Android launcher apps have long been an integral part of the Android experience. If you don’t like the way your home screens look or act, you can simply download an app to change all of it. There is no doubt that Android launcher apps have a far more diverse set of features than any other genre of application and you can really do some amazing things with these apps. Let’s take a look at the best Android launchers! We would list the Google Pixel Launcher if it were available for more than a handful of devices.
Action Launcher has long been a favorite Android launcher of our readers. It comes with a stock Android feel. However, there are some extra features over top that add some uniqueness. Quicktheme lets you customize the colors of your UI based on your wallpaper. Shutters lets you check out an app’s widget without actually setting one on the home screen. It even has theming and customization elements to make your phone feel more like Android Oreo. There is also icon pack support, frequent updates, and a lot more. There’s a lot to like about this one. Even the app drawer is configurable.
ADW Launcher used to be on this list until the developer stopped supporting. However, with the launch of ADW Launcher 2, it was an obvious choice to add it back to the list. This one includes an updated UI that fits in line better with stock Android. Additionally, there are launcher shortcuts, many customization options, extensions, and tons of other modern features. It also has one of the best make-your-own-widget features that we’ve seen. It has retaken its rightful place among the Android launcher elite. You can download it for free or pick up the pro version as an in-app purchase for $3.49.
Apex Launcher has been around for a very long time and remains one of the most iconic Android launcher apps ever. Like Action Launcher, it aims to give a stock Android look and feel with a few extra features thrown in for good measure. Among those include the ability to alter things like transition animations, scrolling habits, and there is even a scrolling dock where you can lay plenty of icons. Apex Launcher also includes a theme engine. The developer is in the middle of improving the launcher a lot. Those trying it out can expect big changes in 2017.
AIO Launcher does it differently than many Android launcher apps. It does away with the standard home screen in favor of an information-packed list of stuff. It shows things like your latest SMS and missed calls, your media player, your system info (RAM, battery, storage, etc), and even stuff like news, Bitcoin price, Twitter, and more. The paid version also includes integration for Telegram and your regular widgets from other apps. Not everything has to look like stock Android and AIO Launcher certainly shows that it can be done effectively. It’s free for most features. The full version is a very reasonable $1.99.
EverythingMe Launcher shut down and left the Play Store back in 2015. They returned to the Play Store in January 2017. That’s great news because this is a very decent Android launcher. It boasts a lot of smart features. There are smart folders that automatically categorize your apps. It also has a contextual feed of things like notifications, missed calls, calendar events and more. The app takes a bit to learn your habits. The thing is that it works very well once it does. You can use the launcher for free.
Evie Launcher is one of our picks for the best Android apps of 2016. It’s a lightweight, fast Android launcher with some unique features. It uses the Pixel Launcher-style app drawer that you can slide up from the bottom of the screen. It also comes with support for icon packs, a no-dock mode, and you can change things like the grid size on the home screen. Evie Launcher even has things like unread badges, widget customization, and more. It’s totally free to download with no in-app purchases.
Lawnchair Launcher is one of the newer Android launcher apps. It’s an open source project that mimics much of the look and feel from the Pixel Launcher. It features many similar features to the Pixel Launcher along with a few others. Those features include icon pack support, Android Oreo shortcuts and notification dots, Google Now integration (with optional and free plugin), adaptive icons, and various other customizations. It’s still new and also in beta. However, it already works better than most launchers. It’s also free with no ads or in-app purchases.
Lean Launcher is another one of the newer Android launchers. It provides a healthy dose of stock Android minimalism with support for popular, newer features. That includes notification dots, app shortcuts, icon shapes, Google Now, and more. The app also comes with some light customization features, a double tap to lock feature, and more. This one is relatively new. Thus, there are probably some bugs that still need worked out. However, even considering the newness of the app, it’s still really good. It’s also entirely free, at least at the time of this writing.
Microsoft Launcher isn’t a new launcher. The app used to be Arrow Launcher. Microsoft re-branded the app in mid-2017. The app features integration with many Microsoft services, including their calendar, email, to-do list app, and direct integration with Microsoft PCs. It also has customization features and gesture controls. This one returned to beta after the rebrand. Thus, there are likely some bugs for now. However, it’s something different and especially useful for those who want better integration with their Windows PC.
Next Launcher 3D Shell is by GO Dev. Those are the same people who do GO Launcher. It features 3D animations, a variety of transition effects. and some unique customization options. It also includes a scroll bar that lets you spin your home screens around and find the one you’re looking for. Admittedly, it’s one of the most expensive Android launcher apps out there. We wouldn’t blame you if the price of entry was too high. However, you can try out the app for free. Additionally, you can get the app cheaper if you buy it as an in-app purchase from the trial instead of the standalone app.
It doesn’t get too much better than Nova Launcher. Like Apex Launcher, Nova has been around since the good old days. It remains not only relevant, but one of the best Android launcher app options available. It has a laundry list of customization features that include gesture support, the ability to customize the look and feel of the app, icon pack support, themes, and much, much more. The app also gets updated at a breakneck pace which means bugs generally get squished quickly and new features are added consistently. It also comes with the ability to backup and restore your home screen layouts for when you eventually switch to a new phone. It’s the one we’d recommend you try first.
Smart Launcher 3 has been around for a while. It’s also been updated quite a bit. Its biggest claim to fame is the various ways that you can have your icons displayed. There’s the classic flower shape, various other grids, and more. Additionally, you can have notifications on your home screen, a contextual search, lots of themes, plugin support, and more. You can even hide apps behind a password lock if you want to. It has a good list of features. However, it does a great job to not feel bloated. You can download the app for free to try it out.
TSF Launcher is one of the unique launcher apps. It features a variety of customizations, including full gesture support. It can do a lot of things that look really cool. However, it doesn’t bring all that much to the table that other launchers don’t emulate to some extent. Still, it’s a lot of fun to use. Some of the extra features include 3D animations, an unlimited dock bar, batch selections of things like icons on the home screen, widgets, and more. It’s completely free to download and use. It also has an extra plugin that adds app badges.
Yahoo’s Aviate Launcher is one of the unique launcher apps. It’s also a bit of a wildcard. It does some helpful stuff like auto-organize apps into categories and it includes some decent customization features. However, it also doesn’t follow the traditional launcher look or behavior. Some of the other features include Smart Stream, organization features, weather integration, and some other fun little features. It’s not a top five, but it’s definitely a top 15 Android launcher.
If we missed any of the best Android launcher apps, tell us about them in the comments! Should the Pixel Launcher ever make it to Google Play, you can bet that it’ll end up on this list post haste! You can find our latest app lists by clicking here!