One of the many reasons I don't like iOS is its lack of an app drawer. Indeed, I want things to be very organized, and dumping all icons on my homescreen just doesn't work for me. Xiaomi, however, preferred to mimic Apple and decided to go against Android standards by removing the app drawer in its MIUI launcher, which essentially meant all icons had to be on the home screen. However, the company appears to be opening up by letting users enable the drawer in MIUI.

The launcher's latest alpha build (v 4.10.6.1025-06141703), finally brings a built-in app launcher without having to rely on third-party ones. The manufacturer is working on offering the same approach as its rival Huawei, who doesn't enable the drawer by default but gives people the option to turn it on. When activated, the apps are neatly organized by alphabetical order under a middle button at the bottom of the home screen. However, Xiaomi has decided to display recently used apps at the top, which isn't the most user-friendly layout, in my opinion. Also, there are no swiping gestures to open or close the drawer for now, but these could be implemented before the final release is published.  In addition, MIUI also gains support for app shortcuts, which let you long-press on an icon to display a list of common things you can do, without having to go through the app's main screen.

It's surprising these features weren't implemented before, but at least Xiaomi is listening to feedback and working on improving its launcher. If you have a device running MIUI and want to give it a try, you can download the alpha build from APK Mirror. However, since this is an early version, keep in mind it's not stable yet and may malfunction. To turn the app drawer on, you'll have to long-press on the home screen, click on Settings -> More -> 桌面模式 -> 抽屉模式. Yes, these options are in Mandarin, regardless of your system's language, but they'll hopefully be translated when the final release comes out.

While the previous version didn't support gestures, the latest alpha build (v4.10.6.1038-06251834) lets users swipe up anywhere on the home screen to bring up the app drawer, as shown in the video below. Even though this confirms the company's commitment to offering an app drawer, it's still an early version, as the menu options to activate the feature aren't translated yet.