Saturday, 20 September 2014

Changing Android Launcher


One of the most powerful feature of Android phone according to my opinion is the ability to customize the phone as per your requirements. When you boot up your phone the home screen that you see and the multiple apps screens you see when you click on the Apps shortcut icon (also called apps drawer) together form the launcher. Each Android phone has a default launcher but there are multiple 3rd party launcher Apps available of play store. When people generally talk about "stock Android" their context is about the features provided by the original Android OS (default ones). In this case it would be the default android launcher that comes with the OS provided by Google in the code.

In this post we will see how can we change the launchers in Android.

Launcher you may want to try out

Changing Android Launcher

There are two ways in which we can change the launcher.

  1. For download and install the launcher you want. If you have not tried any launchers before pick one from the above list.
  2. Next go to Apps (Settings -> Apps -> Navigate to All Apps). In this list find the Launcher App (the default one - as shown in the topmost screenshot). Tap on it.
  3. Tap on the Clear Default button. (If this button is greyed out take a look at Notes section below)This should clear your setting for default android launcher.
  4. Next time you click on Home button you will see all the available launchers to select from. You can select the one you have installed. 
  5. Again you will be prompted whether you want this launcher to be used Only once or Always. If you choose Only once you will be prompted to choose Launcher again next time you click on home button.


Alternate Way

Alternately there is an easier way to do this. There is Home category under Device section of Settings where you can directly choose your launcher. (If you do not see Home refer to Notes section below)



  1. If your Clear Default button is not clickable (greyed out)  then it means either you have already chosen a non default launcher or you have not installed any launcher (All you have is default one).
  2. If you do not see Home category in Device section of your settings that means you have not installed a Launcher or have never changes it before. Try installing the Launcher. If even now Home is not visible change the launcher using the 1st way (Clear Defaults) and then on you should be able to see the Home Category.
  3. Just for the record If you want your app to be recognized as a launcher it has to listen to tte android.intent.category.HOME intent. So basically when you click on Home button on main screen this intent is fired and all activities listening to this intent are shown. Sample manifest would be

        android:label="My Android Launcher"
          <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
          <category android:name="android.intent.category.HOME" />
          <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />

Screenshots of Aviate Launcher from my Moto E

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