Depending on the Android phone you're using, you probably have a love-hate relationship with its home screen (and the way it works). Different manufacturers ship their phones with different user interfaces. And not all of them are intuitive and smooth. This is why we need launchers.
Android launchers not only let you tweak your home screen's appearance but also let you add a few nifty shortcuts. Not to mention the fully customizable gesture-based controls.
However, at the end of the day, not all launchers are built equal. While a few provide an all-in package, others go for a minimal look. So, which ones to choose?
Here, we have put together a list of the top 6 best Android launchers that you should check out right away. Let's see what each of these brings to the table.
1. Action Launcher
Action Launcher is one of the popular launchers in the Android world. The new update not only brings a Pixel-like experience but also has a cool Google Now integration. On top of it, it beautifully blends the customization features such as app shortcuts and gestures.
Launchers that integrate gestures are seen as future-ready and Action Launcher is certainly one of them, considering its swipe gesture that doubles up as a shortcut. This gesture lets you open the primary app of a folder with a tap and then swiping up will reveal the contents of the folder.
Interestingly, this launcher also comes with options for notification dots and you'd be greeted by an information-oriented home screen similar to that of Android Oreo. So, if your phone manufacturer still hasn't pushed out the Android O update, you can have a taste of it through this launcher.
What's more, you can also bring your screen alive with an animated clock. Also, the app drawer on the left keeps your apps handy. Action Launcher is available for free on the Play Store, however, for some features you'd have to upgrade to the pro version.
If you look around, you'd see that most of the launchers usually revolve around home screen tweaks and customization. However, AIO Launcher stands out from this crowd with its unique appearance. Gone are the fancy icon packs and animations. Instead, you'd be greeted by an information-oriented home screen.
AIO Launcher will greet you with an information-oriented home screen
The home screen will have your frequently used apps at the top along with unread text messages and frequent contacts. Time and weather information, alarms and RAM monitoring are given the top-most priority while a quick downward scroll will reveal your emails, call-log, and your news feed.
Nevertheless, if you want to search for an app manually, there's a nifty process on hand. Tap on the search icon and type the first two-three letters of your query and everything from contacts to apps will be loaded instantly.
AIO Launcher is apt for someone who is looking to have almost everything at the tip of the finger. With minimal distraction and a no-nonsense approach, this app is worth every penny.
Not too long ago, ADW Launcher was a popular name in the Android community. However, its popularity waned with time as the support for the app gradually diminished. Come 2016, and the makers launched ADW Launcher version 2 and since then, thankfully, it has seen regular updates.
This new iteration brings a plethora of configuration options. The interface is fluid and unlike other launchers, it also lets you download a couple of themes for free.
The highlight of ADW Launcher 2 is that it lets you travel down the nostalgia path with its quirky Android Marshmallow and KitKat themes. Other than that, you can have a number of features such as gestures for free, unlike other apps which ask for a paid upgrade.
If you are paranoid about organizing stuff into neat little folders (don't ask how many of these I have on my home screen), then the EverythingMe Launcher is your best bet. It's a contextual launcher which neatly arranges all your apps, contacts and preferences into Smart Folders.
The gesture support is the cherry on top. A double tap will launch the camera by default while a swipe down will open the Quick Search feature.
This launcher neatly arranges all your apps, contacts and preferences into Smart Folders
There's also the provision for Quick Contacts and as expected it'll fetch your frequent contacts all on its own — no setup required at all. Furthermore, the Quick Search feature will let you search for apps (and contacts) both within the phone and on the web. Two shots for the price of one, if you ask me.
EverythingMe Launcher gets better with time and the more you use it, the more accurate it becomes.
Microsoft Launcher, previously known as Arrow Launcher, is the perfect one for you if you like to keep things minimal. Though the app is awesome on its own, the best features are hidden in the Beta program.
One of the highlights of this app is the gesture support. So, everyday things like notification expansion or locking your phone can be replaced with these gestures.
No best launchers list is complete without a mention of Nova Launcher. With its immense customization hacks and timely updates, it's no wonder that this launcher has been an all-time favorite. If you haven't used this app before, I reckon that you give it a shot and see what all the hullabaloo is all about.
First and foremost, it lets you adopt any style you want for your home screen and app drawer — whether it's a neat professional look or a slightly cluttered look with folder shortcuts.
Secondly, it's lightweight and has a ton of customization hacks. From cool app shortcuts and icon packs to a range of customizable gestures — it has them all.
What's noteworthy about this app is that the updates are mostly instantaneous. As soon as a new feature is introduced, the same would make its way to the app.
Nova Launcher is free to install from the Play Store but you'd have to upgrade to Nova Launcher Prime for features such as gestures and hidden folders.
It's true that the default launcher carries plenty of features. But, at the end of the day, I tend to get bored of the default launchers pretty quickly. Not to mention that you have to wait a long time for updates or new features.
These third-party launchers can overcome such limitations. Not only will you be able to enhance your Android experience but you might be able to skyrocket your productivity too. Win-win, if you ask me.
Did we miss any of your favorite launchers on this list? Do drop us a line or two in the comments below.