No Android phone is complete without the look from a launcher app, a far cry from the stock Android looks. And among all the Android Launcher apps that I have tried my hands on, I can’t help but love the Nova Launcher. Most of the other launchers too have their features and customization options, but with Nova, it’s a bit different!
Right from the colorful Go Launcher to the organized looks of Arrow Launcher, I have had my share of launchers in my devices. But I keep coming back to Nova, flexibility being the main reason.
Though Nova offers a lot of features in the free version (that are to die for), the prime version’s features rock even more! So, since I’ve been on the Prime version for a while, I thought it’d be worth sharing why I went for it and what I have really liked about it.
Prime Version Features
Gesture support is one of the primary reasons why I opted for the prime version. I can cut short most of my work with just a few swipes. Need to open the camera in the super-resolution mode real quick? No problem, I just need to set one of the swipe actions to open the camera in the super resolution mode.
That’s it, work done real quick!
Another feature which I am fond of are the icon gestures. It is basically doing two different tasks on the same icon.
It can be something simple as opening Google Maps on a single tap while a swipe on the icon can take me directly to the map’s driving page.
Configuring this is a piece of cake: long-press on an app, tap on edit and set the swipe action to on. Choose the shortcut of your choice, and you are set to go. Sweet and simple!
2. Hidden folder
They say old habits die hard, and I am one of the people who holds on to old habits real tight. You must be thinking how it’s related to launchers or even Android. Well, I am an ex-iPhone user, and I liked having the apps on the home screen.
Things evolved, and now I like to keep some of the apps on the home screen, but without the home screen looking messy. That’s where Nova’s hidden folder feature comes in handy.
I placed the regularly used apps in a folder, set the Swipe to open folder option to on and then set the tap action to First item in folder.
So now, I have all my things in one place and that too without cluttering up the home screen. A tap opens up the first app, a swipe up reveals the folder contents. Pretty neat, eh?
3. App Drawer Features
As for the other apps, how about grouping them into tabs in the app drawer? It’d be great to have the apps grouped as per their type – Play, Work, Misc, etc. Nova has the perfect solution for this, as well.
There’ a feature called the Drawer groups in App & Widget settings, team it along with the Tab bar feature, and you have a revamped app drawer, with everything neatly organized.
Cool Tip: Hide the apps that you don’t need on a regular basis, through the Hide apps feature.
Free Version Features
4. Pixel-like App Shortcuts
As opening YouTube and making way to the subscription tab is too mainstream, Nova has the app shortcuts to make up for it.
It’s not available for most of the third party apps, but the ones that I regularly use have this creative feature.
5. Swipe to Drawer Indicator
Another new feature which I absolutely love is the swipe drawer indicator. The app drawer can be accessed right up by a simple tap on the up arrow, saving you a space on the dock for another icon.
The transition is smooth, and the home screen also looks a tad unconventional without the standard app drawer icon.
6. Desktop Lock
This trick is for the ones who are fussy about how the home screen looks (people like me)! I can’t stand to see an app out of place in my neat home screen.
Alas, my husband doesn’t seem to think so. He would sometimes try on a new app and place it right there on the home screen. And that used to irritate me like anything until…
I found the perfect solution within the Nova Advanced settings to lock the desktop or the home screen.
Head over to the Nova Desktop Settings and tap on the Advanced setting at the bottom of the screen. Toggle the Lock Desktop button, to on, and there you go. Now no one will be able to ruin your perfect home screen, including you.
7. Weather Info on the Bar
If you are not a fan of the Pill widget, but like the regular Google search bar, how about revamping it a little? Nova has an experimental feature called Labs, which lets you use certain unsupported features.
Among the many features, one is the weather info in the search bar. Switch it to on, and head over to Desktop Settings >Search bar style and check the box for weather (bottom of the screen).
So there you have it, a slightly different search bar. After all, who likes things that are too mainstream, right?
Cool Tip: To enable the Lab setting, go to the Nova Settings and long-press the volume buttons. Labs would be enabled.
8. The Google Pill
Another crisp feature is the Pixel-inspired Google search Pill widget.
Head over to Nova Settings > Search bar style, and you will findan impressive range of styles available that you can mix and match with the logo style.
9. Folder & Dock Customization
Agreed that some of the other launchers too have good customization scope, but what I love about Nova is that one can customize almost anything ranging from the folder & dock looks to the animation effects.
Whether you want a persistent search bar, or an infinite scrolling throughout the home screens, you can set it all up.
I could go on and on really. Nova is and has been a fantastic launcher since it debuted on the Play Store, and it’s become totally indispensable to me. What about you? Got any Nova tricks up your sleeve? I would love to hear them.