TeslaCoil Software's Nova Launcher has become one of the most popular custom launchers for Android power users since shortly after the arrival of Ice Cream Sandwich, and part of the reason is the constant addition of new features. The latest revision (2.1) adds a whole lot of goodies, especially if you like to play around with the look and feel of your icons and themes. The release adds features both for free users and those who've bought the $4 Nova Launcher Prime. The app is still compatible with devices running Android 4.0 or higher.

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The first thing you'll notice is the new entry in the Settings menu, New Apps. Inside you'll find options to automatically add new app shortcuts (or not) and which page to place them on. If the page is full, they can go to a secondary page. The menu notes that the similar setting in the Play Store should be disabled if the user intends to add new shortcuts for every new app. Nova Launcher Prime users can now drag a shortcut folder from the drawer straight to the desktop, quickly creating a link to an often-used group of apps. Drag it to the spiffy new Edit dynamic area instead, and you can add new folders without having to dig into the Settings menu.

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Shortcuts themselves have more options: there's a new, paginated icon chooser that quickly switches between stock and themed options, and icons in the drawer can now be selected independently from the applied theme (or lack thereof). So say your favorite theme's Facebook icon sucks, but you never place the Facebook shortcut on a homescreen anyway. Now you can change it in the shortcut drawer with no trouble. The wallpaper selection screen works in the same way. On top of all that, there are the standard optimizations and bug fixes.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • DanSan

    love the TF2 themed wallpaper in the first screenshot lol

    • http://www.facebook.com/amishcrusader Shane Capuano

      Needs more hats.

    • LokiRagnarok

      Any idea of the source for this wallpaper? I must have it. o_o

      • Jeremiah Rice

        I actually made the wallpaper myself. You're welcome to it, though it's sized for my Droid Razr M (960x540) so it might not be big enough for newer phones or tablets. Here it is: http://imgur.com/yd1Fnbg

        • Stingray

          Thank you So much! I really appreciate it!

        • Stingray

          I have a huge favor to ask you.... can you please make the background Black? This wallpaper is perfect but I cant figure out how to make the background Black :(

          • Jeremiah Rice

            We aim to please.

          • Andrea

            If it's not too much trouble, could you please make a bigger one? (1280x768px would be perfect!)

          • Stingray

            You my friend are an amazing person! Thank you!!!!

  • nsnsmj

    That new wallpaper and icon selector is really great, and it looks good too. The ability to drag an app drawer folder to the home screen is great too, since it stays in sync with the app drawer folder. For example, you can remove an app from the folder on the desktop, and it'll also be removed from the drawer folder. Really cool.

  • http://twitter.com/justinlself Justin Self

    My fav. tablet launcher :)

  • AndrewNeo

    Wow, this is really awesome. Glad to be supporting them!

  • Ray

    Love Nova. Used it for quite some time now and it just keeps getting better. Worth every cent for Prime.

  • Nasko Hristov

    My first bought was Nova Prime, I will never regret and forget about it. I find it the best launcher out there.

    • http://twitter.com/Alankrut Alankrut Patel

      My first was ADW. It was the best pre-ICS launcher available. Anyone else remember the good old days with adw launcher?

      And yes, Nova Prime is excellent

      • gladgura

        My first was Openhome for my HTC G1 Dream. Sluggish as hell. but really cool at the time.

        • http://twitter.com/Alankrut Alankrut Patel

          Openhome was a cool one for the time. Does anyone remember Panda Home?

  • http://profiles.google.com/mformarcee Marcell Lévai

    Yay! New bug! :( Sometimes I can't return zo the desktop with back button, itt show an empty page with my wallpaper (maybe the app switcher without apps?)

    • http://twitter.com/miltonjones14 miltonjones

      I just start℮d 6 w℮℮ks agℴ this w℮b iℕcℴm℮ syst℮m that my fri℮ℕd r℮cℴm℮ℕd℮d tℴ m℮ aℕd I'v℮ gℴtt℮ℕ 2 ch℮cks fℴr a tℴtal ℴf $2,200...this is the b℮st d℮cision I mad℮ in a lℴℕg tim℮! "Thaℕk yℴu Lisa fℴr giviℕg m℮ this ℮xtraℴrdiℕary ℴppℴrtuℕity tℴ mak℮ ℮xtra mℴℕ℮y frℴm hℴm℮. This ℮xtra cash has chaℕg℮d my lif℮ iℕ sℴ maℕy ways, thaℕk yℴu!" You can see all about it here> ...Gig90.com


    The best launcher (IMO) :D

  • Andrea

    Guys, do you prefer Nova or Apex? And why?

    • flosserelli

      They are both solid launchers and run circles around any stock launcher. Both have tons of options. I have paid versions of both, but I started using Nova more often and stuck with it. I have not used Apex in months, but I believe their feature set is comparable to Nova. Try both and see which one suits you best.

      • Andrea

        I've been a sad panda too many times because of other lost datas..

      • http://twitter.com/n3xas Mantas Marma

        You can backup to external memory in Nova, I do that all the time

        • flosserelli

          Really? Please share the secret. Under Backup & Import > File Location, I see


          Which is the internal memory on my Note 2. When I tap the field, it does not give me the option to change it.

    • http://twitter.com/NiknidhoggLoL NiknidhoggLoL

      Nova is often faster, and for that reason is my favorite

    • Stegbeetle

      Both good pieces of work. Apex seems a little smoother and more fluid to me, though.

    • http://twitter.com/n3xas Mantas Marma

      Apex was a bit laggy for my (at least compared to Nova). Other than that they are very similar with similar customization options

    • Al McDowall

      I used Apex for a long time but then switched to Nova because, for some reason, Apex had a problem with displaying Metrostation icons. Since I changed, I have grown to really like Nova and have no reason to swap back. However, aside from a couple of very small differences, both launchers are equally excellent.

    • Danny Lewis

      Nova is a bit less laggy for me. They are both great pieces of software, however.

  • BubbleSort

    Two days ago I was googling on how to change icons in my app drawer. I'm glad this became a feature so that I don't need to pester icon pack devs to create icons for blur.

  • votdfak

    Nova fixed app drawer annoying lag on my Nexus 4. And if it's just that, It's worth it. I don't know why Google can't fix basic stuff, embarrassing. Not mentioning gazillion other features Nova has. Great launcher.

  • Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

    Does anyone know how to build themes for this launcher?... Go Launcher has a good method for people to build for their launcher...

  • http://www.facebook.com/Rockabilly304 Ron Hartley

    I used go launcher....and a few others and this Nova launcher is my favorite. ....iv used it on the past 3 smartphones I'm owned

  • Markoff

    Can it handle change of home screen grid dimensions when switching from Portrait mode to Landscape or is it same crap as previous version of Nova, Holo, Apex or ADW which work fine only with square grid.

    Test scenario - use 5 columns, 7 rows grid for portrait and same size (7 columns, 5 rows) for landscape to see if all icons are displayed properly without overlapping or resizing having same size as in Portrait mode.

  • http://www.facebook.com/larsole.huneke Lars-Ole Huneke

    Is there the possibility to ser for each
    Homescreen an other wallpaper?

  • paperpilot

    How can I create a new folder in the latest version of Nova? The instructions I found are for a previous version of the launcher. Is the ability to create new folders limited to Nova Prime this time around?

  • nh haa

    Need update