The launcher is a frequently used application. Mobile phones launched by some companies ship with a launcher loaded with advertisements and features you may never use. The only way you can get rid of the unwanted features and aggressive ads is by switching to one of the 7 great third-party launcher applications I’ve shared below.
Best launchers for Android
The Microsoft Launcher remembers apps you use frequently and displays them at the top of the app drawer. It displays an alphabet index at the right of the screen without taking the number of apps you’ve installed on your device into account.
ML ships with a custom-built icon pack. It can display weather details of your location. It lets users hide apps from the drawer interface and has an option to change the wallpaper from the phone’s home screen.
Microsoft Launcher allows users to disable/enable the personalized feed. The feed has three sections. The 1st section helps users in improving their productivity by making them aware of upcoming meetings and allowing them to create tasks, sticky notes, etc. The 2nd section displays news. Microsoft Launcher displays news published on Microsoft owned websites.
Microsoft Launcher provides a search tool that lets you search the web and find apps by their name. It enables you to change the color theme, customize the search tool, set swipe gestures, customize the drawer, change icon/folder shapes, etc.
CLauncher claims to boost the performance of the phone by 20% by automatically closing applications running in the background. CLauncher lets you classify apps and sort them by their name and installation date.
By default, the size of the icons in CLauncher is large. CLauncher has a built-in browser called ZEN that will display the full story when you tap on a news item displayed in the feed. By default, CL will automatically play videos it displays in the feed. You can disable the auto-play video feature from the feed settings interface. CLauncher lets users subscribe to news published on the world’s leading news sites. The sites in this application are called Channels. CLauncher can blur or automatically change the wallpaper.
Nova is a great launcher application for users that are looking for a customizable launcher without news feed. It prompts you to change the color theme, layout/drawer style when you run it for the first time.
As in Microsoft Launcher, you can change the shape of the icon in Nova. You can also change the size of the icons in Nova. NL can animate the application launching process. It supports 7 app animations. It allows users to change the popup menu style and configure the launcher to display the “Uninstall” option on the drawer, home screen or both the screens when you long-press the app’s icon.
Nova Launcher’s notification bar supports transparency effect. You can configure it to show dark icons instead of light icons on the notification bar. This feature comes in handy when you’re using a light wallpaper.
Nova ships with a smart search tool. When you enter a search phrase in the text box, NL will check if your phone has the app whose name contains the text you’ve entered. If it doesn’t find the app, Nova will display an option to search for the entered phrase in the Google search engine. If you don’t like the background color of the search results interface, you can change it in Nova.
POCO is a default launcher on one of Xiaomi’s best selling phone series known by the same name. 90% of the features of POCO are similar to that of Nova. Xiaomi has made the launcher available for all Android devices by publishing it on the Play Store.
POCO’s drawer interface groups the applications by their category. The drawer interface is divided into several sections. The number of sections depends on the variety of apps you’ve installed. For example, if you haven’t installed a game on your smartphone, the drawer won’t have the games section. You can switch the sections by swiping left or right on the screen.
POCO allows users to make the drawer interface transparent. It supports 3rd party icon packs. It has the option to prevent the icons of certain apps from appearing on the drawer.
Evie provides an option to change the drawer view from list to grid and vice versa. It lets you enable the Evie news feed and hide the search box from the home screen. Evie allows users to adjust the icon size with a slider and hide the icon labels with a toggle button. You can configure Evie to show a dock at the bottom of the screen. The docker will be visible all the time.
The stock Android launcher displays a badge for unread app notifications, emails, etc. Evie supports this feature. Evie Launcher supports two types of drawer index – classic scrollbar and an alphabetical index.
Rootless Pixel Lancher
RPL supports basic customization of the user interface but it is lightweight. The size of this launcher is around 1 megabyte. Rootless Pixel Launcher displays icons in the app drawer in N x 5 grid. As in other launcher apps I’ve shared here, you can’t reduce/increase the grid columns in Rootless Launcher.
RPL’s app drawer supports light, transparent, and dark color schemes. It supports icon customizations. You can change the icon by installing an icon pack. You can also change the icon’s shape. If you’ve installed the Google app and you don’t want to see the application’s icon on the home screen, you can hide it in the Rootless Pixel Launcher.
Lawnchair offers more customization options than the above applications. It is lightweight as well. Lawnchair lets users back up the desktop layout/UI/wallpaper settings, and restore them when required.
Lawnchair 2 enables users to hide/show the voice search button in the search box. It allows you to change the corner radius of the search box. You can configure Lawnchair 2 to hide the search utility on the app drawer interface. Lawnchair lets you change the height of the drawer’s rows. It has the option to change the column count.
Although Lawnchair 2 is a good application, some of its features don’t work. For example, the custom background color setting for the drawer doesn’t work. The option to disable icon labels has no effect.