The Best Android Launchers To Use With Your Smartphone In 2023 [Video]
All the best third-party Android launchers offer something unique, be it customization or a bit of beauty. These are the best things to install on your Android phone in 2023 and beyond.
The beauty of Android is that you can often completely customize it to make it look just the way you want it, no matter what phone you have. Third-party launchers offer options you may not have tried. Icon packs and widgets can take the "virtual" experience to the next level, and you can even emulate other devices if you want.
We'd be wary of recommending Hyperion Launcher just because it has so many bugs. However, it's still worth checking out. Regular updates fix major issues, but there are some stubborn issues that make it difficult to stick around for a long time.
We compare this to the budget Nova Launcher, and it's not negative. Lightweight, fast and very smooth under 5MB. It seems to be compatible with Symbols, and you can add a Google Discovery feed using a downloadable add-on.
If you need an extra layer of security, there's a biometric app lock, which is missing from most Android launchers. Like many on our list, you get a lot of options when you use Hyperion for free, but a $2 in-app purchase unlocks many more apps, including drawers and more.
Smart Launcher 6
One of the best Android launchers we've ever featured is Smart Launcher 6. It looks like a combination of the default ColorOS launcher and Samsung One UI, but with more functionality. Areas like the app drawer that are clearly designed with one-handed use in mind are a convenient option. Wallpaper Picker is connected to Unsplash, so you can use free images as wallpaper.
Icon customization seems to be pulled directly from your OnePlus or Oppo device with the ability to edit and set a default theme for all app icons. You can also adjust icon grid properties to increase or decrease coverage to fit more widgets and apps on the screen at any time. Some great widgets from icon packs and a redesigned At a Glance widget have been added to Pixel phones.
Smart Launcher uses Microsoft's home page instead of Google's Discover feed, which is a unique change and has improved greatly in recent years. You can also select related content tags or topics to display in this area. The professional level costs $4.29 per month, but the lifetime plan starts at around $20.
No list of best Android launchers would be complete without Nova. The most popular third-party home screen changers for Android have evolved and changed over the years, but the experience is still great. Last year's Nova Launcher 7 rewrite was one of the most significant updates to this classic app in over 10 years.
Nova 7 is fast, simple and includes additional features to fully customize your everyday experience. Nova Launcher 7 is a powerful app that you can download and use on your smartphone or tablet. The launcher's theme options go beyond most Android launchers, plus you have the ability to customize all kinds of user interface elements.
Settings like folder popups, home screen grid layout, fonts and icon sizes are just the start, and many other customization controls let you disable all animations or add options to elements. Application pop-up menus for quick access to important controls. The additional search function is available here on many devices beyond the built-in device search.
Garden chair 2
Unlike Nova, the Launcher is very similar to the Pixel Launcher experience and offers a clean Google-like look and feel to any Android phone. It's not the most technically impressive launcher out there, but while it looks similar at first glance, it offers enough Pixel Launcher customization to make it worth checking out. This project started in recent years due to some interesting behavior from the main developer, Tilly Kottman.
Also, Lawnchair 2 takes the look and feel of the Pixel launcher and works with it. First, the ability to set up custom icon packs should only be considered if you're frustrated with Android 12's "theme icons" on the Pixel Launcher. You can go even further by customizing the app's accent color, editing and creating your own skins, and more.
At a glance, the widget still supports the pre-Android 12 design, but you can customize its appearance with the time and date, and even add app suggestions and notifications, which Google doesn't offer in the default Pixel widget.
Google Discover Feed can be added, but you'll need to download the LonFeed APK for it to work properly. Although it has some more custom controls, Android Launcher doesn't crash or crash and it's a super easy and good option even for Pixel owners with the same smooth performance.
Many Android launchers follow a familiar pattern and although there are some differences in how they are implemented, they work effectively or provide a similar end product. Niagara Launcher is a completely different animal, supporting the "traditional" launcher layout with a combination app drawer and home screen. This does not mean that it is a very acquired taste.
Niagara is based on a small set of "favorites", which are applications that you must select in advance. An alphabetical list of everything installed on your device will appear at the top of the scroll. A small section at the top lets you enable notifications for upcoming events, quick weather and battery statistics, and more.
Although it is low, it looks very functional without interference. Notifications can appear on your home screen, which saves time because you don't need to expand the Quick Settings panel to see it. The typing sidebar lets you quickly swipe through any invisible app, so it's never out of reach.
Swipe actions unlock the ability to access quick shortcuts and even view notifications from apps. Folders are handled a little differently here, as Niagara lets you create "pop-up folders" that hold some of your favorite apps. Instead of home screen navigation, they live in menus and fit Niagara's aesthetic. With its default layout and layout, Niagara might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a unique launcher for Android owners to try out more Pro features, including weather and clock widgets, custom fonts, and more for $5.99 a year.
Microsoft Launcher is designed to be a central "hub" for all your accounts and apps, and is great whether you use Windows 10/11, OneDrive, or other Microsoft services. It certainly doesn't look as good, and it doesn't offer the same level of customization as the Nova Launcher. However, you can customize most of your home screens and get your daily wallpaper from Bing.
My favorite feature is the quick background changer. Tapping this will instantly change your Bing wallpaper, and it all looks to match the dynamic color theme on Pixel phones. The extended sliding dock is great if you want a minimal home screen layout, as you can add up to 10 apps here so only 5 are displayed at a time.
Microsoft has created a "Your Delivery" panel that looks a bit like the OnePlus shelf. If you already use Microsoft services and Windows features, this Google Discover feed replacement is even more useful. It features synced calendars, to-do lists, sticky notes, as well as screen time and even recent activity data. Microsoft Launcher isn't ideal for every Android user, but it can be perfect if you're heavily invested in Windows and want desktop extras.
If you want to use a completely different design and launcher, Blloc Ratio can be one of the most unique launchers on Android. Rabasa aims to curb your bad smartphone habits with a time-tracking app and a one-color theme. It took some getting used to, but the overall experience is undeniably fantastic, inspired by many different places.
Since its release, Ratio 6 has added many features and improved integration. Personally, I like the chat shelf. Almost all of your messaging apps have this right and it's a great feature to avoid delays. It simply brings all your contacts' conversations in one easy-to-manage place so you don't have to open each app manually. It cleans up the sometimes messy messaging experience on Android, and Ratio is the only Android launcher to offer such a feature.
On the other side, you will find the "Root" section, which looks like an iOS device drawer. First, you won't get many widgets, but the informative, monochrome block widgets can be bundled with your existing Android default apps if you want. Home screen docks are also now available, with a constant search widget to browse your smartphone.
At $50 per year or $150 for life, this can be a big pain point for some people, as it's the most affordable option on the set list. However, there's a lot you won't get anywhere else, and some may value the experience more than other options. You can play a seven-day free trial to see if it works for you.
At the other end of the scale from Ratio and its "premium" experiences, there's a "limited number" of Android launchers if you feel like your phone might interfere with or slow down your day-to-day life. The best and cheapest of the feature sets we tested is Les Fone. Or, effectively limit your smartphone usage. This is rude because it limits app access to four apps on the free tier or eight apps on the $1.39 paid tier.
It doesn't have many functions and takes up less than 20 MB on your phone. You get a built-in to-do or to-do list as well as in-app purchases and can unlock more themes and add-ons to your app list. If you spend a lot of time on your smartphone, Les Fone can help you break your bad habits.
Action Launcher is a classic that stands side by side with Nova Launcher in terms of speed of customization and updates. It also helps to have a large user base of daily users. Action Launcher comes from Chris Lacy, the developer who created ActionDash. It provides digital security features to all Android phones regardless of the model or built-in software. If you install this add-on, it acts as an add-on and unlocks additional features that you can use, such as app usage data, focus mode, and more.
One of the best features is the side panel. Swiping left from the home screen opens a quick list of all your apps in alphabetical order, allowing you to open them quickly. If you only have one home screen, swipe right to open the widget drawer. You can drag and drop widgets here and arrange them similar to how iOS handles widgets.
The launcher is a more capable version of the Pixel Launcher that beats Lawnchair in terms of custom controls and add-ons. Some iOS features make the transition between iPhone and Android join the Action Launcher here, including widget packs, plus you can set custom folder icons or create app drawer folders, among many other small tweaks.
What is your favorite Android launcher?
The sheer number of options Android offers means you don't have to settle on our pick list. What is your favorite or most used launcher for Android? Tell us what you used and why in the comments section.
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