Pixel Launcher was launched in 2016 alongside the Google Pixel and the Pixel XL. Officially, the launcher is only supported on Google Nexus and Pixel devices, but its APK can be installed on many other devices. However, the problem is that the Google feed panel on the leftmost screen does not work if the launcher has been installed on an unsupported device. To solve this problem, a developer named Amir Zaidi ported Pixel Launcher features to the AOSP launcher (Launcher3).
The developer repeated his work when he released Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.0 with the Google feed panel and features from the Google Pixel 2’s updated Pixel Launcher. XDA Senior Member paphonb has also released a rootless Pixel Launcher, but the difference between the two ports is that Amir has ported Pixel Launcher features to Launcher3 from AOSP, instead of basing the launcher on the original Pixel Launcher APK.
The different implementation means that new features can be easily implemented in Amir Zaidi’s port. The developer also included a large list of extra features with the Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.0.
Now, Amir has released Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.4 (which has been in testing for a month) with a big list of bug fixes. Notably, the version update brings big tablet screen support with bigger icons and a search bar, using the Pixel C profile. Android for Work is now supported for app hiding, enabling or disabling icon packs, and app search. There is also a special Android Go version which can be built using Android Studio, or using a custom ROM build script. The developer mentions that app predictions will “switch around less often,” and the default home screen setup now has the same setup as the real Pixel Launcher. Also, if there is no Google app installed on the system but Google Go is found, users can initiate Google Go search by clicking on the search bar.
The full changelog is detailed below:
- Big tablet screen support is added with bigger icons and a search bar, using the Pixel C profile
- Microphone icon shows under the same conditions as the real Pixel Launcher: when Now on Tap is in use
- When no Google App is installed but Google Go is found, its search will be launched when clicking the search bar
- Accents are stripped from searches, so it is easier to search for apps in the app drawer
- Widgets can be resized in any direction where their size is bigger than 1 on the grid
- App predictions will switch around less often
- The default home screen setup reflects the real Pixel Launcher’s setup now: Phone, Messages, Gmail, Store, Browser, Camera
- Android Work is supported for app hiding, icon packs enabling/disabling and app search
- At A Glance texts are updated to the 8.1 versions
- On Lollipop, the app drawer status bar gets a slightly darker background to make it easier to see the white icons
- Build tools are updated for slightly better performance when building
- The Android Go version can be built using Android Studio, or using a custom ROM build script
- Searching for apps when almost all apps are hidden does not result in a crash
- Folders in the hotseat close properly when dragging an icon out and then hover over it for a split second
- Backported app shortcuts (before 7.1) only show when the shortcut really works
- Backported app shortcuts can be put on the homescreen without disappearing
- Opening the app drawer always fades out the home screen, even while switching pages
- The keyboard immediately closes when sliding down the app drawer search
- The keyboard closes on Lollipop when dragging an icon from search
- When clicking the search bar when no Google apps and no browsers are installed, a message ‘App is not installed’ will be shown
- The Google Feed cannot be opened from the top left of the app drawer
- Folders don’t cause all apps to be warped to the top left of the screen when long pressing an app in them
- Live wallpapers can’t make the theme selection algorithm crash
- The app drawer won’t glitch out when pressing the home button while dragging it up or down
- The app drawer won’t disappear when visiting recents while dragging it up or down
- Icons in icon packs won’t be temporarily glitched out during an update
- The keyboard hides when pressing search while the search bar is empty
- App predictions are enabled without having to open the settings first
- An user account with all apps disabled won’t cause the app drawer for other accounts to become empty
- Launching hidden apps won’t count for the app suggestions algorithm
- Enabling/disabling the icon pack for hidden apps will immediately show the result
- Apps with multiple launcher shortcuts show the correct icon for each shortcut (ex. XDA Labs)
The developer warns that recent versions of the Google app have been breaking random features such as the Google feed. To avoid things being broken, he advises users to get the 7.22 stable release. Duplicate app suggestions may now be shown as a side effect of adding Android Work compatibility, but users can permanently fix this by disabling and enabling their app suggestions in the launcher settings. Similarly, users will need to re-hide the apps they want hidden as hiding needed a storage change. Finally, the developer notes that recent Huawei phones seem to crash on launch when the user hasn’t given storage permissions to the launcher. If this happens, users are advised to grant permissions manually by heading into settings.
Users can download Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.4 from Github. Google Pixel users have to flash the “Rootless Pixel Launcher” Magisk module that is present in the official repository. The launcher’s sources are available here.
Want more posts like this delivered to your inbox? Enter your email to be subscribed to our newsletter.