Skip to main content

Ask the AC crew: What launcher do you use and why?

We've talked a good bit about Android launchers recently. We are going to talk even more about them, too. That's because the launcher — the single biggest user-facing portion of the whole interface with the software on your phone — is pretty important. The way you get to the things you want (and need) to do with your phone can make a difference in how, and how often, you're using it, and each and every one of us will do things differently. That's what makes being able to replace the launcher and create your perfect setup is such a great "tool."

We asked you guys and gals which launcher you were using recently, and now it's our turn.

READ NOW: Ask the AC crew: What launcher do you use and why?

Phil Nickinson — Action Launcher 3.5

Action Launcher

I'm on Action Launcher 3.5. I can't quite remember when I finally decided to take the plunge to AL — I think it was when version 2 came out. And I remember it was because there wasn't a single manufacturer launcher (outside of a Nexus phone — and this was before the Google Launcher was a standalone app) that didn't totally jack up the spacing between icons and folders. There were technical reasons for that, but that was enough to drive me to Action Launcher. And I'm damned glad it did. (And I don't even have to adjust the spacing in AL anymore.)

I don't even use the shutters and covers (sorry, Chris!). But I'm a big fan of the Windows Phone-ish side app list — the Quickdrawer. There are so many other options that I don't even touch — I really should explore more.

Download: Action Launcher 3.5 (opens in new tab)

Jerry Hildenbrand — Action Launcher 3.5, for now

Action Launcher

I'm using Action Launcher 3.5, for now.

I had to move away from the Google Now Launcher because I needed to hide applications, and am really digging the new look and Quickbar shortcuts that came with the Action Launcher 3 update. The shutters and folder options allow me to put everything I need on one screen, and the widget "containers" let me put info I need at a glance a swipe away without dedicating another persistent screen. It works for me. I can't say I love the slide out apps list like Phil does, but I can hide bloatware and other apps I'll never use in it. Hiding the clutter is important to me — almost as important as buying phones without it there in the first place.

But I'm torn. I finally took the time to properly set up Nova Launcher after a long hiatus, and am considering a move back on my personal phone. I can set things up almost the same, and have more options. Options are good. Options that let me endlessly fine-tune the size and spacing of icons, and the text underneath them, are even better. There's a good chance the next time I have the need to fiddle with things on my Nexus 6, I'll drop Nova on there and go hog-wild with it.

Alex Dobie — Google Now Launcher

Google Now Launcher

I keep things pretty vanilla on most of the phones I use, mostly because I need to switch phones so often. Right now I'm using the Google Now Launcher on the Nexus 6, partly because it's just what's there, and partly because it does everything it does well enough for my needs. On a Nexus device — or just about any Android phone, actually — the Google Now is fast, clean and simple. I've never been inclined to mess around with borders, icon styles or grid sizes, so Google's Material-influenced launcher suits my needs perfectly.

Having Google Now cards on your home screen is super-convenient too, for reasons we've already explored. Context-sensitive, personalized info is at its best when it's easy to find.

As for home screen layout, I'm down to just three these days. The main screen you seen in the photo above. The second one has a Google Play Music widget, social apps, calendar, photos and the AC app, in addition to a bunch of folders for other frequently-used things. And the third is split between a big Google Calendar widget on one side and a Google Keep widget on the other. That's more or less how I arrange any phone I use, and I find it balances visual clutter and ease of finding stuff pretty well.

Download: Google Now Launcher (opens in new tab)

Andrew Martonik — Google Now Launcher

Google Now Launcher

When I open up a new phone I'm usually interested in giving the stock launcher a chance for a while, but in most cases I end up installing Google Now Launcher to keep things consistent for me across phones. I don't care much for having a ton of customization options, and Google Now Launcher has offered me fantastic performance on every phone I've used it on.

I only use one home screen for my apps and widgets, and having Google Now consistently available just a single swipe away on every phone I use is nice. I also just appreciate the simplicity of the launcher, giving me access to apps, widgets and folders — and that's about it. I don't feel like I need anything more than that on my home screens.

Russell Holly — Comfortable with anything, Nova when needed

Nova Launcher

Launchers in general are kind of pointless to me. I don't usually "move in" to any one phone or tablet so setting it up just right isn't something I enjoy. I switch my daily driver and the list of apps I'm using so frequently that sticking to one almost isn't worth it. I'm usually comfortable with whatever the included launcher is, and rarely bother installing something else.

When I do finally get tired of the included experience, Nova Launcher is usually where I turn. I like the ability to adjust icon sizes, and the ability to set up gestures and shortcuts helps my productivity. Anything that lets me keep a single page with a Google Now Launcher-ish layout and an alphabetically sorted app list is usually good enough for me though.

Download: Nova Launcher (opens in new tab)

Justin Duino — Google Now Launcher

Google Now Launcher

Since I first entered the world of Android, I have been trying to customize my phone to look and feel as much like stock Android as possible. Back when I was still using the Motorola Droid 2 and other devices that were out in 2010, that meant rooting and flashing a ROM onto my devices such as CyanogenMod or Liberty ROM. These days it is much easier to download the Google Now Launcher for a Nexus like experience.

The Google Now Launcher is perfect for me because I don't need or want all of the customizations that are made available in other launchers. The Google Now Launcher cleans up the home screens so that you can customize your phone with widgets made available by application developers. Additionally, it adds the Google Now screen to the left-most home screen, "Ok Google" voice commands, and smart cards that inform you about things from stock prices and sport scores to your contact's birthdays and upcoming appointments.

Basically, if you are tired of your phone's skinned version of Android and want the simplicity of stock Android found on a Nexus device, download the Google Now Launcher from the Google Play Store. The launcher is free, built and updated by Google, and will be the easiest way to make your phone look and feel like how Google intended Android to be.

Ara Wagoner — Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher

I'm on Nova Launcher, and while I should probably be experimenting more — I dip back into Flow Home every now and again to see how they're progressing — Nova is the homescreen I come back to every night. My icons and widgets may have shifted a bit in the last few months, but my folders seldom change, and Nova's mutli-page dock allows me to hide all my folders there and leave the main pages for widgets and gesture space. In the interest of experimentation, I've finally gone from two dock pages to one super-crowded dock page, so we'll see how that shakes out over the next few days.

I use Gestures every day. Swiping my entertainment folder signals Tasker that I'm home. Double-tap opens Play Music — though that might shift to double-tap to sleep after my LG G4 experience — and swipe up will crank up the jams. Double-swipes control my Bluetooth connections. It's a rather complicated setup to most users, and everything's hiding under an emblem, but I love what I've done with it these last three years.

Jared DiPane — Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher

Currently, Nova Launcher has been meeting my needs, but I would be lying if I didn't say that I wished I could bring some Action Launcher features on over. I have been using custom launchers since Launcher Pro was a thing, and most of it was spent with Action Launcher after that. Within the last 6 months I made the move to Nova, and it just stuck.

From the customization of icons, sizing, fonts, and so much more, I can get it just the way I like it. I do wish that I could bring over the search bar options that have since been implemented in Action Launcher, and I really, like really really, miss covers for folders. I am all about keeping it simple and clean, and that helps give me easy access to my most used apps at all times. For now, Nova Launcher wins, though that doesn't mean my mind won't change in the next six months.

Jen Karner — LG's Optimus Launcher

LG Optimus UI Launcher

I actually use the LG default launcher. I've moved from an Optimus Pro G, to a G3, and now a G4, and LG Launcher has definitely come to grow on me over the last few years. It's at least partially because I've never really had the inclination to go and find a launcher that I like, since the default works well enough. I tend to move my icons around fairly regularly, so it just hasn't seemed necessary to grab a launcher to handle things.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I have to agree with the GN picks. I don't care about customization. I just what a clean simple launcher. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And it's extremely powerful. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, I love that one feature it has.
  • Google Now is one of if not the most powerful utility in the tech world right now. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's a bold statement MIC DROP
  • It is LoL Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google Now is the closest thing Android has to a clean iPhone like experience. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I love Nova on my A5. But not even nova can make my Tab 3 a good tablet! Getting the iPad Air 2 next month!
  • That's because you're going from a budget tablet to a high end tablet? You realize that an IPad Air 2 is equivalent to owning the Samsung Tab S 2 right? Working in retail the number one thing that frustrated me was when people bought the equivalent of a Kia expecting it to be a Lamborghini. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lol, i agree Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lolllll Posted via the Android Central App
  • I know the Tab S2 will be great, but I have the Tab 3 10.1 (was not cheap) . I haven't, in almost two years, recieved an update! Still on 4.2.2 (same when I bought it)! I want support for my tablet and I think that Samsung will dissapoint me. Plus the Tab S2 doesn't have a new chip in it, it seems old before it was launched and it has a small battery without having the S6's battery efficient chip! Well i have one month to go then I will make my choice.
  • You can't go far wrong with the iPad Air 2 a very capable tablet, even I have to admit, having used one for about 2 weeks. I was impressed, very impressed but personally could not justify the cost.
    You won't be disappointed
  • I can relate. Having gone through the interminable wait for Lollipop on my Note 3, only to have it still be super "wizzy" on arrival, I don't think I'll get another Samsung. The devices themselves are fantastic! Probably the best out there. But the software support is just unacceptably bad. I have no doubt the high end Samsung tab is a better chunk of chips than the Nexus 9, but after the Note, I'll spring for the Nexus anyway...any day. :-) Actually, as much as I can help it, I'm just gonna stay away from 3rd party Android devices. Google doesn't have a meaningful parallel to the nVidia Shield, nor do they have anything even remotely like JiDe's Remix OS - both things I seriously want to have, so I'm gonna have to go third party there. But any Android phone or tablet I buy going forward will be a Nexus. Period. And should the day ever come where Google makes an "Android Desktop" OS similar to Remix, or a high power set top box a la the Shield...I'll drop JiDe and nVidia like a bad habit! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I tried google now launcher a couple of times on my note 4 but i always change it after a while. First of all the icons are too big for me and second it does have a delay after hitting the app icon before it opens the app. Right now I'm going back and forth between tw and nova. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've both premium versions of Nova and Action... and I really don't care as long as it's simple and clean. It mustn't drain the battery with background tasks that aren't necessary. Right now I'm using the default CyanogenMod 4.4.4 launcher (whatever it's called). As long as Google Voice [OK Google] works, I'm happy. Google Now isn't even installed - I don't need Cards. The most customization has been to add in an Icon pack.
  • when I first saw the preview for Google Now I was so pumped, and thought it was going to almost revolutionize me phone experience. that lasted about a week, and yeah, no use for the cards. at this point I'm all about removing/streamlining instead of adding functions that supposedly enhance my experience or "make life easier." Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think it's called Trebuchet or something
  • surprised to see the text below the icons still there on everybody's phone. granted I have ocd, but that text drives me nuts and when I found out about nova a few years back I was ecstatic to get rid of the unnecessary clutter. I've never considered an iPhone for they one reason alone! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm the same way. I remove the text lables. Makes for a much cleaner experience. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same here. I love the scrolling dock as well. I don't need other pages with that feature in place.
  • Hey, I don't do that on my dock! Then again, my dock is most folders, but some of there are some apps hiding under those Disney emblems, I swear!
  • LoL Posted via the Android Central App
  • Am I correct in seeing that 4 of the AC crew are using the Nexus 6 as a DD and the remainder are using G4s? Just an interesting observation (if I'm seeing this right) from people that could literally choose any flagship they would like to. Miss my N6! Posted via the Android Central App Edit: Just remembered 1 s6 in there.
  • I'm on the Moto X 2014, which I was upgraded to from the Moto X 2013. I used the G4 for about 3 weeks while I wrote the site's how-tos, and then that phone went on to another home. That said, not all of the phones shown in the article are their daily drivers. At least two editors are back on the Moto X 2014 (I think).
  • Exactly. I prefer the Nexus 6 because it only has what I want on it and not what some carrier or manufacturer puts on it. Stock Android (5.1.1.) Is amazing and incredibly smooth. I highly recommend the Nexus 6 to "most" people. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah. Any Android tab or phone I get going forward will be Nexus. Period. I was burned by Samsung during the forever wait for Lollipop which was all monkeyed with by Touchwiz anyway. That's not to say that some of these guys, particularly Samsung, might not offer better hardware than Nexus branded devices, let's be fair...but the Nexus hardware is plenty good, and the software's 100x more important. So yeah, Nexus for me going forward! The ONLY way I'll ever do 3rd party Android ANYTHING ever again is if it's something highly specialized that Google doesn't have a Nexus equivalent for - such as the nVidia Shield, or JiDe's awesome "Remix OS". If Google ever enters into those arenas, I'll drop the 3rd parties so fast your head will spin...but until then, having a high power gamer set top box and having an "Android Desktop" experience is a higher priority to me than maintaining purity to Google. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Those emblems are cool. Where did you get them? I wanna do something similar to my folders now!
  • I cut them out of a set of posters for Disney's March Magic competition. I can share the folder when I'm not going to bed so I'm awake for Moto in the morning! Find me on Google+. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agree 100%, and I too use nova and have no text under my icons both on home screens and app drawer.
    So much cleaner looking without the text. Sometimes too, when text is too long it gets cut off anyway and makes it even uglier.
  • Yup that to Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just FYI, Action Launcher (3.5 at least) has the capability of removing text also.
  • I use stock launcher on my LG G4, because I love it, and I use Nova prime on Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nova. Originally I didn't use any launcher besides Trebuchet but I found the customization options on Nova prime too good to pass up Posted via...The One
  • I'm just using TW with the material design on my S6 Active, other than that I like Google Now. I'm basic lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sometimes that's the best way to be. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Been using the Microsoft Arrow launcher. Really nice.
  • I love the simplicity, reliability and organization of Google Now Launcher, I also don't mind the icons on GNL because I have a Nexus 6. I just don't like that bright white search bar. It's was the bright white search bar that drove me to Action Launcher, now I can color the search bar to match my wallpapers or icons. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wish you could change the color without the need to Root or a 3rd party launcher. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • Yeah same here. If Google Now Launcher had a subdued colored search bar I would go back to it in a heartbeat. That bright white search bar looks like one of those long light bulb things they use in long hallways LoL Posted via the Android Central App
  • Launcher? I use stock Android on my Nexus 6. I used to use TSF Shell and Nova on my Note 2 and Razr Maxx. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • You use Google Now Launcher on your Nexus 6 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • Awesome Posted via the Android Central App
  • Happy using Smart Launcher 3. It always makes me laugh when an iOS user uses my phone and they don't know what they're doing like they're so confined within their iOS home.
  • That's what I use, too. Smart Launcher Pro 3.
  • Yepp yepp... Smart Launcher Pro. It's simple, yet can be made to be fairly advanced, but ultimately does exactly what I want it to do with the look and feel that I desire.
  • Jen Karnes, Cut your fingernails lol
  • Looks like the Nexus 6 is quite popular.
  • It is..... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I find it curious ( not in a strange or negative way ) that most of you guys don't have the phone dialer in your dock... Obviously not one of your 4 most used Apps... Maybe we need rename our devices... Smartphones appear to be sooo 2014 eh? ;) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes they do. That's what Hangouts is. Serves as both and its a million times better. Posted via the Android Central App
  • OK Google works way better for me than the phone dialer. Aside from that, I don't call out on my phone nearly as much as I email, hangout, or text. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I go back and forth between Nova Launcher, Google Now, and Action Launcher 3. Im using a Galaxy s3, Note 2, and Note 3. All are rooted with the s3 and Note 3 running Cyanogenmod 12.1 aka android version 5.1.1 The Note 2 is running Liquidsmooth rom 4.4.4 The thing i like most about the Google Now Launcher is that it works well with custom themes. If i go with a dark theme ( like i use at night ) then all the white component's, like Now cards, app drawer, dialer etc becomes dark in color. As far as Nova is conserned, i love the endless customizations. This is why Android Rocks over iOS.
  • Take Nova's overall customization and gesture support, and add in Action Launcher's handling of Covers/Shutters. That would be a big win in my books. More icon packs are supported by Nova, and generally Nova handles them better - Action Launcher 3.5 seems to screw them up (sizing and appearance is less consistent from what I can see). BUT I'm on AL3.5 because I just love covers. I have 1 home screen. 6 "covers" in the dock, 2 custom icons in the quickbar, and then in the Quickpage I have my calendar widget and a Bible verse widget. That puts 20+ of my most commonly used apps either a tap, or "swipe-tap" away. Can't beat that for efficiency - especially efficiency without the clutter!
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but can't you get the same functionality of AL 3.5 covers by ticking the swipe to open box when editing a folder in Nova? Sony Xperia Z2
    Nvidia Sheild
    Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Somewhat, yes. If you have 6 folders in the dock, plus a few widgets on your home screens (plural). My home screen (single) has what appear to be 6 icons in the dock (not folders) and a clock widget. Using quick page (similar to another home screen but widgets only update when you open it as opposed to a true 2nd home screen where they constantly update all the time) allows 2 widgets on top of that for 21 apps. I haven't even started using the "double and triple tap home" or the "double and triple tap blank area" available in Action Launcher 3.5. Nova can do similar things but in this case AL3.5 does it better. Posted via G3 somewhere in Canada .
  • Yes, Nova also does "covers" like AL 3.5. Only thing Nova doesn't have the AL has, is shutters. AL shutters opens the applications widget with a swipe. I was a long time user of AL, from the first beta up until 3.0. I did not like the new payment structure in AL3 (or 3.5), along with they removed features that I used often in AL 2, I moved back to Nova Prime.
  • I can't argue with Nova Prime at all. It was my got to launcher for a long time, I only recently tried AL 3.5, and spent some time playing with it. I still have my most recent Nova backup file so I can easily switch back any time. I just get a cleaner looking home screen with AL3.5 and for me that's a nice touch. But Nova does have some features I miss too! Posted via G3 somewhere in Canada .
  • By recommending a launcher that has paid features already available in the stock one is *insert word of choice*. I wouldn't pay if it had the same looks as Google’s launcher but with a few add-ons that are not worth 4 to 5 dollars. Z Launcher. Definitely not a Nokia fanboy; never had any. Minimalism at its best. If only I was able to hide apps. Posted.
  • Nova now and I don't see that changing. I used to use Apex but there was something... something I can't remember now that I've switched, that I hated on Apex but Nova got right. I'm sure Apex finally added it but I'm happy with Nova. It gives the all of the customizations I need even if I hate the way the newest version adds widgets. I was happy to give them my money, but then again, I did the same for the other launchers I've used but I'm content at this point.
  • Same. I was going back and forth between Apex/Nova and then realized that Nova was just better than Apex was 2 years ago. Nova's just gotten better and better. I haven't checked out Apex in a while but I doubt they're ahead of Nova in overall long term satisfaction. I could be wrong, but I'm too happy with Nova to even bother.
  • Since the material update a couple months back Nova is easily the most polished launcher on android IMO. But there's one thing about it that annoys the hell out of me. It's default app launching slide-up animation is a bit slower than apex and AL3. Its subtle but easy to see if you swap out launchers quickly and check. That makes the phone feel slower to me and it's why I use slide left on Nova when I do use it. Ive tried it on many devices, same deal every time. I would use KK's zoom animation but it's a bit janky on nova. I love the slide up animation which is why I use a faster one by default on apex or AL3. Can't increase transition animations because it makes the entire UI feel janky. This is all my OCD talking of course, lol.
  • I remember Apex just had tiny issues , while Nova was more stable and fluid
  • Totally agree about adding widgets. Developer needs to bring old way to add items to home screens by long pressing a blank area. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I just read and I believe that action launcher is the best ever launcber. I don't have it yet but I'm leaving this stupid spsm site right now to go get it. Bye!.
  • Your going to love it, enjoy! Come back and tell us what you think. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google Now Launcher on my G4. I came from the Nexus 5 and installed GNL the day I bought it. I did set up the Optimus Launcher and used it for a few days, and I still switch back just for kicks sometimes. But it's just made me fall back in love with GNL. Looking forward to the Android M tweaks. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If your want simple as a effective, smart launcher pro is the best. I love it.
  • I have the same bag as Ara Wagoner. I take it every where and I have a few patches to add to it. Great bag! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I can't get away from Nova Launcher myself. I have 7 icons, launching 13 apps with swipe actions. The 14th is a subfolder of common apps I use, but don't need super quick access too, but don't want to type to find (w/ the latest app drawer mode). THen there's pinch to launch another app, camera for me. And swipe down for notifications (on the G4, it bypasses the quick settings so I don't have to do extra swiping to get expanded actionable notifications). Keeps the home screen nice and clean for the wallpaper. Only thing missing is double tap to lock. I know there are apps, but they all lock the phone when smart unlocked, which isn't useful to me.
  • AL3 as mentioned previously..
    Several of the features of GNL and Nova exist in AL3, but are mildly hidden in the settings.
    For example, thos who don't want to use the scrolling app list, by default, a simple pinch-out gesture will open up a more traditional set of paged / panels with apps at which point you can just disable Quickpage in the settings.
    2 taps of the home button launches my camera!
    3 taps " " " launches my 'BG' glucose monitoring app.
    2 taps of a blank space for me opens AC!
    3 taps opens something else, 1 finger up/down, 2 fingers up/down swiping, 1&2 fingers from left or right... Leftmost for Quickpage (Alphabetical or date or frequency of use to sort) rightmost for Quickdrawer, (which I have set as a 6x8 grid resized to 70% of multimedia) and space to spread them out into groups.
    Touched on was the ability to resize icons, add to that the ability to change the grid and have it space everything out evenly is another way to keep things neat and tidy.
    Themes are growing in popularity, while I use standard Material Dark on my Super AMOLED+ display to conserve battery, though I doubt it makes "that much" of a difference, are there too.
    Settings has in the application drawer offers the ability to hide the pre-installed crap I will never ever ever use.. And even some that I do since I can access them in the Android Core settings as needed, and some widgets that have redundant access.
    Overall, I have been using AL3 as my Launcher of choice for my last 3 devices. I have been using AL since the first iterations and happily paid. The customizations available continue to expand too. I was happy to pay for And, like Phil, donate additionally !! C. Lacey gets it. He seems to either create a new feature, or mock an existing one to be as or more efficient.
    Covers were definitely the "Deal Maker" for my personal preferences. Adding only one widget to my single home page (Transparent Weather Clock) and 7 Cover icons in my dock, each housing a variety of apps I use on a daily basis. TWC adds a few nice tools to the interface. I have it set so that tapping the hour opens the clock/alarm, the date opens the calendar, the minutes opens to a Local Weather service app, the icon of the current conditions will open the TWC's proprietary weather information provided by a selection of sources (using AccuWeather) ad by a single tap to the temperature will update the current conditions. It's also able to customize it to launch almost every application in my device via the settings, making a customizable Launcher "on" a Launcher basically.
    I don't utilize the "OK Google" features or the Google Quick Bar (yet..), however I have found myself opening Google and using some of the features manually of late, so that may change. The range of options available for Android's OS customizations is what will make every users experience both different And more importantly "Unique" !! The only BEST Launcher is the one that does what You want it to in a method that suits your needs and likes. All have pros and cons, and for some, the biggest pros are for someone else, the biggest cons. Finding what fits your needs is not an easy or overnight decision either. I have tried and paid/donated when necessary for several different types of the same other applications as well as launchers in order to get the most out of each's abilities. Posted via the Android Central App using my Samsung Galaxy S5 now rocking Lollipop on AT&T
  • Oh...
    And one of my favorite things about several of the 3rd party Launchers is the ability to Lock it all down.. No accidentally swiping a Cover/folder right into the waste bin with AL3.. Press and hold on the recent button and an options list will pop up. Access to settings for both the Launcher and Android Core functions can be accessed, the Play Store and toggle for locking things in place. Getting to apps and various settings is quick and efficient. Posted via the Android Central App using my Samsung Galaxy S5 now rocking Lollipop on AT&T
  • I also would like to see AL3.5 bring back the "One Swipe" feature from AL2Pro. I still use AL2Pro on my SG Tab 4 7.0.
    It makes multitasking a snap with access to the Quickpage and Quickdrawer while using any app... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good write up! Thanks for taking the time to say all that! You're right, it's about finding the right config for you, rather than which one is just plain-out "better". And this is the joy of Android, the almost endless customizable nature. I'm not an Android-only guy by any means. Actually, I'm trying to be as immersed as I can in all three major ecosystems, as well as Ububtu (in fact, if anything, my heart is most closely aligned with Microsoft for the moment), but this is the area where Android really shines, where it beats the pants off Windows, and probably even more so, iOS. They can't even touch it! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Of course, the trade off is that in my experience, Android is the most buggy and unstable of the three, with Apple, the one I simply "enjoy least" being -by far- the most stable and reliable. While it seems to me undeniable that Android is the better "toy" of the two, I can't help but wonder if Apple is not still the better "tool", despite the productivity benefits of so much customization in Android. And that's why I'm not sure that an iPhone is more likely to be my next phone than a Nexus, even though I would "like" the Nexus sooo much more. Actually, if I were to be completely honest, it's the upcoming Microsoft 950XL (aka "Cityman") that I'm REALLY hoping for...but it'll mostly depend on how the app scene shapes up over the next year (stuck with my Note 3 til then), as well as how the "one Windows 10" integration, and Continuum pan out. At this point, all I know for sure is that the Apple is the one I "want" least, and Microsoft is the one I "want" most (though as I delve more and more into the customization features of Nova, Action, and Apex, etc, Android may yet rise in the ranks). Since I don't know how Microsoft will do in this next year, I have no way of saying whether it's the most or the least likely to be my next phone. Also, since I'm brand spanking new to high-octane launchers like Nova or Action or Apex, I have yet to figure out for myself whether all this customization ability will become a genuine "tool" for me, or whether it'll never progress beyond "toy". If it's the latter, than as much as I might not like the idea, an Apple is definitely more likely for me than another Android. If it's the former, then I have no idea at all. This next year will be a REALLY intriguing time in tech for me! :-D Posted via the Android Central App
  • The stock LG launcher on the G4 and G3 The Google Now launcher on the One M7 Nova Launcher Prime on the S3. Posted from my "Jack Of All Trades" LG G4
  • Nova works great for me. Currently mixing it with the Material Dark or Indigo Flat themes on my S6.
  • Nova all the way..!
  • Adw launcher, I can customize it as much as I want.
  • Whatever came with the phone. Could care less about alternative launchers Posted from my Droid Turbo
  • +1 for jen karner Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like Nova because I can swipe down from anywhere on the home screen to get the pull down menu. Swipe up from anywhere on the home screen to get the app menu, and double tap to turn off the screen a la LG. I'm sure other launchers can do the same, but it ain't broke, so I'm not fixing it.
  • Might try Google Now to see what I might be missing, but I am quite happy with the stock G3 launcher.
  • After reading up about the AL 3.5 Review, I decided to try it out once more. I had AL 2 installed several months ago, but I always went back to Nova Prime. NOW, I like AL 3.5 because it has the gestures same as Nova Prime. THE only thing I miss, which could have been removed from in 3.5 , is launching the App section ANYWHERE from the screen. I remember I could be in an app, and all I had to do was swipe from the top left corner, and then BAM, in came the complete Alphabetical list of Apps. WHAT happened to that or am I missing the set up in 3.5 ? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I mentioned that above, One Swipe (Beta) was/is an AL2Pro feature that I too wish would come back. Posted via the Android Central App using my Samsung Galaxy S5 now rocking Lollipop on AT&T
  • I use Nova on my Note 3. While I alternate between it and Action 3.5, the latter`s just too crash-tastic. Maybe it`s the Samsung build. Maybe it`s just my phone. Maybe Chris hasn't figured it out yet. But Nova is so much more stable. (Anyone with a Note 3/4 on Lollipop, PLEASE tell if Action is also crashtastic on your phone.) On the two other LG`s here (G2, G Pro 2) Action is used because they aren't as crashtastic, eerily enough. I can't hide icons in Google Now, Launcher, so I don't really want to use it...
  • Action Launcher has never crashed on any of my devices. Posted via the Android Central App
  • What devices do you have, can I ask? Alex Vause Says "Hi."
  • S3, S5, Nexus 6 and my girlfriend's Note 4 all run action Launcher. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just installed it Saturday on my Note 3, along with Nova and Apex. Upgraded all three to "Prime"/"Pro", etc on Sunday. While I haven't had a ton of time to monkey with it, so it may be too soon to say, I have also had no crashes with it whatsoever. I'll try to remember to let you know if things go bonkers down the road, but so far so good! Posted via the Android Central App
  • For the longest time I have been avoiding using 3rd party launchers. I needed one for the Droid X because Motoblur was godawful. I used ADW launcher back then. I used the stock launchers only on HTC Rezound, HTC One M7 and LG G3.
    To get to the point, all these articles on 3rd party launchers got me thinking maybe I am missing something? So I downloaded the free versions of Nova and Apex launchers to try out. I also downloaded some custom icon paks. I like the Moonshine pak because it most resembles the Material Design theme for the Samsung S6. My current phone is the S6 edge. Posted via the Android Central App
  • What is the name of the agenda widget that Phil is using on his home screen? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nova, but sometimes try others, especially Apex.
  • I use the default Xperia one. Though the icons are a little large it's fast and fluid and pretty straight forward Posted from my Xperia Z3 International
  • The Xperia one with the Triflat theme is up there with Nova for me. Clean and functional. Though I think I might go back to Nova soon Sony Xperia Z2
    Nvidia Sheild
    Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but can't you get the same functionality of AL 3.5 covers by ticking the swipe to open box when editing a folder in Nova? Sony Xperia Z2
    Nvidia Sheild
    Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Yes you can. I use it all across my home screen. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I use T9 Launcher. Strikes a very good balance between speed and customizeability.
    Plus dealing for apps and contacts is really fast.
  • GNL my 'Go To' launcher
    Tried the others but never quite what I'm looking for. Nothing wrong with them at all, just not for me.
  • I'm super happy with Apex :)
  • [Possible duplicate post - sorry if it is] Thanks for posting this article, AC! It's very helpful to someone who's just getting started with multiple launchers. I'm not entirely new to non-stock launchers, as Google Now replaced the stock Touchwiz on my Note 3 four or five months ago. But I am brand spanking new not only with having, and switching between multiple launchers, but also with dipping my toes into the more "high-octane", highly customizable affairs. In addition to Google Now and Touchwiz, I added Nova, Action, and Apex to my phone (and have only been able to superficially tinker so far). I also have GNL, Nova, Action, and Apex on my cm12 modded Touchpad tablet. Trebuchet is the default on cm12, but it seems just like GNL, only without the now cards and "OK Google" so I doubt I'll ever use it unless I'm struck with the urge form something ULTRA bare bones. Are there any other launchers anyone would suggest I get to try out? Thanks! Anyway, this article is really helpful to give me a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the launchers, the rationales behind people in the know choosing one over another, etc. So thank you very much! And thanks in advance also to the posters of any comments I read that also help! :-D Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, I know that the launcher I use is not the most popular, at least I didn't see anyone in the comments talking about it? (Of course, I didn't read all comments either. ) But when I finally got the money saved to buy the phone I have been wanting, and after reading hour's and hour's of comments and suggestions about most all phones, I chose the new Note 4. Same with the launcher's, except it took awhile to try them all, but I went with the "Next" launcher. It does everything that most all of them do, maybe a few things more than some? But I'm happy with the phone and with the launcher I chose, but I agree that it is the launcher, that is the core of any phone! I also agree that the developers, should be paid for the work they do no matter which one, any person chooses. There are many to choose from, and it's well worth the search, to find the one, that fits each person's needs. My suggestion would be, after you find the one that suits you, is to find one that is complimented with great customer service support. I have been using "Next" for over a year now and I have nothing bad to say about anyone that I have dealt with there. Anyway, their launcher is great for me, easy to use, and fun to use, as well! You may want to give it a try? I'm sure glad I found it. Hope my 2 cents helped you in your search. Eddie Nelson
  • Still using Nova. Once in awhile I will go stock with GNL or AL3. But Nova just keeps bringing me back. Hey Jerry, can you hook a brother up with the wall you posted in your pictures? Thanks in advance.
  • I want to use Google now launcher but the fact that I can pull down my notifications from midscreen on nova launcher stops me from switching over. It's such a convenient feature Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have an OPO, rooted, running the BlissPop ROM. For my launcher i just use the CM12 Launcher3/Trebuchet. My screen is really clean - the only button showing is the app drawer button. I use an App Bar for a handful of apps which i swipe from the right side, date/time are up on the status bar with the battery and WiFi/LTE display. That's it .. the screen is pretty much all wallpaper. Nice'n'clean!
  • I always end up going back to Nova Prime! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Using Nova Prime, mainly because of customizing the icons, getting rid of labels, using gestures (on screen and on icons too), hiding the status bar, unread badges, grouped app drawer.
  • Action Launcher 3 for me. Allows me to have something as clean and simple as GN (and Now is still quickly accessible - albeit from a swipe up from the virtual home button on my G3) with enough customization (icon/grid sizes) to keep me happy.
    And the shutters and covers allow just that much more at my fingertips when I need it, while tucking it away when I don't (and so elegantly!) Do love Nova (used it four years, Launcher Pro prior to that), but AL3 has become a simpler and more elegant solution for me.