Smartphones start to blend together after a while, but luckily, if you’ve got Android phone, there’s a lot of opportunity for customization. We’ve put together a list of ways to customize your Android experience, including our 13 favorite launchers, apps for changing your lock screen, widgets, live wallpapers, and custom ROMs
At the core of Android’s user experience is the launcher. The launcher is basically what unifies your Android experience with your app menu, widget options, and of course the home screen. There are a number of launchers out there that offer unique ways to customize your visual experience with unique features, color options, and even entirely new ways to get content to your home screen.
Here are 13 of our favorite launchers that you can download right now.
The best Android launchers
As its name implies, the free ASAP Launcher is all about helping you navigate your mobile device as quickly and with as few taps as possible. You can “swipe left” to bring up a vertical, alphabetized list of all your apps, or “swipe right” to access quick settings like Airplane Mode. Finally, you can “swipe up” to open a drawer of your most frequently used apps. If you want more control over the launcher’s look and advanced features, you will need to upgrade to ASAP Prime.
Got an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean device that won’t be getting the coveted Nougat update? You can actually enjoy some of the sweet Nougat touches through the N-inspired New Launcher. The free app brings split screen multitasking, long-press menu button control, and a simplified quick settings toolbar in the spirit of Android 7.0. It also includes a RAM booster and a CPU Monitor to keep your device running in tip-top shape. Unfortunately, most of the special gesture controls are locked for the $3.87 Prime edition.
Rather than bring new features to your mobile device, the Hola Launcher optimizes from the inside-out to ensure the best possible user experience. Not only does Hola Boost clean up your system’s RAM usage to improve performance, App Manager also makes it easy to identify bloatware and uninstall useless apps to improve battery life. Best of all, its rotary-style UI elegantly switches between your favorite apps and quick access shortcuts, making it possible to handle phablets with just one hand.
Why waste time scrolling through an endless list of apps or tap out the name of the app you’re looking for, when there is an even more intuitive way to search through your mobile device? Simply draw the first letter of your desired app with your finger, and Z Launcher will figure out a list of apps that matches your on-screen scribble. Besides simplifying search, this Nokia-developed launcher will also learns your most often used apps and bring them to your home screen.
Sometimes, a mobile launcher just brings a new way of interacting with apps that makes it awesome. Unlike other launchers that try to limit your home screen clutter by showing as few apps and shortcuts as possible, Lens Launcher takes the opposite approach by displaying all your apps on your home screen, without any scrolling. Rather than rely on search to find a specific app, you use the customizable Fisheye lens to magnify and navigate all the tiny icons.