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KitKat introduces a lot of much-needed features into Android, like better support for low-memory devices, a new storage framework, SMS integration with BLAH BLAH BLAH. We all know what the people want: transparent user interface elements! Following Nova Launcher's update to better visually match the KitKat launcher on the Nexus 5, popular alternative Apex Launcher now has a beta version that does much the same thing.

Screenshot_2013-11-20-14-05-17 Screenshot_2013-11-20-14-05-34 Screenshot_2013-11-20-14-04-59

The beta version was released to the Apex Launcher Beta Google Group, which you can find here. Then click this link and follow the instructions to download the APK itself (it won't let you through if you're not a member). There don't appear to be many other substantive changes in version 2.2, though the developer has tweaked the default home screen icons and other visuals to match the homescreen in Android 4.4.

As with Nova, you won't get the nifty integration with Google Now found on Google's launcher, but for picky users (like yours truly) the bevy of customization and visual options that come from the third-party launcher more than make up for that. The developer hasn't said when these changes will make it to the general Play Store version, but I'd expect it will be sooner rather than later. Want to apply those nifty Nexus 5 wallpapers? Check them out here.

Source: Apex Launcher Google Group - thanks, TheManii!  

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.
  • marycontrary

    What's fancy navigation?
    Why do people prefer Apex over Nova? I don't think I've given Apex enough of a chance.. I've been on Nova for at least 2 years.

    • IrishSid

      Lol, nova xD

      • marycontrary

        Sid, tell me wuy you laugh at me!

        • Dean

          Because you still use nova! XD

          • x

            wow mate you are so helpful

          • Arthur Dent


      • Arthur Dent


      • ad

        Anytime a new product comes out, there are always morons who like to LOL at people who use the better product.

    • Phil Oakley

      Not a terribly well written headline - bit ambiguous. The 'fancy navigation' bit means transparent navbar.

      • marycontrary

        Thank you :3

    • mlj11

      I prefer Apex on my N7 because of its tablet mode.

      • bse88

        More free gestures in Apex too

    • Matt Dowdy

      They're pretty much exactly the same but nova wins for me over apex because nova allows me to assign a swipe gesture to every app to give it a secondary function I.e I have the Facebook app on my homescreen but I'm also an admin for my work Facebook but I don't want pages manager on my home screen even though it's a regularly used app so I've assigned a swipe gesture on the Facebook app to open pages manager, likewise for spotify is assigned to a swipe on the stock music app, Netflix on the stock video app etc, that's why I prefer nova over apex

  • http://aurielle.cz/ Aurielle

    Is there any way to manually enable 'fancy navigation' on lower Androids, like a setting Nova has? (for ROMs that are not KitKat but support it)

    • Michael

      Most likely not as the ability to change this is 4.4 only I think.

  • Michael

    I just want the new wallpaper picker to work. It always puts the image center I pick as the far left screens center.

  • A Black UI is the best UI

    And more proof that the google experience launcher is just shit.

    • Michael

      I don't like the Google now on the left and a lack of options.

      • A Black UI is the best UI

        And yet strangely that crappy launcher gets the hype while better ones do not.

        • cwilson617

          I agree, though I wouldn't call GEL crappy. It's a solid freshman effort, and there's some things they got right. And somethings wrong. I could care less about a transparent notification bar. While the N5 is good hardware, my Note 3 offers more that I use. And more that I don't... That's why I run the GEL launcher on it. It tones down Touch whiz. Don't know how I lived without "okay, google..."

    • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

      Do you even GEL?
      I mean, tried even?
      You prejudiced SoB?

      • A Black UI is the best UI

        I used the launcher and it doesn't offer anything that every other launcher out there already does and have been doing since they started.

        I have used it.
        Used already.
        You are the one who is a prejudiced SoB.

        • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao


      • right back at ya

        Do you even third-party launcher?
        I mean, tried even?
        You prejudiced SoB?

        • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

          Nova user for over 2 years now.
          GEL has its advantages and disadvantages. Follow?

  • Matthew Fry

    Nexus 10?

  • Chris

    Woo! For a little bit there, I started to worry whether they where going to update it.

  • Way too obsessive


    • mocaonsite


    • Dissidence

      You don't say...

    • Guest

      Oh yeah?

  • Christopher Bement

    Nova and Apex should just join forces. They all have the same features it's just a matter of when each releases it, and differing settings icons.

    • SpoorthyVemula

      I donno. Reduced competition can be bad

    • Joseph Cascio

      Actually Apex has tablet mode which is amazing. I use Nova because of the faster updates but I prefer Apex because tablet mode on a 5-inch device is beautiful.

  • AllPurposeRadio

    I've given Apex many runs but it still never seems as fluid as Nova plus the inability to add multiple apps at once to a homescreen is mildly frustrating.

  • mahfooz :)

    One of the advantages of apex over nova is they allow to adjust icon size without the need of buying the pro version.

  • slicingtaco

    Still not as good as Nova

  • Rock

    Guys cant get the transparent Nav bar a bit of help please

    • lefty

      Same here.

  • Nadeem Ansari

    The XBOX One is here guys!!! Check out this awesome review along with its cool new features right here!! http://goo.gl/7bCFNT

  • kenneth czyz

    When I click link from tester site takes me to play store but play store still shows 2.1