Nova Launcher is one of the most popular home screen replacements out there, and the developers are hard at work ensuring that this doesn't change any time soon. The latest update introduces even more ways to customize every aspect of your launcher's appearance. Anyone who makes the jump to version 2.2 will gain the ability to add backgrounds to their docks, customize the look of their unread badges, and dabble with new scroll effects. You'll need to have Nova Launcher Prime to utilize those last two, though.

What's new:

  • Custom Dock Styles
  • Custom Unread Count Badge Styles (Prime)
  • New scroll effects (Prime)
  • Optimizations and fixes

Nova has long granted us the ability to customize the number of icons on our docks and how much space they take up. You can use gestures to hide the dock, or set the dock as an overlay that can obscure the bottom of your home screens. Custom dock styles introduce yet another way to make your device distinct from any other. Just pick a background color or image and one of four available shapes. It works, but it's a little rough. Solid color backgrounds will probably clash with most setups unless you're using corresponding solid icons.

Nova1 Nova2

The same functionality has been extended to customizing badges - those little numbers that appear on top of apps with notifications to share. In addition to Nova Launcher Prime, users will also need TeslaUnread installed to take advantage of this feature.


If pimping out your home screen is too much work, selecting a new scroll effect goes a long way towards still drawing eyes to your device.


If you already have Nova installed, just check the Play Store for the update. Anyone who doesn't have Nova Launcher Prime already can make the $4 investment below.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Gsizzle

    Best. Launcher. Ever.

    • publow

      Yo Gsizzle,
      I'm real happy for you,
      I'ma let you finish.
      But Samsung TouchWiz is one of the best launchers of all time

      • mant0x

        TW is the WORST.

        • publow

          I know I know. I need help

      • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

        Up vote for the pic but Surely you can't be serious

        • Thomas Luscombe

          I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.

      • Asanka Amarasinghe

        Really, are you serious ???

      • BBXiong

        even with the picture, I find it hard to upvote you

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

    The dock just makes it look like iOS http://i.imgur.com/ZuHs7w6.jpg

    • Petr Minařík

      like a NICE iOS :))

    • Edward Germanotta

      Where did you find that dock?

      • Marco Kirk Biasin

        Did you read the article's title at least?

        • Edward Germanotta

          I'm asking the guy who publish the picture... And yeah I read the article... Now I see it in nova....

    • hyperbolic

      I must agree with you but I guess they are looking for "android" users that miss/want iOS style.

    • George Av


    • Tony

      What app icon pack is that from? I like the app launcher icon especially with that theme.

  • andrew zavala

    been an Apex guy since it first came out, but this does look appealing... hmmmmm

  • Danny Holyoake

    Oh thank god I hope it fixes the 4.3 widget bug where widgets weren't refreshing.

    • Thoast

      It doesn't... I'm a developer myself and started thinking that it was something wrong with my own widget! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=se.thoastproductions.flip.sms.widget

    • schneeland

      For me (Galaxy Nexus) it does - I just tried a couple of times with WiFi and everything worked as expected (again).

    • Simon Belmont

      That's weird. I'm running Android 4.3 on my GSM Galaxy Nexus and all my widgets refresh normally.

      I wonder what is causing this issue for some folks who've updated to Android 4.3. Very strange, indeed.

    • http://www.stevenmattera.com Steven Mattera

      I noticed my Google+ widget wasn't updating and my Smart Remote widget just stopped working altogether. I just updated Nova Launcher so lets see if this fixes these issues.

  • kindrudekid

    freaking go on sale already!

    • Simon Belmont

      I missed it when it was on the 25 cent sale last year on Google Play. But honestly, it's such a good launcher that it's totally worth the full price.

      Seriously, it's worth it. Go buy it.

      • Booyabobby

        I immediately jumped on Nova Launcher when it when on sale for 99 cents last year.

      • kindrudekid

        I know but I have imposed a policy on myself, not to buy any apps more than $2.

        • Danny365

          That's just sad.

        • Chris

          I used to be like this. I would never pay for an app because I could torrent it. Really though, this app keeps getting updates, and it's nice to have it easily update right from the Play store and not cost anything more than the original purchase price.

          The updates come because the developer/company is paid for their time in making the app. There's a trial. If you like it, support it.

          Buy the thing! Or you can just grab one unhealthy drink from Starbucks that's gone in 10 minutes, forever. Probably more than $4 too...

        • the_banned_one_returns

          Devs just love you ...

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        I remember that one. Regreted it so much not buying it then. Had to buy it at full price later. But this launcher being as good as it is, I guess it's worth it.

        • sivkai

          There's no guessing involved, it IS worth it ;)

  • skaterjosh98

    so I have all 3 and bought Prime and I dont get notification badges on things like whatsapp, updates from the play store (if they have them) and things like twitter and instagram. are those things supposed to work and Im not doing something right?

    • mant0x

      ATM there's no whatsapp, twitter or instagram support.

    • mrjayviper

      the unread feature supports a limited number of apps. it's not like iOS notifications where all apps are supported (this is probably done using some iOS SDK so devs can built it in).

      • http://www.stevenmattera.com Steven Mattera

        Yep under the UIApplication class it is "applicationIconBadgeNumber" and you can update the badge via push notifications or local notifications. Whereas TeslaUnread I can't even find an API for. I'm assuming the app makers would have to contact TeslaCoil to get support added for their app.

    • Sebastiaan Vos

      In order to get notififications for any program you want (including Whatsapp) you should install Missed It!. You can set it to monitor virtually any app which can generate an status bar notification.

  • Brittan Dopp

    I love the look, feel, and animations of stock android and haven't used a launcher on my phone since ADW on my old gingerbread device. However, there are a few things I miss about launchers, like customizable gestures and such. Do Nova or Apex let you default to stock settings and make adjustments from there, or would I have to work to make it look like and act like stock (with the default animations, icon spacing, etc)?

    • mant0x

      It looks exactly like stock, but let's you choose how you want your launcher to look and feel. Just try it, mate.

      • Brittan Dopp

        I'll give it a go. Thanks.

  • Régis Knechtel

    That's great! Unfortunately it doens't run as smooth as Apex on old devices, like mine :(

  • mant0x

    Very good launcher. Def best in the market ATM. using it since started to flash CM roms on my cellphone. Payed for more. Happy.

  • http://www.marklaflamme.com/ Mark LaFlamme

    Damn, Nova. I've always liked going from launcher to launcher to keep things fresh, but this one is so good, I'm not compelled to change. Ah, well. Guess I can use a little more consistency in my life.

  • wayne

    Hate touch wiz on galaxy s3 but nova launcher is perfect for me as I love the stock google.

  • http://dennisbareis.com/ Dennis Bareis

    Much better but I'd rather have the ability to customise icon's label text (text and background color) so I can read them on the backgrounds I'd really like to use instead of the ones that suit white labels.

    • mant0x

      Would be awesome :)

    • sivkai

      Well I know that you can edit the text itself on Nova.

  • john doe

    And still it isn't possible to auto sort frequently used apps on the first page. C'mon Nova Launcher! This would enhance the UX and isn't that hard to implement.

  • http://www.yepi8.org/ yepi 8

    good app

  • andrew__des_moines

    Most people like Nova for the customization; I have found it useful for non-techie friends and family to provide a consistent and intuitive experience. This is particularly helpful for devices like the HTC One, where the UI is highly specialized.

  • Skun QS

    How do i revert back to solid color once an image is chosen?!

  • Andy1223

    I've done the update but I still can't get the new 'Fill 'Mode' section on the 'Dock Style' settings page as it's shown in the first screenshots in the article. My 'Dock Style' page still looks like the screenshot on the left. I'm trying to get the 'Fill Mode' section like in the screenshot on the right. I'm specifically trying to use the 'Mirror' fill mode.

    I'm new to Nova Launcher but I think I've done all the necessary updates. I bought and installed Prime, joined the NL Google+ Beta Community, did the Opt-in to become a tester, and installed the beta update. When I initially updated to Prime (just yesterday) it had me on version 2.1, and this article says the changes come with 2.2. But when I intalled the beta update, it now has me on 2.3beta1.

    In settings under 'Nova Changelog' it says: "Current: 2.3beta1 Latest: 2.2.3"

    Any ideas? I'm using the Verizon Note 3 on Android 4.3.