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Action Launcher and Nova Launcher take different approaches to Adaptive Icons

With their most recent versions, popular third-party launchers Action Launcher and Nova Launcher are approaching the implementation of Google's Adaptive Icons in different ways.

Nova Launcher's latest beta offers users the opportunity to dynamically reshape existing icons, which doesn't always work out but looks great a lot of the time. The upside? No custom icon pack necessary.

Action Launcher's latest version does the opposite, launching a paid icon pack called AdaptivePack (opens in new tab) that promises to build a bevy of Adaptive Icon-supported icons for popular apps. To his credit, developer Chris Lacy promises near-weekly icon updates through the app's request feature, which should plug some of the holes in the initial release.

Both solutions allow users on older versions of Android — Lollipop and above — to take advantage of one of Oreo's most popular, and divisive, user-facing features. It also allows the few number of Pixel and Nexus users on Oreo an opportunity to fill in the gaps where developers have not yet turned to updating their icons for the new shapes.

Which implementation do you prefer?

What are Adaptive Icons and why do I want them?

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

15 Comments
  • Nova approach is most appealing to me. Playing till you break it with no reigns. As it's on my S7edge it's great as is and I suspect the developers to still update when it matters. I trust this as I customise a look and feel that works. A as my new daily driver is a Samsung Note 8, I have not felt the need for a second skin application as it is as it stands lightning fast and more than clean enough with loads of themes as well to keep metre me happy as well.
  • *Metre = me
  • Paid without hesitation. I've been using Pix It and a few others for years, but they do grow stale after a while. I like the idea of icons changing slightly over time and possibly animating. The resolution is clear. I hope Chris sticks with the update schedule. As for the price. It's a bit up there, but I've been a an Action Launcher user and supporter for years as well and am happy to throw him some money.
  • Nova's is better since it is more economical and does not need a separate companion app to work.
  • Nova does it better just because it doesn't need a separate app. I wonder why Chris Lacy opted to go that route.
  • $$$$$$
  • Nothing wrong with that
  • No sir!!!
  • Both launchers want to fill holes in your Position drawer. Nova's mask just does it better.
  • I love Nova and I've been using adoptive icons just for a couple days and I totally with you.
  • Prefer Nova approach. I enabled adaptive icons support but without forcing it on legacy icons. That way I can see which developers added needed stuff for their apps.
  • I've tried a few launchers, Nova and Action being my 2 favorites. I always return to Nova. Now seeing this new adaptive icon pack for $3.49+, I'll stick to Nova. I have no problem supporting developers, but even high quality games are only a couple bucks. Little pricey for an Icon Pack.
  • Steelicons.
  • Well I'd certainly prefer my launcher to have the built in ability to reskin icons itself rather than having to pay for some third party app to do it that's for sure. But if the Oreo OS will do it itself is there much of a point considering how many of us use custom icon packs already we've downloaded from the Store? They already look uniform if you're using all your icons from one pack and does anyone really care about the particular shape? I've had Android for years - through six phones back to 2010 - and I've never had one person remark about my icons - which pack they're from, their color, their shape...
  • Adaptive Icons are still a mess. Until Google enforces app developers to create a mask for their icons (something like unabling posting app updates until they include the feature), app icons won't have a consistent look.