Android is an incredibly versatile operating system, offering all kinds of customizability, from a selection of the best Android phones to an assortment of apps on the Play Store. One of the standout features is that you can easily change your app launcher. Choosing the right one can be challenging because this is the tool you'll use daily to launch your apps.
We at AP have hand-picked our favorite app launchers to help you find the homescreen that suits you best. So if you're tired of digging through the Play Store to find the best Android apps, this Android app launcher roundup should make quick work of what used to be a time-consuming endeavor.
Niagara is a minimalist launcher that offers quality ergonomics thanks to its app list that scrolls vertically, line by line. This makes it easy to control your device with one hand. The app list is also adaptive, which puts the apps you need at your fingertips. That's especially useful when it comes to messengers and email apps.
The launcher is free to use, and there are no ads. You'll plunk down some cash if you want to unlock Niagara Launcher's complete set of features. You can pay for a month's or year's worth of access, along with a full unlock for $14.99.
If you're big into theming, then check out Hyperion launcher. Sure, you get all the typical features you'd expect, like folders and icon pack support, but the customizability sets this one apart. You can change the colors of all folders, plus you get adaptive icon support, along with scrolling wallpapers and blur for the drawer and dock. So you can make things look as you like, with all kinds of cool effects that give this launcher a wow factor that's worthy of showing off to your friends and family.
The launcher is free to use with a 14-day trial. If you like what you see, unlock the full app and its pro features for $4.99. When you want a Microsoft-style app launcher, a minimal design that is straightforward to navigate, or something different, Square Home has been a mainstay for millions of users a year for a good reason. Give it a try.
If you have an Android TV, this app's for you, especially if you don't want to watch advertisements. FLauncher is an open source launcher for ATV devices, offering a familiar grid layout for your apps without ads. Seeing that Google shows ads on all ATV devices, replacing the homescreen is a way to work around this problem.
You won't be able to set this as your default launcher, which is a bummer that Google blocked our ability to customize ATV. However, you can remap a button on your remote to pull up this launcher, just as you would when pressing the home button, which is a convenient workaround.
Even though Google hobbled our ability to set third-party launchers as a default on ATV, that doesn't mean Android developers have given up on providing what users want. This is why FLauncher is a welcome addition to this launcher roundup. It's free, solves a problem, and looks great. What else could you want?
Even though we're discussing Android launchers, the Microsoft Launcher offers a quality experience. It packs all the expected features, including custom icons, custom wallpapers, and a dark theme. Since this launcher comes from Microsoft, it ties into many of the company's products. It includes the option to sign in with a Microsoft account to access tasks, calendar events, and other services.
Signing in with an account is optional. You don't need a Microsoft account to use the app. You can use the Microsoft Launcher as you would from any other third party, customizing it to your heart's content. Best of all, the launcher is free, so there's no harm in taking a look.
Check out Lawnchair 2 if you're looking for something that's close to stock Android but more customizable. It's based on Launcher3 from AOSP. While the Play Store listing hasn't been updated since 2019, the app runs fine, though gesture navigation support is missing. The developer is working on a new launcher based on Launcher3 from Android 12, Lawnchair 12, which is currently in alpha.
Before Launcher is an excellent choice if you're looking for a simple launcher that doesn't get in your way. It's a minimal launcher where each app shortcut is a word on the screen. Changing a wallpaper and a few shortcuts is about as deep as customization gets, keeping things simple, but leaving an opportunity for a few modifications, so things don't grow stale.
If Niagara Launcher didn't quite do it for you, but you're still looking for something that's easy to use or prefer no-muss, no-fuss app launchers, Before Launcher is worth a look. You can use the app for free. If you want extra features, like folders and hidden apps, unlock the full feature set for $5.99 through an in-app purchase.
If you're looking for something different from a typical app launcher, AIO should be your first stop. Instead of showing off flashy icons, this launcher displays your pertinent info, like how much RAM you're using and where your last calls came from. There's also a list of your most-used apps.
The launcher also offers other options, like a display of your recent text messages or what's in your mailbox. AIO does all this without collecting any personal info. The launcher may have been around since 2017, but it's gaining attention thanks to its unique and customizable layout.
Nova Launcher has been a mainstay on the Play Store since its release in 2012. It offers a standard Android launcher layout with a basic app drawer and several homescreens. It's customizable, which is why it's so popular. It's excellent for themers while offering enough tools to get more out of it than what comes with stock.
Xiaomi's POCO Launcher is a fast and lightweight browser. It feels lightweight, though its main claim to fame is the intuitive app drawer that offers genres at the top for easy category selection. If you have an extensive library of installed apps, this launcher is the perfect solution for scrolling nightmares.
Since the app comes from Xiaomi, it's continually updated. It's the same launcher used on Xiaomi's devices, so expect fixes and new features regularly. For a launcher that comes from an Android manufacturer, it's a solid lightweight effort, and it's free.
Action Launcher has been around since 2013. While it may not be the newest launcher on this list, it's managed to prove itself over the years. From the outset, it looks like any customizable third-party launcher. However, it offers an optional pull-out widget drawer and a secondary pull-out app drawer for your most-used apps. This way, you can hide items like your weather widget until you want to check the temp.
Formerly, it felt like Apex and Nova had a quiet rivalry in the launcher space, with both apps serving as prominent go-to's for years, often updated back to back. Like Nova, Apex is still performing, thanks to its dedicated dev and because the launcher is incredibly customizable.
Whether you're deep into theming or want an intuitive feature-rich launcher, Apex is one of the top choices on the Google Play Store. Extra fun: If you'd like a blast from the past, check out the classic version of the launcher.
Versatility is a plus when it comes to app launchers, and Total Launcher is an incredibly apt name. This versatile app offers tons of customization options, whether you want to go minimal or in-depth with tons of widgets and general theming. Plus, you don't have to be good at theming. You can grab a free pack of themes from the developer with an LCARS theme that's simply divine.
Like most launchers, the app is free. If you'd like to unlock extra features, like folder search and hidden apps, either subscribe for $1.99 a year or purchase the app for $4.99 through an in-app purchase, which is a fine deal for what you get.
Smart Launcher 6 is a feature-packed launcher that's highly theme-able, and it's free to use, though a few in-app purchases are included. There's a monthly subscription for $2.49, a yearly subscription for $6.99, and a full lifetime unlock for $16.99. If you choose to pay, you gain access to features like popup widgets, a slick blur effect, and extra homepages.
There are a few choices if you're looking for simplicity in an app launcher. ZENIT Launcher goes out of its way to make things easy. As soon as you unlock your phone, you're on a screen that contains all your apps. No muss, no fuss. You can even set the scroll direction, though the default is vertical, which is how your thumb folds when holding a smartphone.
This launcher's simplicity doesn't hold back theming, with a host of customization options to make this launcher your own. The app can be installed for free. If you like what you see, unlock it for $2.49, though there is currently nothing to unlock, with more features planned for the future. This means you get the whole app for free.
Ruthless Launcher is free, with no ads or in-app purchases. Every feature and setting is open to anyone using the app. If you're light on funds and looking for an acceptable launcher replacement, Ruthless Launcher is a great place to start.
Integration is the big selling point for Ratio, primarily the integration of messages, no matter the platform. The launcher supports many popular messaging apps, so you can keep up with friends in their apps of choice from your homescreen. You also get app categorization and plenty of theming choices, including dark theme support.
Lynx Launcher might not be as well known as some of the launchers on today's list. But what makes it special is that it offers a design close to that of Gnome Shell on Linux, complete with app shortcuts on the side of the screen (and you don't have to open the drawer to get to them as you would on vanilla Gnome Shell).
This launcher is designed for ease of use, bringing a minimal yet elegant design. So if you're tired of bells and whistles clogging up your launcher experience, Lynx Launcher is a fine choice to get back to the simple design Android used to offer in the days of Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich. 2b1af7f3a8