After spending a better part of a year in beta, Aviate is finally ready to take off the training wheels. It is now available to download for free across the globe from the Google Play Store. If you follow the tech blogosphere, you must have read about Aviate, the contextual information homescreen that moulds itself depending on the time of the day and where you are. It was recently bought by Yahoo.
A major part of Aviate is its contextual information. Much like Google Now, this is the part you have little control over. It will work in the background keeping tabs on your phone and will provide you with new and useful information based on its algorithms.
This guide will focus on understanding and customizing the other part of Aviate. The part you can and should customize to better suit your needs.
How It Works
Aviate (free) brings the same contextual and intelligent information as Cover lockscreen, only to your homescreen instead. Aviate knows what kind of apps and information you need at a given time, whether you’re at home or traveling, if you have earphones plugged in and changes its behavior accordingly.
Aviate has a three pane interface. All the contextual goodliness is limited to the first pane. It will be the default pane when new updates are available. You can switch between the five available presets from the sidebar.
The middle pane is your homescreen. By default it only has a wallpaper and five icons at the bottom of the screen. You can swipe up from the icons to interact with your favorite contacts.
The last pane is the app drawer but not your traditional one. Here your apps are grouped according to categories.
Now that we know what Aviate is and how it works, let’s get started with making it better suited for our needs.
1. Customizing Widget Placement
You can add widgets to the scrollable contextual pane or even the static middle homescreen.
The problem with the static middle homescreen is that it is static. No matter how many widgets you add, it won’t scroll down (ultimately resulting in the mess shown in the screenshots below). The middle screen is a nightmare for widgets so don’t install any there.
The contextual screen will keep changing information but below all that you can add any widget or collections you want. They will show up in all their glory and will be scrollable.
2. Bring In Your Own Icon Packs
Aviate is quite a good looking app. But the stock Android icons don’t really go with Aviate’s modern and edgy looks. Thankfully you can change the icons to anything you want. Aviate supports the usual icon packs you find on the Google Play store, the ones that are compatible with launchers like Nova and Apex.
Open Settings from the sidebar and tap the button that says Set Icon Pack. Any icon pack app that you have downloaded will show up here. You also have an option to get more icon packs from Google Play Store.
3. Organize Your Own Content
As I said, apps in Aviate are grouped in “Collections” of relevant or similar apps. You’ll find collections for Productivity, Utilities, Music, Games and a lot more.
Aviate does not allow you to make your own Collections yet. But the app does have more than a dozen intelligently sorted Collections to offer.
What you can do is move app icons in between them or remove apps from Collections entirely. You can also manually sort the Collections as per your needs.
If you’re not really ready to live in the confines of predefined Collections, what you can do is start adding your 10-20 most use apps to one Collection (doesn’t matter which it is) and pin it at the top.
4. Pin Shortcuts In App Lists
To pin a shortcut tap the Shortcuts button, select the type of shortcut you want, customize it and it will be added.
5. Find More Apps From The Launcher
At the end of every collection you’ll find a light bulb icon that will bring up suggested apps. You can scroll though the recommended apps for a certain category and directly install something if you like.
6. Try The Dark Theme
Lastly, try the dark theme from Settings. It is gorgeous.
Widescreen images and gifs via Yahoo Aviate blog.