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Do you use third-party launchers on Pixel phones?

Pixel 5 screen
Pixel 5 screen (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

Third-party launchers are fantastic tools. Whether you want to mess around with custom icon packs, home screen grid sizes, or anything else in between, they typically allow for much greater control compared to the stock launcher devices ship with.

That said, first-party launchers have gotten much better over the years. From Google's Pixel phones to Samsung handsets running One UI, lots of progress has been made on that front.

Some of our AC forum members recently started talking about some of the quirks when using a third-party launcher with Pixel phones these days, saying:

Anyone else using Nova notice whenever you close an app there is a second where your homescreen is blank before Nova refreshes the icons etc? This has never happened on any other phone I've had. I have the developer animations etc set to 0.5, like I always do. I'm typing this on a Samsung tab s6 also running Nova and same settings. Icons are there immediately when closing an app. But on my p5...


That's the way it is with any custom launcher and navigation gestures after Android 10. Blame Google for the changes they made with the Recent apps feature. Some brands managed to make those transitions a bit better and others still don't allow navigation gestures while using a custom launcher.

Javier P

I see that on my Pixel 3 XL as well. Very slight delay -- small price to pay for the great versatility of a 3rd party launcher.

B. Diddy

I just started using Nova, myself, and have now noticed a very small delay, as well. I'm liking my experience so far.


This got us wondering — Do you use third-party launchers on Pixel phones?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • Sure do. I use the Microsoft Launcher and love it. I have the 4a.
  • Use the MS Launcher on a 4a as well but noticed a lag/response issue this weekend. Anyone else seeing this?
  • I use Nova on my Pixel 3a XL but curious if people think Microsoft Launcher is better than Nova?
  • No, using the stock on my pixel 5.
  • i use nova on my 4a
  • O use Microsoft Launcher too, it's a great Launcher.
  • Yep. Nova Prime on my 2XL for 3 years, and now on my Pixel 5. By the way - I tried turning on gestures in phone settings and Nova was a mess. Even though it was the default launcher it would keep bopping me much to the system (Pixel) launcher. I googled the subject and visited the Discord channel again, and saw that this was still a known issue. However I had read one brief post on a forum that suggested going back into system settings, changing that default launcher to Pixel Launcher, then setting it to Nova. Silly as that sounds, I've been using Nova with system gestures one ever since - a few weeks now. I haven't tried some of the more esoteric swipes yet (e.g., swiping up or down on an icon) but so three typical ones work now: in from the left or right edge to go back a screen; in from either bottom corner to open Google Assistant; long pull up from the bottom to see Recents; brief flick up from the bottom to return to the Home screen. If course there's the Notification shade I can pull down from the top as well. All of this works perfectly with Nova. Right now Nova on a Pixel 5 with Android 11 and gestures active. Fantastic combination.