Samsung Galaxy S5

Largely all is well, until you enter ultra power saving mode

Here's a quick word of caution to anyone sideloading the Google Now Launcher onto their new Samsung Galaxy S5. Largely Google's own KitKat launcher works faultlessly on Samsung's latest Android handset. It's smooth, it's snappy, and it's a great option even if the Galaxy S5 isn't officially supported. But you do run into some issues when you switch in and out of ultra power saving mode.

For whatever reason, when we've gone into the ultra power saving mode on the Galaxy S5, coming back out of it has removed all customizations we've made to the launcher. All that has been left is the Phone app and a Google folder containing three app shortcuts. So if ultra power saving is something you're going to be using a lot, take note. And remember that the Google Now Launcher isn't officially supposed to be on the Galaxy S5 right now.

That said, everything else seems to be working just fine. If you've already sideloaded it and have noticed any other quirks, be sure to drop them into the comments below.


Reader comments

A word of caution on using the Google Now Launcher on the Samsung Galaxy S5


This type of post is just as annoying as the typical "First" comments. If you don't have a (insert topic phone) then don't leave negative feedback pointing out (insert preference) is better, common etiquette.

I love my Nexus 5 but I have to agree with the other commentors
This adds nothing to the discussion, and it's not really anyone's fault
Samsung or Google as this launcher isn't supported on the S5, it can only be side loaded.

While the Google now launcher is good, and I used it for quite awhile.
Since I don't really use google now, I prefer the customization abilities of Nova

Yeah I noticed that the other day. Touchwiz is pretty decent so I don't have the need for Google now launcher

Posted via Android Central App

I'm running the stock launcher on my G2. I don't have an S5, but I felt compelled to make some sort of comment anyway.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

Ugh. You sheep will eat anything that Quaker puts in front of you. Cream of wheat is much more delicious, but you'd know that if you were able to think for yourselves.

Gotta keep continuity.

I like words like continuity. Words are good. Especially words like "oatmeal" and "useless information".

What a nice community we have confirming that we have commented on other peoples comments. I bet other forums don't have this

Posted via Stock Nexus 4*

I don't really see the attraction to GEL. It's rudimentary at best, folder management is non-existent, folder size is limited, and the icons look HUGE with no way to scale them down. Seriously the ONLY advantage being that it will respond to "O.k. google" commands from the launcher.

I'm curious why Nova and Apex launchers don't yet have support for that in their persistent search bar.

I love the bigger icons! Before there was so much empty space, looks much better now I think...

Posted via Android Central App

Just a note, you can increase the icon size to 130% with Nova Launcher.
Accomplishes the same effect while keeping the customization abilities of Nova.
I really like the new icon size too, but Google Now was a little to limiting for my tastes
I like customization :)

Not to mention that TouchWiz responds to 'ok Google' on the home screen too on the s5.

Posted via Android Central App

Some of us use Google Now a lot, and it loads much faster swiping right on GNL than the traditional app. Some of us use our phones out of necessity, and simplicity and efficiency take precedence over copious amounts of customisation.

And others of us use Xposed GEL settings to get the best of both worlds.

Some of us like and enjoy GEL, the larger icons look great on my N10. I do however switch back and forth between this and Nova Launcher.

Posted via Android Central App

I love how Google Now get transparent bars when I use GNL as my default launcher. When you switch, they become black. Nit-picking level is over the calculating limit.

You can get the APK's for it over at XDA. They should work on most Android devices. Worked fine on my HTC One M7 and M8.

I have no complaints about the new TouchWiz on my GS5..I think its fantastic and it really has improved over the GS4 & Note 3.

Posted via Android Central App

I do like the Google Now Launcher on my Nexus 5, but can't go wrong with Nova... The ability to hide apps (Without needing to Root and install Xposed comes in handy.. Plus the icons :) Unlimited possibilities

Does the clock widget pictured in the image above come standard on the S5? or can it be downloaded?

I'm shocked, not one peep from the #oatmealknights .

Posted from the (4.2 updated) redheaded stepchild of the Nexii

I have the default launcher on my S4. is there any others that are good? I tried Windows 8 launcher which was terrible. i then tried ios 7 launcher was mediocre at best. looking for some good ideas her

The free version (Nova) is fully functional. There are extra customization settings you get with the premium key. Download the free version and check it out. Nova is one of the best launchers out there.

Personally, I use Action Launcher now on my phone, just because I'm hooked on the slide-out app drawer, but I ran Nova on all my devices for years. Still run Nova on my tablet.

Agreed. Played with Go Launcher for a while, but it seemed extra heavy on system resources for some reason. Personal favorites are Nova and Action Launcher.

Did you forget the /s (sarcasm) switch? Why would you hate Samsung because Google's launcher doesn't work properly on a device that they have told you that it probably doesn't work properly on?

Is there another benefit with the Google Now Launcher aside from swiping left to bring up Google Now? I tried it on my S3 and the speed of getting to Google Now was only marginally faster. I never bothered putting it on my S4 because it offered ME no benefit.

Just a cleaner interface, and stock Android experience.

Of course, that may or may not appeal to you.

We're reached a point where manufacturer skins are getting cleaner and looking more sophisticated. However, they are still sticking to the old mantra in telecom that different is better because its different. I don't mind Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, etc., having a unique take on Android. But, changing things simply for the sake of changing things is rarely a positive. It reminds me of boards of non-profits who are insistent on "leaving their mark", even if it is some shit idea.

I'd love to see Android and their OEMs get to a point where there is a choice of themes to download. If I buy a Samsung GS5, I can choose between the Touchwiz theme or the stock Android theme. If I want the Google keyboard, Google camera, Google Calendar, Google dialer, Google Now launcher, I can just install it as a pack and get rid of the Touchwiz equivalents. I'd even love to see the ability to convert to stock Android notifications bar icons and settings menu.

Make all of that a one stop download and install, and give the mass user (non-Android Central, non-tech-inclined) to make the switch easily.

I see this a lot, both here and in forums, but there's more to it than people seem to realize. "TouchWiz" is more than *just* a launcher. The name covers all the changes that Samsung makes "beneath the hood" to Android as well. A lot of those changes are going to require special "hooks" that don't exist in the stock Android Launcher of other apps. Sometimes, replacing the launcher, or keyboard, or whatever has more to do with just making it "look" different (although I'm sure there is some attempt at branding going on, too).

I have to give Google/Samsung/HTC credit for acknowledging that some people want this by coming out with the Google Experience phones. I don't think we will ever get to a point where it's just some switch you can turn on and off. Too much underlying code is changed for it to be that simple.

Action Launcher Pro

Posted via Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy Express i437p on AT&T's 4G LTE Network

Isn't side loading apps that don't belong to the phone anyway an unsupported process? So why is android central warning users who have side loaded it how to use it more effectively even though its not designed for the phone and if you want that feature then you'll have to move to a Google play device? I hate it when people bundle phone features together and complain how they don't work with everything on the phone..... Its not designed too, get over it

Posted via Stock Nexus 4*

Who cares if it's a unsupported process, it's just a warning because a lot of android central users side load the Google Now Launcher.
Loading APK's on devices that don't natively support the device is of course unsupported, but lot's of users here do unsupported things with their android devices, seems silly not to mention it, there is no blame in this article.
Side loading APK's is the least of the unsupported activities that a lot of android central readers do lol.


"Side loading APK's is the least of the unsupported activities that a lot of android central readers do lol."
+5 lol

I'd like to hear more input of the usage and any issues seen on the ultimate power saving mode. It's the one feature I'm greatly interested in that gets omitted or glossed over in most reviews. It's because of the built in delay of enabling and disabling this feature that I've almost decided to purchase the M8 over the S5. I'd like to hear more about its usage and limitation, or other possible issues. The HTC extreme power saving mode is straightforward and works near instantly. I know this feature allows additional apps and even browser connectivity. However, the information is still very limited on this feature.

Posted via Android Central App

Not sure why I'd want to run the Google Now launcher, on an S5 or anything else. I used it on my rooted S3 for a while, and went back to Nova Prime. It's far better in pretty much every respect.

side loaded to my S5. enable ultra power saving mode. works well, disable it and back to Google now launcher notice that the shortcuts and some page are gone.

I tried google launcher on my Galaxy S5 and it screwed up my home screen and all the rest. I can' t get them back to the way they were unless I start over from scratch.

I tried Google Now launcher on my Samsung s5 for about 5 days. At least twice daily, many of my home page icons completely vanished. Just disappeared. I'd drag them back from the full apps menu and then Google Now launcher would kill them again. And again. Back to TouchWiz. This tool is the buggiest one Google has ever released.

I know this is about the S5 but was wondering if anyone noticed this same issue on the galaxy tab s 10.5. I was using the google now launcher then i activated powering saving mode, when i turned it off i noticed my customizations were gone and my dock was gone.

I have uninstalled and re-installed the now launcher and the dock still isnt back. I then tried to clear the app cache but still nothing. Got me wondering if i actually had a dock in the first place.

NONE OF THIS APPLIES as of April 2015. The Google Now launcher page in the Play store says it's supported on all devices with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or later. I've installed it on a new S5 directly from the store: no need for sideloading. It works fine, including going into and out of ultra power saving mode. What's more the page in the Play store says it's installed and compatible with the device. All of which is excellent: I get the same Android experience as I had on my old Nexus 5 but on a better phone.

This page is linked from all over, but it's out of date.