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'Samsung Labs' feature on the Galaxy S7 lets you turn off the app drawer

Diving into the settings on the Galaxy S7, you'll find a new "Samsung Labs" area that lets you choose to do away with the traditional launcher app drawer and instead keep all of your apps on your home screens. Once you turn it on and tap once again to confirm your choice you'll return to the exact same launcher as before, sans app drawer. Your apps will cascade across the home screens to be organized as you like, including with folders and widgets.

Historically reserved for software that targets Asian markets — with Huawei and Xiaomi being prime examples — more and more manufacturers (welcome to the club, LG) are pushing toward launchers that drop a dedicated app drawer, and Samsung is the latest. The idea is fundamentally sound in that it can reduce confusion for users who don't like to see the same app in two paces — you'll recall Samsung (and others) already offers an "Easy Mode" launcher that simplifies things, and this steps in that direction.

But for those who have gotten used to the standard way Android handles apps in a launcher it can potentially be a little jarring ... and a bit like the home screen paradigm of iOS.

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

This is very much an optional setting, and it's even a few levels deep behind the "Advanced features" area of the phone's settings, but it does hint that Samsung is considering a move that so many others have taken in dropping the app drawer altogether. Perhaps if it chooses to do so the setting to turn the app drawer back on will be the "Labs" choice instead — or you may just have to go to a third-party launcher to get it back.

We'll see what kind of feedback Samsung gets once Galaxy S7s start heading out to consumers.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

89 Comments
  • Rumours about Android N - The G5 and now the S7 getting rid or options too. its a sign about Android N getting rid of it.
  • Doubtfull I'm sure Google doesn't think that dumping all your apps on the home screen(s) is the "way of the future" ". Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • They've done stuff in the past that doesn't make sense, so I wouldn't put it past them. Yeah, I'm looking at you Lollipoop Notification Control and SD card restrictions.
  • I have never left a stock launcher on my new phone longer then a few mins after I get the device.
  • It's the running joke for Android power users, the stock launcher is only used to access the Play Store the first time and access the launcher download, like how IE is only for downloading Chrome.
  • the IE reference is PERFECT!! that really IS the ONLY thing i use that broswer for!! Howeever, i always like to at least try the "native" launcher out for a few days to give it a fair shake... havent NOT installed nova at some point yet but there is still hope! lol
  • Yes, and they'll deserve all the backslash they'll get. Just like Microsoft got when they were idiotic enough to remove the start button from Windows.
    Honestly, from a few years now, Android seems to be run by iDiots.
  • Even though you can do this in easy mode? Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Wow. Now it not only looks like an iPhone, will also have homescreen apps like an iPhone? Good one, Sammy! :S
  • Doesn't look like an iPhone. Plus u actually have to go in the settings to turn it off Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's not the default option so why complain?
  • Not complaining, I'm all for options and I do understand that it's an optional feature you have to turn on/off... Just stating the obvious. You can't deny the comparison when no App Drawer has been an iThing staple for a very long time.
  • Also, full disclosure, I'm a Samsung 'fan'. I've had Samsung phones since the S2. But obvious things are obvious things. You can't look past those hehe.
  • You don't need 'full disclosure'. It's a phone forum. No one cares. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Choice is good but there is way too much bloat on Samsung phones to consider this option.
  • You can disable most of the bloatware.
  • Other than Carrier stuff (which can also be disabled), bloatware is pretty much gone on the last generation (Note 5, S6 Edge +)... Unless you count the 'gimmicks' as bloatware, in which case yeah, there are quite a few of those...but isn't that what makes a Samsung phone a Samsung? :)
  • As an iPhone user, one of the things I envy is the Android´s use of an app drawer. In fact, on my iPhone I have one folder in my dock called apps as my pseudo app drawer. I don´t see the appeal of turning it off.
  • It helps for ease of use. I like having the App Drawer as well because I know what it does...but if I were a new user and someone hands me an iPhone and an Android, that's one extra step towards finding apps and one that isn't all that clear. So for 'quick use', yeah, it's nice to have all apps in one place. I just hope it can be alphabetized, unlike iPhones (that's the one thing that drives me nuts haha).
  • I could maybe live without an app drawer if there weren't about 2 dozen apps installed on every Samsung phone that I don't want and can't uninstall. It's annoying enough seeing those apps in a drawer I rarely go into, let alone on my home screen everyday Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not sure if you're just carrier-unlucky or if you haven't used a Samsung phone lately, but there's hardly any bloatware left. And most things can be disabled anyway now. Yes, carriers are still adding up their software, but it's still very much subdued compared to before (and in their defense, it's the same on any of their carrier-branded phones, not just Samsung). You do get S-pecific (see what I did there? :D) Samsung apps that are just needed for the features of the phone (like S-Note on a Note phone or Action Memo), but that's not bloatware per-se, it's just part of the features that may or may not have drawn you to a Samsung phone.
  • Don't tell AT&T it's subdued! The problem I personally have (and it's not a huge deal) is even if you uninstall you can't use that free space.
  • Most of these apps don't ammount to more than a couple hundred Megs at the most... it's not that bad, IMHO. (Can't speak for AT&T, but T-Mo's are not even close to 50MB total).
  • Could be an easier way for someone to switch to the Android eco system without such a jarring home screen experience..... I will never use it, but i could see it being useful for certain people.
  • Optional now, but I hope in 3 years they don't make it the norm... I'll freak on em. IOS hobbits :-) Posted via the Android Central App
  • just get used to a 3rd party launcher now and you never have to worry about what any OEM does to their launchers. Nova is great!
  • Gross. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think it's OK for them to have an option to turn the app drawer off. But I think it'll be really dumb to get rid of the app drawer all together. I just don't see any benefit of getting rid of it. 64gig Gold Note5/AC App
  • I'm with you! I would like to here why this is a benefit to some people. Why do you prefer all apps on home screens? I'm really curious. Imo its horrible to look at, even with a nice icon pack Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed.
  • I was just reading on CNET that the s7 has watercooling?! Is that a 1st in phones? Posted via the Android Central App
  • The Microsoft 950XL also had liquid cooling. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No. it's also not real "watercooling" nor "liquid cooling". Microsoft already tried to sell that same bullsh*t.
    It's a heat pipe.
    They've been around since the Xperia Z3+ at least.
  • Too Iphone-esque for my taste. Glad you can turn it off!
  • Now I definitely have to get the S7 just so I could let Samsung know I didn't find their experimental launcher useful.
  • I would love this option in my next Note 6 and on my sons Tab S3. I get why Google is moving away from the app drawer and onto the homescreen, it increases the probability of apps being used. I have had apps that I installed and forgot about, just because the got removed from the homescreen. This was it will be much more easier, I can put the apps I rarely use in a folder on the home screen and be done with those.
  • Where do you get the idea that Google is doing such a terrible thing? I mean, their launcher isn't the best, but I haven't seen any evidence they're planning a move like this. Thankfully. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If you forget about apps simply because there is no shortcut on your desktop then you are too old and/or too forgetful to use a smartphone.
  • A smartphone is especially helpful when you're old and forgetful. Great for setting reminders for things I would otherwise forget. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, now we can all have a JUNK folder like IOS users.
    I seriously hope Samsung leaves this as an option, I don't even care if they make the default to have no app drawer
    As long as it's an option to go back to having an App Drawer I'm happy. I keep all my frequently used apps on the home screen in folders, BUT I leave all the apps I don't use regularly many Samsung apps, their browser, things that I don't need on my screen like the office apps, pdf reader etc none of those need to be on the homescreen because when I download a pdf it just opens in my pdf app. Having a app drawer lets me leave the junk I don't need normally out of sight.
  • Totally optional, and like the title implies, totally experimental. :) #LongLiveTheAppDrawer and for me, #LongLiveTheHomeButton
  • Yea I understand it's optional, but optional features often turn into standard features. I'm talking about the future iterations of touchwiz, I have no problem with it as an optional feature in its current state. Unlike the lg g5, where it's now standard. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I seriously hope this isn't the way it will be in the future.... Posted via the AC App on my Nexus 6P
  • I really don't like a bunch of icons on my home screen. Some people might I guess. Glad to see it as an option. Perfect example of freedom on android unlike communist controlled ios Posted with my NOTE 5 on damn verizon!
  • How high are you? Apple is one of the best examples of capitalism on the planet. And as for OSs, android/Linux are far closer to the communist ideology than anything Apple has put out... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lol Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Yeah capitalism made in china. Was talking about customization. So apple let's you customize the iphone? Oh yeah they let you change the wallpaper. Posted with my NOTE 5 on damn verizon!
  • What does being made in China have to do with Capitalism? I think you need to look the word up cause you're not making much sense.
  • I don't know I'm just rambling on. What does capitalism have to do with the option to turn off the app drawer. And why does everyone get so serious all the time! Posted with my NOTE 5 on damn verizon!
  • Don't mind it on my iPhone so I'd give it a try on here Posted via the Android Central App
  • I can see this helping the transition of iPhone users over to Android. This is a good thing for Android. Otherwise, I can't see any advantage for an Android user. Posted via the Android Central App from my LG G4
  • I don't think I've had an app shortcut on my home screen for years. Just Widgets, tasker shortcuts, and feeds. And as far as accessing apps, my app drawer is only used for apps not found in my Swapps shortcut, 2 SwipePad shortcuts, or multiwindow shortcut hidden drawers. That way the most used apps are always in the same spot, no matter what app may already be open. This totally sounds like a move to entice iPhone users and make the switch more accommodating. Hopefully it works for them. I hate the clutter on my work iPhone with apps and folders here and there and everywhere though... not efficient in the least.
  • I don't understand this bizarre obsession with getting rid of the app drawer. Some of my apps I prefer to be hidden in the app drawer. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Totally agree
    Elimination of the app drawer, especially with alphabetical view, makes absolutely no sense. Alternatively make one giant folder that one has set up and sort out? And what about background apps! WTF For me, iPhone seems confusing and dysfunctional. Android as I know it is customizable, uncluttered, and efficient.
  • I will not be taking advantage of this feature.
  • No worries I have Nova waiting in the wings.
  • Rumors point to Android N itself not having the app drawer and this and LG just throw fire and in flame the rumor even further. Posted via the Android Central App on my Frost Nexus 6P
  • I will facepalm so hard if Google do that. It's an idiotic idea . Posted via the Android Central App
  • And apparently one of the new iClones from HTC's (A9?) also doesn't have it.
  • Probably a great idea for my mom, who just switched from an Iphone 4 to a GS6 edge. Since it looks just like IOS now, she'll know how to find things.
  • or she can just take the 2 seconds it takes to figure it out herself!!
  • Lol nonsense /s Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Is it me or did you just issued your mother a certification of stupidity?
  • Did all the manufacturers get together and decide what to do this year? Seems like the same **** from all of them... 360 cameras, VR, robots, no app drawer, etc. Seems unusual they all announce basically the exact same accessories and changes on the same day, by coincidence.
  • Android has fundamentally always been a system of customization and change. As long as we retain the ability to have third party launchers I'm happy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Which we will. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Highly doubt that they will get rid of the app drawer. It will be an option. I sell cell phones and the biggest thing that stops people from switching from iPhone is that they don't like change. So this is a welcome feature to me because you can easily make it seem like something they already use and introduce them to the Android side of things. Giving the user more choices is a good thing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Honestly, I'm not a fan of it. And if Google does this, it'll be another one of their few decisions lately that I don't approve of.
  • Why are they trying to be more like iOS? The app drawer is one of the best part of Android.
  • Its an option. If you dont like it, you dont have to have it on. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Interestingly the G5 has an 'easy mode' launcher, that has an app drawer. It's basically a standard launcher. Isn't that just an admission that app drawers are easier? Honestly, if phone manufacturers are looking to appeal to the type of user who is confused by an app icon "appearing in two places at once" I fear for the direction Android is heading. Aim a little higher. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hopefully they aim for the top. Only people who can configure a development environment and compile from source can use Android. (Elitism sucks at all levels :) )
  • Fair point. I was perhaps a bit harsh (and a little less serious than my tone implied) But i feel like an alphabetised list is a pretty low bar to set. Perhaps it's that the app drawer icon is too abstract, and people don't understand what it means? I mean, it's usually just a bunch of dots in a circle or a square, I get that not everyone will immediately understand that. Maybe if it was made clearer, perhaps similar to the way action launcher does it. Swipe to right and you get a scrolling a-z list, not a grid, with dividers for each letter, and a clear "A-Z" title at the top. There must be better ways to do it, other than removing the drawer completely. Posted via the Android Central App
  • There's simplification and then there's passing users as idiots.
    Things like removing the app drawer fall under the second category, not the first, Jerry.
  • I noticed that too. Odd. Hope they bring back QSlide and Dual Window sometime in the future
  • Nice first thing I'll be doing after getting the S7 edge.
  • That's fine as long as it doesn't become the standard. I wouldn't even wanna download apps anymore. I hate even having more than one folder on my home screen. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think it's a nice option. At least they leave it as an option. For me I find it confusing to have an app drawer and I have two place for the same app. That's only me and I don't speak for the majority. Posted from my Samsung Galaxy S6
  • I don't like it, anyway I use Go Launcher so it doesn't bother me. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why is everyone removing the app drawer? I really like the app drawer.
  • HTC (and other cheap Chinese OEMs) clone the iPhone on the hardware level.
    Google & Co. seem committed to copy it on the software level. Seriously, if you want me to buy an iPhone, just say so already! And I WILL gladly buy...a windows phone again.
  • Users reporting tmobile s7 cannot find Samsung labs. Is it not included s7? Waiting to receive mine next few days Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes, I don't see it in mine.I got mine 3 days ago.
  • Hola, so I have the galaxy s7 already but "God Labs" does not show up in advance features. Do I have to do something for it to show up or should it automatically be there from default?
  • Not on version from Rogers Wireless in Canada :(
  • Really? Removing the app drawer it's the only logical reason. It's the best choice.
    Look, all you have to do is get all the apps you don't want in your home screen and put them in a folder. Then, put said folder on the bottom right, docked, where the app drawer used to be. That's it! You have the exact same as with the app drawer. With the advantage that you can move it anywhere you want, including, obviously, docked at the bottom right. The great advantage you get out of this is that you don't need to go to the app drawer to uninstall an app, which is really annoying, you can do it right from the home screen. Also, when you go for those other apps you don't use much, in your pseudo app drawer, it will be much cleaner with only those secondary apps It's actually an advantage. How hard can this be?
    Sure it may take an extra minute or two to do this in your first customization, but in the end it's well worth it.
    What wonders me is that no one ever thought this out. You could just think of it as a movable app drawer.
  • Samsung Labs on galaxy s7 edge is the best thing that could have possibly happened. I'm not a big fan of Apple products because of the lack of features including no app drawer, but the Galaxy S7 Edge looks amazing with out the App drawer. I downloaded the 'Samsung Labs' link when I first got my Galaxy S7E, searched for 'Samsung Labs' in settings, turned the app drawer off, and never turned it back on. This was the greatest experince for me. I've been with Samsung for 6 years, I rocked the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6, S6E, Galaxy Express Prime and now the Galaxy S7E. Samsung you have come a long way on your products. I watched everything change over time and I enjoyed every moment of it. My boyfriend of 3 years always used Iphones. I introduced him to the new Samsung UI with The Galaxy Express Prime and he loves it more than he ever loved Iphone's This is a guy that's set in his ways and would never change from apple to google but I bought a galaxy s7e and we were in the process of switching from Verizon wireless contract to At&t. He had the Iphone 5s threw Verizon and we bought 2 Samsung Galaxy Smart phones threw at&t not knowing that Verizon phones work with At&t also. He was disappointed about going from Apple to Google but once he started using the Galaxy Express Prime, he now wants a galaxy s7 and he says he doesn't regret switching from Apple to Samsung because the UI is beautiful. Keep up the good work Samsung. The Galaxy S7 Edge is a beast at everything it does. Taking the App drawer off threw Samsung Labs made the phone even better. Who wants an IPhone when you can get a galaxy s7 edge and remove the app drawer but still be able to use widgets along with your applications?
  • > not knowing that Verizon phones work with At&t also. No they don't. Just for anyone reading in the future.
  • Removing app drawer is the best move