Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Using a Different Launcher

A launcher is an app that enables you to launch other apps. The launcher controls the way your device’s Home screen and other main screens appear, including any live widgets you place on them.

Android includes a default launcher that runs by default and which you summon each time you press the Home button. But you can install different launchers to change the way Android looks and acts on your device.

Choosing a Launcher

If you want to change your launcher, you have plenty of choices because developers have built many different launchers. You can find various launchers by opening the Play Store app, tapping the Apps button, and then searching for launcher.

Here are three of the top launchers at this writing:

  • Google Now Launcher. Google Now Launcher is a launcher developed by Google that enables you to upgrade the launcher functionality on devices running new versions of Android. Stock versions of both Marshmallow and Lollipop come with Google Now Launcher as the standard launcher, but you also can try running it on skinned versions of Android. Google Now Launcher is free.

  • Nova Launcher. Nova Launcher is a slick launcher that makes substantial changes to the Android user interface. The basic version of Nova Launcher is free and provides a slew of customization features, but the Prime version (which costs $4.99) has even more, including the use of gestures on the Home screens. With Nova Launcher, you can even put small horizontal widgets in the app drawer if you find that helpful. The left screen in Figure 3.3 shows the main Nova Settings screen for Nova Launcher, which gives you an idea of what you can customize: the desktop, the app and widget drawers, the dock, the folders, the look and feel of the launcher, the gestures and inputs, and the unread count badges (a Prime feature).

    FIGURE 3.3

    FIGURE 3.3 From the Nova Settings screen (left), you can configure many areas of Nova Launcher. Go Launcher (right) also offers many settings, but its interface is completely different.

  • Go Launcher. Go Launcher offers a range of customizations, including themes that dramatically change the look of Android. Some themes are free; others you must pay for. Go Launcher includes shortcuts to many recommended apps, some of which are free. The right screen in Figure 3.3 shows the Effect panel for customizing Go Launcher. You’ll probably want to start with the free version of Go Launcher; if you like it, consider upgrading to Go Launcher Prime, which costs $5.99 and offers features such as removing ads, using a side dock to switch among running tasks, and a security lock that enables you to lock specific apps and settings.

Installing a Launcher

To install a launcher, you download it from the Play Store like any other app. When the download completes, open the launcher by tapping the Open button on the app’s screen in the Play Store app or by tapping the launcher’s icon on the Apps screen.

Some launchers walk you through a setup routine on first run. For example, Nova Launcher prompts you to import items from your existing launcher, saving you the trouble of rebuilding your existing Home screens for the new launcher. If the launcher cannot import widgets, you will need to add them manually.

After you finish any setup routine, the launcher displays your Home screen in all its transformed glory (or otherwise), and you can start exploring the launcher.

Switching Among Launchers

After installing multiple launchers, you can switch among them as needed by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and navigate to the Device section (shown on the left in Figure 3.4).

    FIGURE 3.4

    FIGURE 3.4 Use the Home screen in the Settings app to choose your default launcher. You can also delete any launcher you no longer want.

  2. Tap the Home button in the Device section to display the Home screen. (See the right screen in Figure 3.4.)

  3. Tap the launcher you want to make the new default, selecting its radio button.

  4. Tap the Home button. The Home screen appears, showing any customizations that the launcher makes automatically.

You can then use the launcher’s controls to make further customizations. For example, to delete a launcher on Nova Launcher, tap the Delete button (the trash can) on the right of its button on the Home screen in the Settings app.

Making No Launcher the Default

When you’re experimenting with launchers, you may want to try making no launcher the default so that you can easily switch among the launchers. By removing your default launcher, you can make Android display the Select a Home App dialog box each time you tap the Home button, allowing you to choose the launcher you want to use next.

Here’s how to remove your default launcher:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap the Apps button in the Device section to display the Apps screen.

  3. On Lollipop, swipe left twice to display the All screen. (If the launcher is one you’ve downloaded, you can use the Downloaded screen instead.)

  4. Scroll down and find the launcher that’s currently running. This example uses Nova Launcher.

  5. Tap the launcher to display its App Info screen.

  6. On Marshmallow, tap the Open by Default button to display the Open by Default screen (shown on the left in Figure 3.5).

    FIGURE 3.5

    FIGURE 3.5 Tap the Clear Defaults button on the Open by Default screen in Marshmallow (left) or the App Info screen in Lollipop to clear your default launcher. When you tap the Home button, you can then choose which launcher to use (right).

  7. Tap the Clear Defaults button. There’s normally no response to this move except for a quick blink of the button, but if you see a confirmation dialog box, tap the OK button or its functional equivalent to confirm you want to clear the default launcher.

  8. Tap the Home button. Because you’ve cleared the defaults, an untitled dialog box opens prompting you to choose a launcher. The right screen in Figure 3.5 is an example of this dialog box. The launcher you’ve just cleared—in this case, Nova Launcher—appears at the top, with a Just Once button and an Always button below it. The lower section of the dialog box shows the Use a Different App list, which contains your other launchers.

  9. Tap the button for the launcher you want to use. In this example, you’d tap Google Now Launcher to switch to the Google Now Launcher. Because you’re not tapping an Always button, this is only a temporary switch, so each time you tap the Home button, the dialog box appears again.

When you decide which launcher you want to use, tap the Home button to display the dialog box for choosing the launcher. If the launcher you want appears at the top of the dialog box, tap the Always button to make the launcher the default option. If not, tap the launcher in the Use a Different App list; then tap the Home button again to display the dialog box again, this time with the launcher you just tapped at the top. Now tap the Always button to set the default.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020