Best 7 Android Launchers – February 2016 Edition

If you’re a user of Android you may already know what launchers actually are. Those are the programs which lets you open up different apps, categorize them and responsible for making your device more user friendly.

One of the beauties of Android is how Android lets you create your own launchers if you’re a developer or use different launchers for getting a better experience unlike Windows Phone or iPhone/iPad/iPod etc. In this article I write about the top 7 launchers for Android which I think everyone should try. Each of them is really popular and has a lot of potential. I have added a poll as well for all you people to vote for your favorite launcher. Please note that I am not ordering the launchers according to their ranks or anything as such. These are the launchers which I found pretty interesting and there is no actual reason for me to rank them.

Google Now Launcher

googlenowThis might come as a surprise to some but chances are that if you are using a Samsung, HTC or any other major brand on your mobile phone you still haven’t tried the true stock Android launcher. Most brands have their own launcher shipped with the phone.

Google Now Launcher is a launcher that is stripped down to the bare minimum without being dull or boring, it just does what it supposed to while looking great in a very minimalistic way. So if your running a the stock launcher from e.g. Samsung out advice is to try this true vanilla Android launcher.

Yahoo Aviate Launcher

Yahoo Aviate Launcher was released last year and is quite different in how it works. This is the launcher I am currently using for my Android device. The launcher is pretty awesome and will give you a whole different experience on your Android device. If it makes you feel any better, this launcher was recently acquired by YAHOO!.  This app changes your device throughout the day.

Here is how the developers describe it.

Aviate automatically categorizes all of your apps, and intelligently rearranges your homescreen throughout the day to dynamically give you the apps and information you need most, at precisely the moment you need it.

Aviate is an intelligent homescreen that simplifies your phone and surfaces information at the moment it’s useful.

Aviate LauncherNow coming to the features, the launcher has mainly three screens, the home screen, then the collections screen and then the A-Z list of apps. The home screen will let you add any widgets or apps which you might find important. The collections screen is responsible for categorizing the apps to different sections so that you don’t have do it manually. But if you see some apps categorized in the wrong way you’ll be able to re arrange it manually.

Here are the major features as described by Aviate which in my opinion works flawlessly.

  • Wake up, and Aviate automatically brings you weather and your meetings for the day
  • When you’re at work, have all the apps you need to get your job done ready to go
  • When driving, Aviate automatically gives you traffic and directions home
  • Out to dinner, Aviate automatically shows you photos, tips and reviews for your favorite restaurant.
  • When plugging in your headphones, Aviate shows you music apps with relevant information about the artist/band you’re listening to, including recent Tweets, upcoming concerts, and bios.
  • Update: Supports custom icon packs

Come on, try it and let us know what do you think about it. Aviate gives you a new experience with Android and is definitely worth a try, though it might not be for everyone.

Smart Launcher 2(Free/Paid)

Smart Launcher 2 For AndroidThis is another of those immensely popular launchers. Smart Launcher is being used by over 6 millions of Android users and has an overall rating of 4.5 stars. Now I know this is not enough for most people. So let’s dive into the details and features. The new trend is minimalistic and flat. And just like Nova launcher this one too offers a very minimalistic interface and uses very low resources. The PRO version of the app has some additional features which the free version doesn’t have.  These features include a secondary screen where you will be able to place widgets and include a lock screen as well. Another difference is in the number of transitions and colours available for the home screen customization.

If you’re new into android launchers, then you have to know that being minimalistic doesn’t mean it has fewer features. It has a lot of awesome features of which I have given a few below.

– Drawer organized by categories
– Ready to use without further configurations.
– Customizable lock screen.
– Full support for API 4.4 (transparent system bars)
– Live Wallpaper Support.
– It supports every screen and device (Google TV too!!)
– Widget support (PRO version only).
– Support of set of icons for ADW Launcher, Apex Launcher, Nova Launcher and Launcher Pro.
– Possibility to change a single icon in the drawer.
– You can hide every app you want by long pressing an app, then select menu → Hide.
– Quick search.
– Dozens and dozens of global themes, which will allow you to change all elements of the interface.
– Easy access to apps info.
– Designed to be used comfortably also in landscape mode.
– Option to hide the statusbar.

Nova Launcher (Free/Paid)

Nova launcher is a launcher that definitely deserves a mention here. Most of the internet polls about android launchers show that this one is easily one of the best and most popular launchers for android. Nova launcher is popular for its simplicity and its ease of use. There are no complicated feature whatsoever in Nova. But want to know why I included Nova in the list, read on.

Nova is a performance driven and bug free launcher which works flawlessly even if you have a lot of opened apps at any given moment. The major features include availability if different themes, transparent notification bar, availability of icon themes, support for Go Launcher/ADW Launcher icon themes, customizable app drawer, folders, availability of folder icons, widget overlapping feature etc. Some of the features are available only in the paid version of the app. But you won’t be missing out much even if you’re using the free version. Nova-Android-Launcher

Would like to know more? Why don’t you give it a try and see if this is a launcher which suits you?

Apex Launcher (Free/Paid)

apex-launcher-screens-bestThis launcher offers a similar range of functions as Nova. You can tweak the icon tray size and scrolling, change animations, adjust home screen behaviors, and customize gesture commands for various pinches, taps, and swipes. Standout features on Apex include a superb tablet mode – which finally allows users of the Nexus 7 to rotate the home screen – and the Pro version has the fantastic Apex Notifier service, which pushes notifications to a widget on your home screen.  Infinite scrolling, transition animations, numerous folder styles and multiple app drawer styles add even more customizability. Furthermore, the paid version unlocks even more options, such as more drawer options, additional gestures, and added theme support. There are a wide range third party themes available in the Google Play Store which let you change the overall look of your Android experience, but as a functional core, Apex does extremely well.

To sum it up, here are the core features of the Apex Android Launcher (Basic Version). To check the Pro version features, click here

  • Customizable homescreens and grid size
  • Scrollable dock
  • Infinite & elastic scrolling
  • Fancy transition effects
  • Customizable app and folder icons
  • Multiple drawer styles
  • Drawer apps sorting
  • Hide apps from the drawer
  • Enjoy homescreen gestures
  • Backup/restore settings and data

Buzz Launcher

Buzz Android LauncherUnlike many other android launchers, Buzz launcher doesn’t come with a proprietary Android look. It has a unique look which again can be customized as you like it. Moreover you can simply choose to use a custom home screen or themes which is created and shared by other Buzz users by installing it on your smartphone. That way you don’t have to use your imagination to create a stunning home screen. Below are some of the key features of Buzz Launcher.

  • Select different wallpaper images for each screen
  • Edit and resize icons on your own. Transparent icons are also supported (Theme icon pack is to be supported)
  • Designate different grids for each screen (up to 12×12)
  • Create folders in app drawers/Homescreen, modify folder images, and resize folders
  • Features for viewing most frequently used apps, recently installed apps, and hiding apps
  • Glide up, Glide down, Double-tap and more.
  • Very simple – Homescreens downloaded and implemented within 5 seconds

[/sociallocker]So that’s it. If you would like to customize your custom launcher again by installing icon packs, be sure to check out list of top 5 icon packs of 2015. Now please do vote for your favorite launcher below and share your thoughts. If you have different favourite launcher, please do let us know that too by commenting below.

Action Launcher 3

Action-Launcher-3The Action Launcher 3 seems to be gaining a lot of ground fast and for a good reason. This Launchers offers many advanced and yet easy to use features.  This theme has fully embraced Android Lollipop, and works brilliantly with devices that have received the coveted update. A slide-out app drawer provides users with quick access to their app library and widgets (with alphabetical sort keys), and special gestures such as “covers” (performed on top of a folder icon allow you to run given apps or shortcuts) and “shutters” (swipes on app icons to automatically display widgets) allow for speedy access.

• Quicktheme. In true Material Design fashion, the colors from your wallpapers are extracted, and used to customize the look of your layout. The Quickdrawer, folder background, Google Search box and more can all be themed with your wallpaper.
• Covers, an innovative take on folders that lets you launch apps and shortcuts without compromising the look of your carefully crafted home screen.
• Shutters, a unique feature that unlocks the power and potential of Android widgets. Swipe an app icon, and that app’s widget is automatically created and displayed.
• Quickdrawer, for instant access to all your apps.
• Fully customizable All Apps list.
• Quickpage, a fully-featured Home screen accessed from the right screen edge.
• Use icon packs, scale icons and change individual icons.
• Full tablet support.
• A wealth of options for you to customize and tweak your layout as you see fit.

Note: Some features require the Plus in-app upgrade.

38 Comments
  1. Reply
    Smilz Feb 16, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Hi, I read your article and I’m really fond of Aviate. Can you send me an invitation for it? Thank you very much.

  2. Reply
    Shock Feb 16, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I use Nova Launcher on my HTC One and Nexus 7, and it’s awesome. By turning off animations, it makes the entire OS super snappy. It also gets rid of the HTC skin my One.

  3. Reply
    Shock Feb 16, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Nova Launcher is my favorite, although I have never used any of the other ones. Turning off animations makes my devices as fast as ever. (sorry if this is a double post, I’m not sure if it posted the first one)

    • Reply
      Plato P Mar 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Yes I agree, Nova launcher is my second favorite too. The only better launcher I have ever tried is the Aviate one! :)

  4. Reply
    Marcos Feb 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Can you send me and Avaite code? I wish test the launcher, I bought nova but last version has a lot of bugs

  5. Reply
    FrownBuzzy Mar 6, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Noob question:
    I note that some launchers are designed slim for speed etc which appeals to me. Is this really only beneficial on a Nexus type device or will the launcher perform the same on a Galaxy/HTC/etc device where you’re using it in place of the corporate launcher.

    In other words (and possibly different question altogether:) Do these launchers run in place of a launcher like TouchWiz or Sense OR do they simply cover them up and sit on top of them with ALL of it taxing the hardware of the phone?

    Thanks for any help!
    -FB

    • Reply
      Plato P Mar 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      Hey there,
      Actually when you install a second launcher, both the system one and the custom one will be in the memory. But once you kill the system launcher it will be removed from the memory and will not be active until you restart your device.

      Now if you have rooted your device you can install Titanium Back up pro and freeze the system launcher to make it stop completely so that it will not be active ever again. That is unless of course you defrost it manually by using the same app. I personally prefer this method.

      • Reply
        FrownBuzzy Mar 6, 2014 at 8:22 pm

        Thank you for the reply, Plato P…
        I’m a long-time iPhone user that is studying available hardware and software options to make the transition to Android. So far I’m just getting it in bits and pieces.

        • Plato P Mar 7, 2014 at 2:34 am

          Aah ok. Well, you can ask us any doubts you have while you’re still deciding on it. :)

  6. Reply
    Ba Ah Mar 9, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks for the informative review. I look forward to trying out the new aviate launcher. I would appreciate if you could send me an invite code so I can try out the launcher.

  7. Reply
    Abhi Mar 10, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Hey. I already subscribed, but didn’t get the code yet. Please send it fast? :P

  8. Reply
    Endous Apr 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Can u give me a code pls? :D

  9. Reply
    Andrew Apr 23, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Hello!

    Congratulations for your well-written article!
    However, I’d like to know what launcher is used by the phone on the cover photo
    (http://cdn.technewscentral.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Best-5-Android-launchers.jpg)

    Thank you, and keep up the good work!

    • Reply
      Plato P Apr 23, 2014 at 3:54 am

      Thanks for commenting. The launcher shown in the cover photo is Buzz launcher.

  10. Reply
    kiddo May 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    i recommend TSF launcher one of the best launcher i came across try TSF launcher im telling u guys this launcher will not let u disappoint

    • Reply
      Plato P May 18, 2014 at 12:13 am

      Thanks for replying. I will definitely try that launcher. :)

  11. Reply
    Rizu May 26, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    These 5 android launchers are really awesome … thanks for sharing … i personally use nova launcher which is one of the best android launcher i again thanks to you admin

  12. Reply
    Zain Asif May 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Whats about next launcher 3d shell

  13. Reply
    league of legends build elise Jun 1, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I’m now not positive the place you are getting your information, however great topic.
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  14. Reply
    raj karmakar Jun 2, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I hv used all off the above launcher but i found nova launcher one of the best .. I need help from the admin while i m using i tried to keep my wallpaper on the screen but evrerytime i hit the home screen i see the wallpaper gets blurred … Its really annoying …
    Thanks in advance

  15. Reply
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  16. Reply
    Colin Jun 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I am surprised there is no mention of Apex launcher. When I my first Android two years ago I looked at a good few and came up with a short list of Nova and Apex. After a few weeks of both I found Apex marginally better, but both were great and could have used either.

    • Reply
      Johnathan Li Feb 13, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Latest update to Apex throws up plenty of extremely bad reviews due to a new “unlucky” feature added.

  17. Reply
    Ankit Nair Jun 9, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    How’s the buzz launcher……….

  18. Reply
    oreo Jun 15, 2014 at 1:04 am

    I am looking for thr name of the homepack for the secons picture in the Buzz launcher picture…

  19. Reply
    Debojit Gogoi Jun 21, 2014 at 6:10 am

    i installed aviary launcher & it gives me to subscribe the launcher.. after subscribing it’s shows enter the code but i don’t receive my code…. what i should do now.????? please help

  20. Reply
    Akshay Ca Jun 25, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Try dodol launcher.I think it is better than these launchers.

    • Reply
      everrose May 3, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      Dodol looks great. However, after a period of use, it slows down your phone, especially if you have many apps installed.

      • Reply
        Lane Lester Mar 23, 2016 at 9:39 pm

        I’m sorry to see that. I saw a review of dodol that made plan to use it.

  21. Reply
    Howi Hoj Oct 30, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I have been using go launcher pro for quite sometime on all my devices, nexus 7 2012 and 2013, Samsung S2 and S3. Since the past 2/3 updates I’ve been having loads of problems, on my S3 I started noticing my home screen icons showing as installing and in my app draw the associated app was missing and lately my Nexus7 kept on freezing and rebooting, I have removed launcher go and now it has remained stable for past 2 days

  22. Reply
    Jutin Mar 30, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Thanks for sharing! Impressive. I still want to add one: Launcher 8! Really enjoy this experience.

  23. Reply
    Ruffin Apr 9, 2015 at 7:34 am

    I have used Launcher 8 for years. I love the Windows phone style so much. It’s my #1. However, you still have the great topic.

  24. Reply
    Harold Cabale Pacris Nov 26, 2015 at 3:46 am

    solo launcher is the best

  25. Reply
    Wu Qing Mar 3, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Large Launcher is the best for seniors and children!

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