OnePlus has recently revamped the app switcher part of its launcher on Android and introduced a few nifty features. One of them lets you quickly jump between all open apps, the other introduces freeform window support.

The first thing you may have noticed in the new launcher is the redesigned app switcher interface. The cards are slightly smaller with a centered app name on top, while the icon now sits below the card. The overflow menu is gone, so in order to get the different options (app info, lock, split-screen, etc...) you need to tap and hold on the card.

The most interesting part of this UI is the scrollable icon strip below the card. Tap any one of them and you'll switch immediately to that app, without having to swipe through the cards to get to it. You can also tap and drag on the icon row to quickly scroll through all cards. Overall, this means that switching between apps, especially ones you didn't open in succession, is faster and more efficient.

Left: OnePlus Launcher v4.3.8. Right: v4.4.7.

The second interesting addition is support for Android 10's freeform windows. To get that, you need to enable Developer options on your phone (go to Settings -> About phone and tap the Build number repeatedly, then go back to System -> Developer options). Look for the Enable freeform windows toggle and turn it on. You'll also need to reboot your phone.

Now, when you tap and hold on any card in the app switcher, you'll see a new Freeform option. This lets you minimize the app to a floating window that you can drag around the screen. Currently, windows don't seem to be resizeable and there's no way to show a floating window on top of another app or two floating windows next to each other, so the feature's usefulness is pretty dubious.

If you want to give it a try, OnePlus Launcher v4.4.7 is rolling out on the Play Store, but you can also grab it from APK Mirror if you prefer sideloading.

Gesture to start a search

OnePlus has shared an official changelog for this update, detailing another addition: a gesture for quick search. When you swipe up from the homescreen to get to the app drawer, you can hold your finger a little longer to switch into the search function and type any app's name. Some users are complaining about the gesture, saying it's getting activated accidentally, but that wasn't my experience. The app drawer opens with a swift flick up the screen, while switching to search requires you to deliberately keep your finger on the screen for a bit after your swipe up.

OnePlus Launcher
OnePlus Launcher
Developer: OnePlus Ltd.
Price: Free
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