The reason most people love Android is that it gives a lot of flexibility and control over your device. You can personalize your Android experience in countless ways; from flashing custom ROMs, to changing wallpapers, to merely tinkering with icons. In this post I am going to tell you about 10 Best Android Launchers.
However, for beginners – and even most diehard customization freaks – a launcher is the best route to get started. For the uninitiated, a launcher is simply an app that presents the main view of the phone and gives you more control over your Android home screen by acting as the main platform from which to launch other apps installed on your device.
So now that you know what a launcher for Android is, check out our handpicked list of the 10 best Android launchers you should definitely give a try.
10. 91 Launcher
Overview: 91 Launcher is all about its fancy themes. It comes packaged with an integrated My Themes app that houses a bunch of free user created skins that, when applied, give a complete makeover to your home screen. The dev-team has also made sure to make the launcher as intuitive and user-friendly as possible. For instance, when in home screen swipe all the way to the left and you will be taken to a search area where you can search installed apps or the internet either by typing your query or voice interaction. In addition, the app contains a few handy stock widgets for quick controls like Wi-Fi and GPS, as well as a real time battery endurance meter.
- Free downloadable theme packs
- Variety of home screen transition effects
- Various useful widgets
- Quick search screen with voice interaction
- Custom gesture support
Overview: Buzz Launcher’s main strength lies in its Homepack Buzz – a 91 Launcher-esque approach but with extensive skin support. That said, Homepack Buzz houses over 50,000 unique and snappy home screens to give the UI a complete overhaul. Some home screens even perfectly mimic Windows Phone 8 and/or MIUI ROMs. Buzz Launcher also boasts a fascinating multi-wallpaper option that lets you set up a separate wallpaper for each home screen. Another similarity with 91 Launcher is that this app also lets you use gesture swipes for performing various actions such as to bring down the notification panel, open app drawer etc.
- An amazing Homepack Buzz app for one-click customization
- Multi wallpaper screen
- An easy way to access recent apps and hide unwanted ones
- Unread badges for missed calls, SMS and Gmail
- Resizable icons and highly customizable home screen grids
8. Launcher 8
Overview: If you like Windows Phone 8 then Launcher 8 is all you need. It will bring WP8-like navigation to your Android phone. After its simple installation, it gives your device a fresh feel, completely changing the way you interact with your phone. Launcher 8 features the aspiring static and live tiles which WP8 is known for. These big bold tiles can help even the most novice Android users to quickly launch commonly used apps like phone, messages, internet, camera or alarm. Nevertheless, the tiles are also customizable letting you resize them among different sizes.
- Resizable home screen tiles
- WP8 like navigation gives a fresh feel to your phone or tablet
- WP8 styled lockscreen and status bar
- Switchable application list style
- Tiles can be used to set app shortcuts and Android widgets
- A handful of theme colors to choose from.
Overview: ADW is another very popular Android launcher which has been around for quite a while now. Although, I’ve avoided this launcher for the past couple of years, I was surprised to see many changes and additional features I’d been missing on. Thanks to its large user base, the app sports thousands of themes, skins and icon packs available at Play Store. Another major aspect of ADW is its extensive customization, i.e. you can easily personalize home screen icons and resize widgets to your heart’s content. The app also showcases a really nice transition effect when jumping in and out of app drawer. ADW also has paid version that comprises of additional features.
- One of the most customizable launcher app out there
- Supports an umpteen number of user created themes
- Highly customizable icons, docks, folders and page indicators
- Easily manageable home screens with built in screen editor
- Gestures support for fast operation
- Icons editor and an AppWidget picker
Overview: Inspired by Android 4.0+, Holo Launcher HD brings Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich styled launcher to your Android device. It gives all the features available on stock ICS or JB launcher without costing a dime. Not only is it fast and snappy, but fully customizable as well. For instance, Holo Launcher HD lets you enable infinite home screen scrolling, which is something the default JB and ICS based launcher lacks. In addition, it allows you to customize icons, labels and dock to however you please. Besides customization and additional features, Holo Launcher flawlessly mimics vanilla Android. The app also has a Plus variant that boasts a few extra perks.
- All the Jelly Bean launcher features and then some
- Infinite home screen scrolling
- Customizable app shortcuts, folder icons and label color
- Supports ADW icon packs and widgets overlapping
- Gesture support for quickly accessing apps including pinch to zoom for home screen previews
- Scrollable dock
5. Everything Home
Overview: Everything Home – was initially known as Everything.me and still in Beta – does a fantastic job in taking over your Android’s home screen and classifies itself as a unique implementation for a launcher app. Rather than throwing in loads of similar features your way which you may have seen in countless other apps, Everything Home aims to be as dynamic as possible. It carries a powerful Everything Bar at the top where you can type or say What’s on your mind and the launcher will instantly pull out relevant results for your search. For instance, say music and all your music apps will be shown. Say Google and see what happens. Other than that, this launcher is also very customizable as oppose to stock options.
- A powerful Everything Bar that enables you to find whatever you need
- Very dynamic and feature-rich
- Smart Folder feature automatically organizes your apps in to relevant categories
- Besides your native mobile apps, the launcher also supports web apps
- Quite a few different customization features
Overview: Looking for a launcher that comes packaged with a host of features and blazing fast performance? You can’t go wrong with Apex Launcher. This app is absolutely a beast when it comes to customization and has earned critical acclaim from users and online media alike. Besides its super fast home screen transition effects and Holo inspired looks, the launcher can be customized in a multitude of ways thanks to many user created icon packs available at Play Store, most of which are free. The interesting bit is that Apex supports icon packs that are otherwise compatible with other mainstream launchers. Besides it free version, it also has a Pro (paid) version with additional features.
- Customizable home screen and app drawer grids
- Some fancy transition effects that don’t hog your device
- Persistent Google search bar that can be turned On and Off
- Ability to change background transparency of app drawer and hide unwanted apps
- Desktop lock to prevent accidental changes to your home screen
- Support for up to 9 home screens
- Unlimited drawer tabs (Pro version only)
Overview: We drive smart cars, own smart phones and now we have a launcher that is also pretty smart. Should you admire minimalism and ease of use, then give Smart Launcher a shot. Instead of tens of different home screens, the app lets you use only one and presents a rounded flower-like shaped shortcut dial for accessing frequently used apps. Probably the biggest shortcoming about Smart Launcher is that it doesn’t allow you to use Android widgets unless you shell out for the Pro version, which, in essence, enables you to add widgets to a separate home screen. On the bright side, the app boasts a beautiful interface and clean looking app drawer that automatically categorizes your apps under different groups.
- Gorgeous, minimalistic interface
- One home screen that comprises of uniform icon shortcuts
- App drawer is organized into categories called Communication, Internet, Media, Utility and Settings
- Support for icon packs from mainstream launchers
- A separate home screen for Widgets (Pro only)
- Variety of themes and wallpapers
Go Launcher EX defines itself as an app with easy operation, numerous themes and simple management. And we can’t argue that as Go is undoubtedly one of the best Android launchers out there. It is developed by the intelligent GO team known for other poplar apps like Go SMS Pro, Go Locker and Go Contacts. There’s a lot to love about this launcher. The customization features in particular allow you to personalize your home screen the way you wish. Being one of the top launchers, it sports thousands of different themes and many transition effects. The app has paid version which boasts a unique multi-touch feature to quickly access core functions
- Support for over 10,000 themes and 25 home screen scrolling effects
- Multi-touch to instantly access core functions (Pro only)
- Over 15 free default widgets for weather, calendar, clock etc.)
- Loads of customization options
- Super smooth and fast
- Frequent updates
Nova Launcher claims the top spot on our list. It has got all what it takes to be the best Android launcher that effectively combines UI elements from stock Android 4.0+. It’s fast, flexible, and can be customized in a number of ways without bogging down your device. Once installed, it gives you full control over implementing custom icons – even those from ADW, Apex launcher etc. — a fully scrollable dock can be set up to house multiple pages and multiple home screens can be used based of user requirements. Nova also lets you specify different folder previews and background, including an option to choose a custom pattern. The app has both free and paid (Prime) variants.
- Fully customizable home screen and app drawer grids
- Reverse wallpaper scrolling for stronger parallax effect
- App drawer transparency control option
- Varied scroll speeds
- Widget overlapping for effective resizing and placement
- Gesture support for different launcher actions (Prime only)
- Unread message and miss call count badge (Prime only)
- Ability to add multiple app shortcuts in one go
This wraps up our list of best Android launchers. For questions and feedback please leave your comments below.