Android 4.4 KitKat home screens

The launcher — the app that controls how your home screens look and act — arguably is the most important part of an Android smartphone. And from the earliest devices, we've seen manufacturers and app developers diverge from Google's solution and roll their own interpretations. (To varying degrees of success, for sure.)

In Android 4.4 KitKat, Google changed things up once more adding a couple of simple but much-needed features — the ability to add home screens, and the ability to rearrange your home screens.

Oh, Google Now is still attached to the far left — that's not going anywhere anytime soon, probably. But these new additions are welcomed, and easy to get used to.

We've got your primer videos after the break.

How to add more home screens in Android 4.4 KitKat

How to rearran​ge home screens in Android 4.4 KitKat

 
There are 52 comments

arjen82 says:

Love that Google has finally added the feature to add/remove home screens at will

MUFColin says:

I wish we could have larger grid sizes with the launcher

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If you change the LCD_density in the build prop you can increase the grid. I have a nexus 4 and set the density to 240, I now have a 5 x 6 grid size. It makes the icons a little smaller too, looks a lot better.

Edit...the only thing is that when you go from any app to the homescreen, the keyboard pops up for some reason. So that's not a very good way to increase grid size. Maybe Nova will update their launcher for KitKat soon.

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Halofury says:

Nice

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ztaccardi says:

can you remove a homescreen page with the Google Experience launcher?

Once you remove all the apps from a homescreen, the homescreen disappears.

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Jonneh says:

So does this mean we can no longer have blank homescreens (just one to view your background image in its entirety, for example?)

floriyann says:

Yes, any it is really annoying!! Hopefully nova launcher will fix that soon! Tchhrrr i really hate that pseudo feature!

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Jonneh says:

That's a shame. I'm sure Nova or one of the many other launchers will update for 4.4 soon. They're usually pretty quick about that stuff. I was contemplating only using the GE Launcher and forgetting 3rd parties, but, while vastly improved, the GE launcher still lacks the full-fledged features of 3rd party offerings it seems (from the videos I've seen).

Actually you're wrong. I know this post is two weeks old but felt compelled to reply anyways.

How to fix this.

1. Add a full screen widget to the far right screen. I did a calculator widget I downloaded.

2. Add another full screen widget to the right of that. I did the Calendar widget.

3. Now, go to the first full screen widget (the calculator in my instance), press, hold, and move it to the right. It should hover over the second full screen widget (the calendar in my case). Go to the right again, and it'll create a new page. Drop the widget there.

Voila. The screen where the old widget used to be will now be empty.

Of course, it is kind of strangely placed, but hey it's something!

technomom says:

This was the showstopper for me. I always keep one fully blank screen. It works nicely for live wallpapers.

Also, the lack of wraparound for the pages. Worse, if you try to wraparound by right swiping the first/Google Now page, you'll accidentally delete one of your Google Now cards!

Thanks, but no thanks. I get that it's a nice starter package for beginners, but not for me. Too much of a step-down from Nova.

MarkSeven says:

Agreed. I still want my homescreen to be the middle one of 5 screens, not the far left one. It just makes more sense to me that way. I want Google Now to stay where it was (swiping up from the Home button).

I completely agree with this. I haven't used a 3rd party launcher since 2.3 but if Google is going to force Google Now onto a home screen with out the ability to turn that "feature" off, I guess I'm going to have to get another launcher. I use Google Now all the time so I don't want to turn it completely off. Kinda sucks.

Tim Peterson says:

Press and hold a blank part of the launcher. This will bring up a white launcher config type display. Go to the screen you want as home screen and highlight the home icon above it. This feature was probably added after your comment.

qwick says:

Isn't there an app you can download or shortcut with a blank or fully transparent icon?

If not there should be and I bet will be very soon.

Jonneh says:

Sounds perfect. Will have to look into that when my Nexus 5 arrives tomorrow.

Daijoki says:

Yes! I created an invisible widget (a link to the clock app) on the home screen. This makes the home screen look empty except for the Google bar and dock. I can now put my apps folders to the right of the home screen rather than be forced to put them on the home screen. .

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.bii.android.app.dskvzr

Daijoki says:

Yes. With an invisible widget, you now have a "blank" homescreen:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.bii.android.app.dskvzr

Daijoki says:

Yes. With an invisible widget, you now have a "blank" homescreen:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.bii.android.app.dskvzr

Daijoki says:

Yes! I created an invisible widget (a link to the clock app) on the home screen. This makes the home screen look empty except for the Google bar and dock. I can now put my apps folders to the right of the home screen rather than be forced to put them on the home screen. .

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.bii.android.app.dskvzr

leobloom says:

That annoyed me, so the way I sorted it was to use Simple Text widgets. I go to the add widgets option, select simple text (I use 2x2) hold and drag to a new home screen and use a blank square png file as the icon, I then choose an action, you can select none if you wish but I set it to launch the play store, hit ok and now you have a blank home screen to show off the wallpaper with a hidden icon.

regression says:

Can you backup your home screens?

radiosmith01 says:

After adding the additional home screens, are you able to change/define the default?

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The default is 3 screens, with the leftmost one being Google Now. Screens disappear when they're empty, and show up when you drag icons over to expand them. You don't set a default manually.

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radiosmith01 says:

sorry Andrew my comment wasn't clear, by "default" I was referring to the screen which the home button brings you to (after adding or removing home screens based on how you described).

In 4.3 with the standard 5 screens the home button defaults to the 3rd/centre. With Action Launcher you're able to change this "default" screen to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.

In 4.4 now that you can edit the amount I've been curious if Google included this as an option, or how it determines which screen should be the "default" once you add an ever increasing amount.

Either way thanks for responding,

cheers.

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hmmm says:

If it is like the Motorola blur launcher, which it seems to be modeled after, I would say no you will not be able to do that. I hope I am wrong though since I don't like Google now.

DirkBelig says:

This is exactly my concern as well. I don't want KitKat to be dumbed down to mimic iOS where swiping left gets you to search/Google Now. I want it like I was able to with my Galaxy S II and OG EVO 4G before that and arrange my screens and eliminate extras and define what "Home" is.

On my Nexus 4 I have:
1. 4x1 widgets for my media players
2. Assorted less-used apps
3. (middle default) time/weather widget, to do list, folders with main apps - this is home base for me
4. Folder of system app tweakers, YouTube widget
5. 4x4 Twitter widget

I'm no more than two swipes from home to my apps and I can swipe up for Google Now. I don't need to have my general customizability wrecked because Google wants to make Google Now where iPhone users can find it. Let Apple follow Google, not the other way around.

radiosmith01 says:

yes. customization is always a plus.

I suppose what I'm most curious about is when Phil (as he demoed in the first video) has 8+ screens, will the "home/default" screen remain as #2 (immediately right of Google Now)?

Seems like a lot of tedious scrolling if that's the case.

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itpromike says:

So essentially they made it so you add home screens the same way you do in iOS... at least you can rearrange them though which is no easy task on iOS.

Sweeet1102 says:

what program is used to record the screen?

Built into Kit Kat somewhere now, I believe.

Gekko says:

edit - forget it - i see Dobie is doing a piece on Launchers.

newboyx says:

I am a little embarrassed with how long it took me to figure out how to add an additional screen.

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outlooker says:

Will the Nexus 4 get this?

Yes

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mpinter says:

Looks like Duarte is bringing more of his WebOS goodness to Android. As a former Palm Pre owner, I'm glad to see more of that coming in. Up next (I hope) the ability to swipe out messages/threads in Hangouts to delete.

DirkBelig says:

Former Pre owner here, too. My friend was showing me iOS7 and how you fling apps off the multitask switcher to close them and I said, "My Pre had that in 2009. Welcome to 2009, pal."

Boy, Palm really pooped the bed with WebOS and the Pre. Some of the worst ads in history (creepy Borg Queen chick) leading to a brilliant OS placed on some rather dodgy hardware meant the baby was strangled in its crib. Pathetic.

mintvilla says:

The only thing i dont like, or at least to me its not obvious, is if you have a full screen of icons and widgets and you want to add a widget, or change the wall paper, you cant as theres no empty space to long press on?? you have to add an icon to make the extra page so that you can put the widget on

mikegehl says:

Try long pressing the dots (that indicate which homescreen you're on).

Cubfan says:

Can't wait for Nova to be updated to have 4.4 functionality. Don't think I can live with the stock launcher for long, but need it to be able to say "OK Google" and swipe to Google Now.

MarkSeven says:

+1

hmmm says:

Can you make the default home screen something different so when I push the home button it takes me to a different home screen than the one next to google now? If not I cannot believe they made the Stock launcher more like the motoblur launcher. Who wants to flip through 5 screens to get to the last one?

I would hate to have asymmetrical looking dots on the bottom when I push the home button. I like an equal number of dots to the left and right of my default homescreen but if you cannot change the default homescreen I guess I'll have to use a custom launcher for the first time.

BigVDawgy says:

Agreed. My most used apps and widgets are to the right and left of my start home screen. Changing that really screws things up.

I'm okay with adding new features but give us some flexibility. I use Google Now just fine by swiping from the bottom.

Probably done more for HTC One users and those vendors that insist on having physical buttons making it so their users can't figure out how to open Now.

chandlerweb says:

Does anyone know how to add a 4x4 widget? As soon as I clear the icons on the screen to free up space, that home screen disappears.

JQ_kitsune says:

I like the Google Now homescreen where its at, keep the "home/main" screen for widgets/apps/folders,wallpaper, etc. I wish a swipe to the right had a google+ page, a "people" page, etc rather than 4x4 widgets. thats just me though.

21stNow says:

At first I wondered if I was resistant to change, as I don't like this new launcher. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is getting away from what we come to pure Google/Nexus for: the lack of all this restrictive stuff that keeps you from doing what you want with your phone.

How did Google go the HTC One route and decide which homepage should always be to the left? Hello, Google! HTC's sales are not that great. Please don't imitate them, and least of all Sense, in what you do with Android.

Now I have to use a launcher to "un-Googlize" a Nexus device. What is the phone world coming to?

How come do you have for icons on the same row in the menu? Mine are so big, and I can't fit more than 4...Is there any possibility to decrease the size without having to root?

LunaticoCR says:

This is not working for me! I'm not sure what I could be missing. I have an LG Nexus 4 and it's running stock 4.4, received the update a couple of weeks ago. And I actually did a factory reset yesterday, so the phone is fairly clean.

When I long-press on my home screen what I get is a menu with "Choose wallpaper from" and then a few options like ES File Explorer, Gallery, Live Wallpaper, Photos, Wallpaper.

What am I doing wrong?

thattallguy says:

Did you ever find a fix for this? I have the exact same issue but I have a Google Play Edition S4.

Pimpleskin says:

I have the same issue on my new Moto G which I purchased today. I'm running 4.4.2

sunnygym says:

I can't seems to add anymore pages on main screen
It just doest do anything..please help I tried using the video technique but it doest work with my moto x KitKat 4.4.2 please help

Hi,

Im unable to add home pages in my KARBONN TITANIUM OCTANE PLUS. i have just followed the video guide but unable to do it.

request your support to do it

Antony