import them onto another phone.
The free version of Action Launcher is quite capable on its own, but if you want more features, such as adaptive icons and additional search capabilities, grab the Adaptive Pack for $4.99. There’s also a Plus edition with even more features available as an in-app purchase for $6.99.
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