Nova Launcher has long been a reliable option for anyone looking to rejig their home screen and app drawer. Known for offering a straightforward yet customizable experience, the launcher has been among the most popular ones out there. Now we're checking out some of its latest visual tweaks and new features, with the release of the 7.0 beta.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Unless you've been forcibly avoiding the news, you know iOS 14 is now a thing. But if you don't use an iPhone (or maybe even if you do), you might not have bothered checking out what was new in Apple's latest mobile operating system. But as fail to be basically every year we watch the WWDC keynote, no one on the Android Police was surprised to have one recurring thought: "hey, that feature looks familiar." Apple apparently felt very inspired by Android in the last year, and iOS 14 has a whole bunch of "world-first" innovations to show you that—very coincidentally!—also
Android Q's new gesture navigation is a vast improvement over the two-button nav bar introduced in Pie, but it still has quirks that need to be worked out. Particularly, the back gesture interferes with the swipe-to-open option for side menus. Google promised a fix in the form of a peek gesture, but that still feels very unfinished as of Beta 5. However, this release adds a two-finger swipe from the side of the display to open those slide-out navigation menus, and it's as awkward to use as it sounds.
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.
Animations have been a big focus in Android P, so it was a bit surprising when the new Recents menu landed without one for invoking it. In earlier versions of Android P it just sort of plopped up without any fanfare. But now in DP3/Beta 2, Google has introduced a new rubbery bounce complete with corresponding haptic feedback, as well as a new semi-transparent rounded background for the app tray. The mild translucency in the full app list also appears to be mostly gone (thankfully).
LG has been criticized for its decision to remove the app drawer on the G5, but its UX 5.0 demo video a while back said the app drawer option was returning. The best it could do in the short term was publish the old UX 4.0 home screen in SmartWorld, but now an updated home interface for the G5 is rolling out that adds the app drawer option.
LG took a lot of heat (deservedly) for its decision to remove the app drawer from its stock launcher on the G5. It eventually showed off a different version of the home screen in its recent UX 5.0 video. That one had an optional app drawer, and now that version (named Home 4.0) is available for download.
A late-night update to the Google app turned up last night, bringing the current version up to v5.11. The changes in this release are pretty subtle, but there are a few good things to see if you know where to look. (And some commenters definitely knew where to look this morning.) There are UI and functional updates hidden in a few spots, particularly on the app drawer, but also in text selection and probably some other corners of the app. As always, there's a download link at the bottom.
App Drawer Changes
Left: previous version. Right: latest version.
The most visually distinct modification was made to the app drawer.
One of our readers spotted this neat trick in the latest update to the Google Now Launcher (which is part of the primary Google app). A single tap on the app drawer icon will open the app drawer as usual, but a long-press will open it and immediately highlight the app search field. It will also automatically open your default virtual keyboard, quickly and easily allowing you to type and search for apps.
This is especially handy for those users who keep dozens (or hundreds) of apps on their phones. Check out the animation below to see it in action:
The long-press function is only available in the latest versions of the Google App.