Want to change the look of your android device without rooting it? The stock android launcher that comes with your smartphone is quite restraining to the user. Its purpose is to give a consistent user experience, and provide branding for hardware companies. Some android launchers can even provide a more unique look to the home screen for the user.
Depending on what brand of smartphone you bought, the android launcher that comes with your smartphone will be a bit different. For example, if you bought a Samsung android device, Touchwiz would be installed natively, HTC devices would have HTC Sense, and a Nexus phone would have stock android. But what if you grew tired of the stock android launcher or the launchers that came stock with your device? Let’s say you want to optimize your android launcher for efficiency, or if you just simply want to add more features to your android launcher. What could you do? Simply, this can be done by downloading and installing a custom android launcher from the Google Play Store.
You can find custom launchers if you just type “Launcher” in the Google Play Store; however, there’s just too many of them to choose from. Here’s a list of some very popular Android launchers that we thought were great. Although we just listed just a few, there are many more and you shouldn’t limit your scope.
GO Launcher EX – We found Go Launcher to be one of the most customizable launcher. It features numerous themes that can be found on Google Play Store, and many add-ons that add value to the overall user experience. For example, GO Launcher EX Notifications, and Go Task Manager. The interesting tidbit is that it’s free with no paid version available.
Smart Launcher & Smart Launcher Pro – Smart Launcher is quite a unique android launcher. Because Smart Launcher replaces the home screen with a few core applications, the advantages of this model is that it hides the applications that the user would not use often in an app drawer. You will allow you to have all the important applications on the home screen for quick access. Not only is this very convenient, it also makes your home screen more structured, efficient, and appealing. Smart Launcher is free, but there is a pro version available for $3.49.
Nova Launcher & Nova Launcher Prime – Nova Launcher looks similar to the stock android launcher, but as soon as you explore the functionality, you’ll find that it’s an android launcher packed with customization. There is so much you can customize in this launcher. From specifying how many rows and columns of icons you want to see, to many Nova shortcuts. You can add a bunch of gestures straight on your phone, and we found this nice as it adds lots of cool factors to your phone. Nova Launcher starts free, and the premium — ” Prime’ version is $4.00.
ADW Launcher & ADW Launcher EX– ADW Launcher looks similar to NOVA Launcher; however, ADW Launcher has different customization options. For example, features such as scalable icons and 3d scrolling, and folders on your app drawer. There are also many skins and themes that are fun to try out. ADW Launcher is free, but they have a premium version ADW Launcher EX is $2.96.
Next Launcher 3D – Next Launcher 3D is a pretty pricey launcher, but is easily the best looking launcher. It’s user interface is fluid and filled with beautiful 3d effects. The launcher will set you back $16.27 dollars, and my first impressions of this launcher is that it’s got serious wow-factor only if you can afford it. You can test out the trial version.
There’s no reason not to try any of these launchers and find the one that suits your needs. Many of them are free, or have trial versions before you pay. Once you have chosen your favorite app, I recommend this free app called:
Home manager by Carp – This useful app allows you to disable your built in launcher that is running in the memory; thus, your phone will have more memory to use on other applications and games. This app is a must-have if you’re planning to replace your android launcher without rooting your device.
To get this working:
- Download & Install your favourite launcher.
- Download & Install Home Manager.
- Launch your favorite launcher.
- Launch home manager, and tap on the launcher that comes with your phone stock (eg. Touchwiz Home) then press kill.
- Congratulations! You have successfully stopped the stock launcher and now all you have to do is exit out.
Note: You will have to do this every time you start your stock launcher. If you want more advance changes, then install custom roms by rooting your phone.