A $16 Android launcher is a tough sell, but you can pick up a copy of Next Launcher 3D today for free. This alternative launcher is the work of the Go Launcher Dev Team, and the paid version has over 100,000 downloads, even at $16. Just a few keystrokes and you can have it for free, though. Even if the flashy UI isn't your speed, it's worth grabbing just to play around with.

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Download the trial version of Next Launcher 3D to get started, and choose Get Free when the splash screen comes up. To unlock it, open the menu and go into preferences. Since this interface is going to take some getting used to, I'll just let you know the menu button is in the far right dock position. In preferences, scroll all the way down and tap on About Full Version. Choose the Activate option, and put in "nextlauncher3d" as the account, and "appoftheday" as the code (both without the quotes). The app should be unlocked and you can play around without worrying about the trial period expiring.

2013-06-07 09.27.38 Screenshot_2013-06-07-07-19-46 2013-06-07 09.28.07

This unlock code is only valid today, and it won't tie the upgrade to your Google account permanently. So think about backing up the app using Helium or Titanium Backup if you want to be safe. Next Launcher also overrides the background image in all launchers when it's installed. You can change it back, but still a small annoyance. All the Go widget packs are installed separately, but they appear to all be free.


Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    It's so ugly i wouldn't even download it for free, would ruin the design of my HTC One.

    • Yale Lawyer

      Agreed! This app is hideous. They couldn't pay me $16 to use it.

      • La Masia


      • Mr. Baz

        I have the HTC one as well. With the right theme it is more elegant and functional than the stock sense o's.

    • Tim

      Yeah. I came to the same conclusion after watching that video. Thanks, but no thanks.

    • Da_James

      I got it a while ago, and while it looks ugly you can tone it down. And it got a lot of usefull tweaks, and the interface is really natural. I came from Nova and Apex (long time ago) and was pretty much surprised. But the 3d crystal thingy is nice to show your friends, btw....

    • Bo Price

      I've had the Next launcher since it came out and I love it! If you want to jump to conclusions go ahead, but it's free... Just play around with it for a couple of days and if you still don't like it there is still an uninstall option..

    • Eric James Salcido

      That's what themes are for. There's a lot of options out there. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gtp.nextlauncher.theme.jellybean&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5ndHAubmV4dGxhdW5jaGVyLnRoZW1lLmplbGx5YmVhbiJd Jelly bean theme that basically makes the phone look stock, but with the Next Launcher feel and effects.

    • http://GPlus.to/Abhisshack Abhisshack

      Could not agree more , though TSF Shell is better than this shit

    • Justin Winker

      Downloading now for free, just so I have it later if I want it. :)

    • troph

      And that's why we have themes...

    • SetiroN

      Says the guy using Sense.

    • Donald Meta

      Maybe because your phone is a shit...and shit phone's doesn't support great programs like NL

  • Sqube

    So when you say it "won't tie the upgrade to [my] Google account permanently," are you saying it'll revert to a trial version when it pushes an upgrade to the Play Store? That's how I'm interpreting it, anyway, but that seems nuts.

    • mechapathy

      I think he means if you wipe your device, change devices, or uninstall the app, you won't get the full version back.

      • evcon

        If it wasn't so ass-ugly I'd Titanium Backup, but it's not worth the time

  • mechapathy

    So the "floating" option is for masochists who'd like to hunt their apps before launching them? WTF?

  • https://twitter.com/#!/thedeusexmakina [J. B. cyruz]

    Freaky looking thing, but let's try this for giggles.

  • blahmoomoo

    Augh, my eyes... they don't know what to look at, especially when scrolling. Also, I couldn't immediately find a way to import the layout of another launcher.

    Back to Nova.

    • Myrick Johns

      try using the app found in the play store call desk migrate. it is free and it does exactly what you are asking.

      Hopefully everyone who sees this can look at it and try it. all you do is touch a button, and the app does it all for you.

  • La Masia

    anything from Go is a NO GO for me

    • http://damhamaza.com damhamaza

      agree. i really like the old "GO"..but now, too much resources they used...

      • Farid

        Also Ad and Spam (in Go SMS)

        • Austin

          I feel you on this. They got rid of backups through their app for the stupid cloud version that you had to make an account for then they started sending spam. What a shame

    • Rodz

      Their browser is pretty good, though. I was actually surprised by how good it is.

      • Matthew Fry

        Trying it out myself - I like the tab management way better than Chrome and it loads pretty damn fast. We'll see. I keep trying new browsers but continue to switch back to Chrome Beta for consistency and when Chrome starts acting up, the Samsung browser.

      • fixxmyhead

        Yea the browser is good and looks good too idk why people hate it. haters gonna hate. I love the swipe left for switching between tabs

    • SHeadius

      Here, have an upvote.

  • Ian Santopietro

    Effects for the sake of effects...

  • Andreas Brandenborg

    Not in Denmark... as usual.

  • bsinc1962

    So much for the free activation unless they're being overloaded.

  • bungadudu

    Tried it a few hours ago, maybe it has some cool effects, but it's just too much, so the end result is lame..

    What I really liked was being able to select any location and angle for the icons on the screen (would love to see this + resize in pixel steps any icon /widget in the next version on nova launcher)

    Anyway, already backed it up, maybe it will get better in time.

  • Droidweb

    The animations are smooth and some are amusing, but its just too much for the senses. Good design should get out of the way, not scream and beg for attention instead of handling the task at hand.

  • Eddie Rodriguez

    How do you get the splash screen to come up? I installed and waited but nothing happened? I deleted the data/uninstalled and tried again but nothing comes up.

    • Justin Winker

      If it doesn't come up for you, just press home, select Next Launcher Lite, hit the 3 dots on the right side of your dock (the Menu button), preferences, then About the Full Version. Hit Activate, enter the info above!

      • Eddie Rodriguez

        Thanks, that worked!

        • Justin Winker

          Glad it worked. Hope you like it. I personally prefer Sense over Next, but I'll be backing it up if I find it looking better in the future :)

      • iolax

        activation failed now...

        • Justin Winker

          It was one day only :(

  • George Av

    this is actually one of the worst launchers i have EVER used on my S3/..

  • Ramsey

    Thanks Android police for this post. Btw, you guys in the comments section are really being dramatic. It is not ugly, it is very smooth and nice to use. Lovely animations. You can change the theme/icons to sense 5, Xperia z, or any other available one. It is however better to use on a device with min 1GB RAM with dual core, though it works great on my i9000 Galaxy S1 4.1.2.

    • http://GPlus.to/Abhisshack Abhisshack

      do you know that "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder"

      • Ramsey

        Yes I know, but you can change the theme to no longer make it look like "Next Launcher" without losing the smoothness and features of Next. It is not a bad launcher, most people are just being dramatic.

        • http://GPlus.to/Abhisshack Abhisshack

          yes and how dare they gone against your opinion, freewill are corrupting every one i guess /s

        • Truth1

          Saying something looks ugly is "dramatic?" You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Juston Li

    Initially was gonna get it just because it is normally $16. I never payed any attention to it before because it was $16. While reading the instructions, noticed it is butt ugly (complete opposite of Google minimalistic) and eventually I was too lazy to follow through because theres no way in hell I would replace Action Launcher with it.
    At this point if you haven't already, I'd recommend buying Action Launcher (which has a much more reasonable price) because of its great features rather than the pointless flashy animations here. The dev is great and constantly innovating.

    • Elislurry

      Nice try Action Launcher Dev.

  • Elislurry

    Alot of complaining for a free app, I just installed and am messing with different themes, its actually damn smooth and pretty awesome. Its fun to have a little flash now and again.

    • Shawn Suther

      I don't think it's called "complaining" when it's actually an opinion about an otherwise very expensive app. If a company feels the need to charge that much, they should be ready to accept people having opinions about it, including negative ones. It's easily the worst $16 I've ever spent, and in hindsight, would not use it for free.

    • Matthew Fry

      Android people seem to value utility over flashiness. I for one, tried it and went, "cool!" And then the second time I used my phone I went, "Ok... why is the app drawer button jiggling..." and the third time, I went, "All done, back to more utilitarian launcher."

  • RolyColey

    The upgrade isn't working for me. After I type in "nextlauncher3d", I get a message saying, "the format of the account is incorrect." I go on to type in the password and it won't let me activate the full version. Any help?

    • Ashish Raj

      Hope u r typing it without the quotes!

      • RolyColey

        I am haha.

    • fixxmyhead

      Erase and Retype it again. Same thing happened to me too

    • Ádám Zovits

      I got the same error message after pasting the account name using ShareKM. I found out it was because SKM tends to insert invisible extra characters after pasting a text. After deleting those characters (pressing backspace until a visible character disappeared) I managed to activate successfully.

      • RolyColey

        This worked! Thanks!

        • Brandon Bradley


    • Isidhu

      make sure your keyboard is not putting a space before or after the account. Mine did and i went back to delete it. It works

    • dobbsy

      Me either. But I'm seeing "Activate failed."

    • UnderSoft


  • Steven Z

    Not sure why people complain about this app. It runs extremely smoothly on my Xperia Arc S, which is nothing short of a miracle considering this is an old phone. Much better performance than Yandex.Shell, that's for sure (love both launchers btw).

  • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

    Ok so when do I get my Sentinal Homeworld mech. I swear this UI remindes me of that game.

  • mic

    Thank you androidpolice, you are the best!!!! :)

    • LadyDi


  • jesuguru

    When I click "Get Full Version" it says "Install Play Store first". Can't do that on my Chinese Note 2 (restricted here), any way to activate without Play Store installed?

    • Justin Winker

      Don't select Get Full Version - it's the About the Full Version option, then click Activate.

  • LadyDi

    I think this looks crazy insane and yet it makes me wonder how much of a battery hog it is?!?! At any rate The Freebie Queen WILL try it if it is still available FOR FREE. I purchased that OTHER expensive launcher and do not use it on the cell at all. It is on the tablet when I do use it though.

    • LadyDi

      Thanks Ryan AndroidPolice.com for posting this.

  • Marcell Lévai

    I downloaded it, just to try it. I don't understand how people don't see it's a complete ripoff. You get a launcher, that looks ridiculously ugly, is full of self advertising, and lacks proper customization. The themes are even worse, many of the free ones require A LOT of permissions, can read your data, etc. And I simply don't want to pay for a theme after paying 16 bucks for a launcher.

  • taz89

    Gave it ago but not for me.. Went back to nova after like 5min..effects are nice and smooth but that's all really.. For me there just to much happening.

  • OscarAguilera

    At least the Next Browser is good...

  • fzammetti

    Just my opinion, but I like this launcher a lot. I freely admit I'm a sucker for eye candy and this has it in spades while still being very smooth. You can make it as garish as you want, or tone it way down, whatever you prefer, just takes some settings tweaking. I actually bought the thing a few weeks back when is was on sale for like $5 or something like that, so of course that sucks for me today :( All that being said, I am in fact back to Nova now for one reason alone: this launcher more than a few times has failed to stay memory-resident, and that 10-second startup time, while it would be fine it I only ever saw it after a reboot, isn't as cool if it happens 2-3 times a day. To be clear, it doesn't appear to force-close, it just seems to have to restart (the difference really doesn't matter I suppose!). For free I'd most definitely recommend grabbing it. I too got turned off to Go, the launcher and SMS apps specifically, due to the advertising... but at least so far, Next doesn't seem to suffer from that. It's well worth free IMO, even worth a few dollars (not the regular price I'd say, but I've yet to see ANY launcher worth that much!)

  • WilliamSurname

    I tried it out, but it's just so much less customizable than Nova Launcher. Next Launcher is either garish dock or no dock at all, for example.

  • jack

    This reminds me of the car Homer Simpson designed.

  • http://www.geekchoice.com/washington-dc Dagmar Schneitz

    The most I've ever paid for an app is five dollars. I want to keep it that way.

  • A.Noid

    It didn't accept the free update credentials. Tried them several times. Not sure it would have mattered anyway. I love Nova Launcher.

  • Zach B.

    Thanks! Worked great for me. Though I went back to Nova after 10 minutes of playing with next launcher.. Glad to have the paid version though if it ever gets improvements. :)

  • Matthew Fry

    Well that didn't take long. Got fed up with it, backed it up, and uninstalled it.

  • jeffmd

    Still getting the hang of things. You have to download practically everything manually. I'm also not understanding a few things like why the hot key bar (for wifi/gps/silent ect) is not using the custom one I create. Also it seems like some app don't understand you are using the pay version and have some included advertising prompts. Still it looks like its smoother on my evo 3d then Sense so I am going to keep at it.

    Btw a tip for those having activation issues, DON'T let the keyboard capitalise the first letter. If it does and you hit enter it will say invalid format and block out the activation button forcing you to back out of the window. Fixing it won't reactivate the button.

  • biggerguysf

    OMG I love this freakin launcher! So glad you posted the free deal!

  • Bazar6

    I don't judge an app by it's screenshots, unless it just looks completely horrible. Gave this a try though, it's a little too flashy for me. Simple Trebuchet works good enough for me.

  • Daryl Bennett

    Seems like an unnecessary resource hog

  • Donald Tabor

    I think its cool just to play around with... thats what I wanted really nothing permanent and its free glad I seen this

  • Phenom91

    Dude u just made my day .
    thank you very much.
    Now ill be checking androidpolice.com every hour to catch such great deals :)

  • Pritam
  • Lalit Mali

    Got it just to have it. But it's ugly as hell! Uninstalled!

  • DW Duck

    I bought this asp a long time ago. Never any adds, no popups. You can customize this anyway you want. Best launcher I have ever had. And yes I've used just about all of them.

  • Ashish kumar chaubey


  • 2LadyDi

    If I could get past the hoops and loops they take you through for the lock screen (Go Locker) it would be a keeper. Shame because I just set it all up only to find out Getjar Gold or craziness with Google Play Store for a FREE panel that will not allow you to pay thru Google Play. WOW. Unbelievable. If anyone has any help with this please let me know.

  • firmanmoktar

    Can u give new code..please..

    • WHO?

      lol That was for one day "appoftheday"

  • Liz Linton

    for me it is not working why??after i activate it,it is showing me this.

  • Liz Linton

    for me it is not working why??after i activate it,it is showing me this.

  • Tintin

    Doesn't work!