Launcher Tutorial

One of the most-used customization features in Android is the ability to change your device’s launcher. This allows you to customize the look and feel of your home screen, app icons, as well as functionality of the app drawer and folders on your device. This comes especially in handy when you don’t like your device’s customized skin — like TouchWiz on Samsung devices or EMUI on Huawei devices…

Note: These steps might differ from device to device but this tutorial should give you general overview of how to switch between third-party Launchers.

For this tutorial, I will be completing the setup process using one of the most popular launchers, Nova Launcher. While this launcher has a lot of additional settings under its hood, I will only be walking you through the initial setup process and how to switch between different third-party launchers. Additionally, I will show you how to switch between third-party launchers and for that, I will be switching between Nova Launcher, Google Now Launcher, and the leaked Pixel Launcher.

Finding and installing your launcher

Launcher Tutorial Install

As with any type of application that you might want, you can either do some research into what different launchers offer or just do a quick ‘launcher’ search in the Google Play Store and scroll through the different options made available to you. As stated above, each launcher offers different kinds of customization and functionality. If you do not know which launcher is best for your needs, I suggest downloading two or three launchers and seeing which works best for you.

After you have installed your third-party launcher, click on the Open button in the Play Store listing and the launcher will walk you through the steps of setting it as your default launcher and any other setup process that it might require to work properly.

Changing your default launcher

Launcher Tutorial Switching

Once you have a launcher installed and set up, there is not much else you need to worry about. When you want to switch to a different launcher, all you have to do is make one quick change in the settings menu.

Note: The home launcher settings location varies between devices.

On the Nexus 6P, this is how you change your default launcher:

  • Go to your phone’s Settings app
  • Scroll down to Apps which is under the Device subheading
  • Click on the Gear icon in the upper right-hand side of the screen which will take you to the Configure apps menu
  • Tap on Home app and a dialog window will appear asking you to select a launcher to set as your default

Below is a handful of the other variations of the above steps that we found:

  • Moto Z: Settings > Home
  • Nexus 6P: Settings > Apps > Advanced > Home
  • Honor 8: Settings>Apps>Advanced>Home
  • IDOL 4S: Settings > Home
  • LG G4: Settings > Display > Home Screen
  • Galaxy Note 7: Settings > Applications > Default Applications > Home Screen

When you do not have a default launcher

Launcher Tutorial Default

Every time a new launcher is downloaded to a phone or tablet, Android will automatically ignore your launcher preference and prompt you to set a new preference whenever you hit the home button. If you want to quickly jump between launchers so that you can play with with different features, just click Just Once every time and a new default will not be set. When you have decided on one, click Always and that launcher will be set as your default.

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About the Author

Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at Tips are always welcome.