The 20 Best Android Launchers And Home Screen Replacements You Need To Download Now

The 20 Best Android Launchers And Home Screen Replacements You Need To Download Now

While Android devices remain a dominant force in the mobile media market, they do not always deliver the most compelling experience to users. This is due to their uniform look and nature, which is a typical feature of any mass produced product that is designed to meet a wide range of consumer demands.

This is why developers have created the concept of Android launchers and home screen replacements, which enable you to customize the visual aesthetic of your device. While the concept itself may be relatively tried and tested, however, it is only recently that mainstream consumers have embraced it fully in the quest to personalize their handsets.

With this in mind, it is worth considering the best android home screen replacements and the impact that they have in revolutionizing your Android user-experience. Consider the following.


If you are new to the concept of Android launchers and home screen replacements, where better to start than with one of the more recent market additions? Aviate has evolved considerably from previous incarnations, with the result that it boasts a more mature set of customization options and smart technology that delivers relevant information in real-time. With both pre-set category sub-headings and the capacity to create unique collections, customizable images and variable homepage layout options, Aviate is the smart choice for modern Android users.


    Nova Launcher

    If you are a relatively inexperienced Android user with less advanced technological skills, you may prefer a simpler customization tool. Take the Nova Launcher, for example, which is a straightforward feature that enables you to subtly fine-tune your device and home screen. This launcher is unique in that it uses 3D cube UI technology, which creates a revolving home page and fluid visual effect that adds a different dimension to your navigation experience. Despite this, it does not allow you to make drastic changes to your screen layout, which means you can maintain an interface that is easy to follow and understand using preset themes.



      In terms of simplicity and pre-determined layout options, there are additional tools that can help you to redefine the look of your Android device. The Themer launcher is one such program, as it delivers established themes to users who would rather not spend their time customizing unique widgets and visual effects. This simple tool appears whenever you visit your home screen, and you can access a host of layout options by navigating the Theme settings menu at the top of your interface. Not only are these options free to access, but developers are also adding new home screen replacements on a daily basis.


        Buzz Launcher

        While the development teams behind Aviate and Themer have focused on enhancing the smart capacity of Android devices and simplifying the user experience respectively, others have taken a more ambitious route to market. Buzz Launcher is a full home screen replacement app that delivers an all-out optimization package to users, for example, which in turn enables them to create unique widgets and backgrounds while accessing numerous downloadable screen packs. The app offers a far greater scope to users and allows them access to a wider range of design options, although it is probably best suited to technologically aware individuals with experience of the Android market.


          Apex Launcher

          In many ways, the Apex Launcher represents the modern face of the mobile industry. Like all Android launchers of its type, it includes standard features such as customizable icon grids, transition effects and variable home screen gestures. In addition to this, however, it also offers two separate versions to customers, with the second being a paid application that supports a wider range themes and visual concepts. The free version should be more than adequate for the majority of personal users, particularly those who wish to create an easy to navigate layout.

          Apex Launcher

            Action Launcher and Action Launcher Pro

            Although a relatively new addition to the consumer market, the Action Launcher and Action Launcher Pro have made a significant impact during 2013. Once again designed as free and paid versions of the same concept, these tools are unique in that they focus on the use of applications rather than delivering a wide range of customization options. Simply by featuring a left-hand panel that offers instant access to your favorite applications, these tools enable you to navigate your menu more quickly and in a far more efficient manner. Another key benefit of the Action Launcher is that it includes an unique feature called ‘covers,’ which allows users to tap an individual icon and launch the default application associated with it.

            Action Launcher

              SF Launcher Beta

              Increasingly, there are a growing range of applications that attempt to differentiate themselves from key market players. Take the SF Launcher, for example, which borrows heavily from Google Now and the clear cut interface adopted by the world’s leading search engine. By designating nearly a third of the top of the home screen to a traditional clock and date widget, it leaves the remained of the space for you to customize with individual folders and app icons. By also offering a wide range of dark themes and visual effects, users can create a customized interface that retains a clearly iconic and instantly recognizable appeal.

              SF Beta Launcher

                Holo Launcher

                Given the rate with which new Android devices and operating systems are launched, it can be hard for consumers to keep pace. The Holo Launcher is therefore an extremely viable application, as it enables individuals with older Android devices to integrate ground-breaking designs and themes into their layout. With popular features including a scrollable dock, variable icons and an excellent array of colors, the Holo Launchers provides a foundation from which users can create a modern and appealing interface. Once again there is a paid version of the tool for professional users, which justifies its fee with application drawer tabs, notification badges and additional icons.


                Holo Launcher

                  91 Launcher

                  A solid option for those in search of a free Android launcher, this tool is a new entrant to the market with a huge selection of themes and transition effects. The latter are particularly effective, as they enable you to slide between alternative home screens and any custom widgets that you have created. The benefit of this free option is that it can be easily trialed by anyone who is looking for a new launcher or viable home screen replacement, and its sheer wealth of visual effects makes it well worth further inspection.

                  91 Launcher

                    GO Launcher EX

                    One of the more traditional and longest standing Android tools on the market, the GO Launcher EX is completely free and easily accessible by a wide range of users. It does not have a paid version, meaning that it is easier for consumers to access a full range of features and premium themes. Go Launcher EX is therefore an extremely purposeful application, equipped with multiple features even for the broadest range of tastes. It is also compatible with all Android devices of 2.0 or above, which enables a wider range of user to enjoy its benefits.


                      SPB Shell 3D

                      At this stage, it may be worth introducing an additional dimension to the world of Android launchers and home screen replacements. SPB Shell 3D is leading the current charge of three dimensional launcher replacements, featuring a full range of unique transitions and visual effects. Including a 3D home screen, widgets and the eye-catching presentation of colors and shades, it is ideal for advanced Android users who love nothing more than creating a wow-factor around their phone. While this paid launcher can hardly be described as cheap with a download price of $14.95 (£9.45), it is compatible with Android devices 2.1 or above and genuinely unique within the market.

                      SPB Shell 3D
                        SPB Shell 3D
                          SPB Shell 3D

                            TSF Shell

                            On a similar note, those with slightly reduced budgets and a love of three dimensional interfaces may wish to invest in the TSF Shell home screen replacement app. It can be downloaded for just $9 (£4.99) through Google Play. Some have argued that it boasts even more features than the more popular SPB Shell launcher. Including intuitive gesture controls that make it easier than ever to organize and access application icons, it is equipped with cutting edge technology that enables it to stand out in the existing marketplace. So while it may be tempting to follow the crowd and download the coveted SPB Shell, more savvy Android users may well prefer the cost-effective TSF alternative.

                            SPB Shell

                              Next Launcher 3D

                              The most expensive of all 3D Android home screen replacements is the Next Launcher, which has been designed by the same team that innovated the wide range of Go applications. Costing an estimated $16.99 (£10.50) to download, it is suitably equipped with technologically evolved features which more than justify its inflated price tag. Including stereoscopic three dimensional screen previews and a rotatable dock, it is an extremely powerful launcher that has become extremely popular on the consumer market. The developers have now also launched a free version of the launcher, which retains 3D capacity despite offering a minimal range of design features.

                              Next Launcher 3D

                                Launcher 7

                                It is easy to forget that when Android devices first emerged, users were keen to adopt that launchers that replicated the popular iOS aesthetic. This trend has dissipated in recent times, however, especially since the release of the brand new Windows phone. The Launcher 7 application has therefore been designed to make Android devices look and behave like the Windows Phone 7, relying heavily on the integration of a 2×1 scrollable grid with tiles that can be customized according to your precise needs. If you are a fan of the tiled layout favored by Microsoft, this launcher serves as an ideal and freely accessible starting point.

                                Launcher 7

                                  Launcher 8

                                  On a similar note, the recent launch of the Windows Phone 8 has caused a significant stir in the mobile industry. As a result of this, many switched on Android users are looking to replicate the look of this device, and the Launcher 8 has been designed to help them achieve this. This tool features a set of Microsoft tiles that are even more customizable than their predecessors, available in variable sizes and also translucent to allow the wallpaper to remain visible behind widgets and app icons. Once again this launcher is entirely free, while also compatible with all Android devices of 2.2 and above.


                                    The Yandex Shell Launcher

                                    Innovation breeds evolution, and this is certainly the case with regards to the 3D launcher market. One of the latest advancements has emerged in the form of Yandex Shell, which approaches creating three-dimensional home screen replacements in a far more subtle and understated manner. Borrowing heavily from the MIUI custom ROM, it adopts a clean aesthetic and simple widgets that help you to create a pleasing 3D interface with minimum fuss. While this launcher is free to access, however, it is not available in all countries and therefore, you will need to check availability before making a final decision.

                                    Yandex Shell Launcher

                                      Tile Launcher

                                      The Tile Launcher Beta is another application that has sought to replicate the Microsoft experience for Android users, although it has stopped short of completely imitating the technological giant. While it has only just emerged from the development phase, it will offer a customizable and scrollable tiled interface, where each segment will contain an actionable icon or widget. There is also a sliding application drawer for instant access to your most popular items, and support packs that facilitate the switch from alternative launchers.  Considering that it is a free-to-access launcher, this range of features is well worth consideration.



                                        Vire Launcher

                                        Another free Android home screen replacement tool, the Vire Launcher delivers many of the 3D effects and transitions offered by more renowned paid alternatives. A relatively new application, it also features automatic themeing of all UI components including icons, widgets and folders. While the design elements remain somewhat rustic and simplistic, the Vire Launcher is different from any other application on the market and well-worth a try given its immediate and freely accessible nature.


                                          The Smart Launcher

                                          While developers seem to take variable approaches to designing their home screen replacement apps, the majority tend to focus on creating quick and easy-to-navigate interfaces. This is certainly the approach taken by the team behind the Smart Launcher, who have designed a simple home screen with five icons to represent your most widely accessed applications. In fact, so simple is the design ethos that it does not even support widgets, meaning that the free version of the Smart Launcher is ideal for those with limited technological skills. There is a paid version, however, which at least allows for greater customization and the support of widgets and more advanced features.

                                          Smart Launcher

                                            ADW. Launcher

                                            Finally, this list would not be complete without the inclusion of a launcher that has survived the test of time among Android users. The ADW. Launcher is something of a relic on the Android platform, and yet is has survived beyond its initial and considerable impact on the market. Today, it retains almost cult status among loyal followers, especially those with older Android devices. With configurable home screens and the capacity to use gestures as a way of navigating your chosen interface, it can certainly hold its own in more exalted company. There is also a huge array of themes and skins for users to choose from, which is not bad considering it is essentially a free application.

                                            ADW Launcher


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                                              Last Updated on August 6, 2018

                                              20 Google Search Tips to Use Google More Efficiently

                                              20 Google Search Tips to Use Google More Efficiently

                                              Millions of people use Google search every day for a variety of reasons. Students use it for school, business people use it for research, and millions more use it for entertainment. But most people may not be using Google search to its full potential.

                                              Want to use Google search more efficiently and get the search results you want quickly? Here are 20 Google search tips and tricks to maximize your search efficiency:

                                              1. Use the tabs

                                              The first tip is to use the tabs in Google search. On the top of every search are a number of tabs. Usually you’ll see Web, Image, News, and More. Using these tabs, you can help define what kind of search you need to do. If you need images, use the Image tab. If you are looking for a recent news article, use the News tab. It’s rudimentary and most people use the tabs already. If you are not, then it’s highly recommended to get associated with them. They can cut search times dramatically if utilized properly.

                                              2. Use quotes

                                              When searching for something specific, try using quotes to minimize the guesswork for Google search. When you put your search parameters in quotes, it tells the search engine to search for the whole phrase. For instance, if you search for Puppy Dog Sweaters, the engine will search for content that contains those three words in any order. However, if you search “Puppy Dog Sweaters”, it will search for that phrase exactly as you typed it. This can help locate specific information that may be buried under other content if not sorted out correctly.

                                              3. Use a hyphen to exclude words

                                              Sometimes you may find yourself searching for a word with an ambiguous meaning. An example is Mustang. When you Google search for Mustang, you may get results for both the car made by Ford or the horse. If you want to cut one out, use the hyphen to tell the engine to ignore content with one of the other. See the example below.

                                              • Mustang -cars

                                              This tells the search engine to search for mustangs but to remove any results that have the word “car” in it. It can be wildly helpful when finding information about something without getting information about something else.

                                              4. Use a colon to search specific sites

                                              There may be an instance where you need to Google search for articles or content on a certain website. The syntax is very simple and we’ll show you below.

                                              • Sidney Crosby

                                              This will search for all content about famous hockey player Sidney Crosby, but only on All other search results will be removed. If you need to find specific content on a particular site, this is the shortcut you can use.


                                              5. Find a page that links to another page

                                              This Google search tip is a little obscure. Instead of searching for a specific page, you’re searching for a page that links to a specific page. Think about it this way. If you want to see who cited a New York Times article on their site, you would use this trick to find all the sites that link to it. The syntax is below.


                                              That will return all pages that link to the New York Times official website. The URL on the right side can be practically anything. Be aware, though, that the more specific it is, the fewer results you’ll get. We know not a lot of people will likely use this Google search trick, but it could be very useful for some.

                                              6. Use the asterisk wildcard

                                              The asterisk wildcard is one of the most useful ones on the list. Here’s how it works. When you use an asterisk in a search term on Google search, it will leave a placeholder that may be automatically filled by the search engine later. This is a brilliant way to find song lyrics if you don’t know all the words. Let’s look at the syntax.

                                              • “Come * right now * me”

                                              To you or me, that may look like nonsense. However, Google search will search for that phrase knowing that the asterisks can be any word. More often than not, you’ll find they are lyrics to The Beatles song “Come Together” and that’s what the search will tell you.

                                              7. Find sites that are similar to other sites

                                              This is a unique one that could be used by practically everyone if they knew it existed. Let’s say you have a favorite website. It can be anything. However, that website is getting a little bit boring and you want to find other websites like it. You would use this trick. Below is the syntax.


                                              If you search that above, you won’t find a link to Amazon. Instead, you’ll find links to online stores like Amazon. Sites like Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and others that sell physical items online. It’s a powerful Google search tool that can help you find new sites to browse.

                                              8. Use Google search to do math

                                              As a college student, I can attest that I use this one rather frequently. Google search can actually do math for you. This is a rather complex one to describe because it can be used in so many ways. You can ask it basic questions or some more difficult ones. It is important to note that it won’t solve all math problems, but it will solve a good number of them. Here are a couple of examples of the syntax.

                                              • 8 * 5 + 5
                                              • Planck’s Consant

                                              If you search the first one, it’ll return 45. It will also show a calculator that you can use to find answers to more questions. This is handy if you need to do some quick math but don’t want to do it in your head. If you search the second term, it will return the number value of Planck’s Constant. So it can do math, but it can also help you solve math problems by showing values for known mathematical terms.


                                              9. Search for multiple words at once

                                              Google search is flexible. It knows you may not find what you want by searching only a single word or phrase. Thus, it lets you search for multiples. By using this trick, you can search for one word or phrase along with a second word or phrase. This can help narrow down your search to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Here is the syntax.

                                              • “Best ways to prepare for a job interview” OR “How to prepare for a job interview”

                                              By searching that, you will search both phrases. Remember the quotes tip above? It’s being used here as well. In this instance, these two exact phrases will be searched. It can be done by word too, like the example below.

                                              • chocolate OR white chocolate

                                              This will search for pages that have either chocolate or white chocolate!

                                              10. Search a range of numbers

                                              Searching for a range of numbers is another tip we don’t anticipate a lot of people using. The people that do use it, though, will probably use it quite a bit. People interested in money or statistics will find this tip particularly useful. Essentially, you use two dots and a number to let Google search know you’re looking for a specific range of numbers. Like the syntax below.

                                              • What teams have won the Stanley Cup ..2004
                                              • 41..43

                                              In the first instance, the search will toss back the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2004. The two dots with only one number will tell the search that you don’t need anything before or after 2004. This can help narrow down searches to a specific number to improve search results. In the second, Google will search for the numbers 41, 42, and 43. It is obscure, but wildly useful if you happen to need to search for numbers like this.

                                              11. Keep it simple

                                              Now we’re getting into the general tips. Google search knows how to search for a lot of things. What this means is you don’t need to be too specific. If you need a pizza place nearby, use this to search.

                                              • Pizza places nearby

                                              Google search will grab your location and deliver a variety of results about pizza places that are near you.

                                              12. Gradually add search terms

                                              There will come a time when Google search doesn’t shovel out the results you expect. In this instance, keeping it simple may not be the best option. As Google itself suggests, the best method is to start with something simple then gradually get more complicated. See the example below.


                                              • First try: job interviews
                                              • Second try: prepare for job interviews
                                              • Third try: how to prepare for a job interview

                                              This will gradually refine the search to bring you fewer, more targeted terms. The reason you don’t go straight from the first try to the third try is because you may miss what you’re looking for by skipping the second step. Millions of websites phrase the same information in a number of different ways; using this technique lets you search as many of them as possible to find the best info.

                                              13. Use words that websites would use

                                              This is a very important one. When people use Google search to hunt the web, they generally search for things using the same language that they would use for speaking. Unfortunately, websites don’t say things the way people do; instead, they try to use language that sounds professional. Let’s look at some examples.

                                              • “I have a flat tire” could be replaced by “repair a flat tire.”
                                              • “My head hurts” could be replaced by “headache relief.”

                                              The list goes on and on. When searching, try to use terminology you would find on a professional website. This will help you get more reliable results.

                                              14. Use important words only

                                              The way Google search works is to take what you search for and match it with keywords in online content. When you search for too many words, it may limit your results. That means it may actually take you longer to find what you’re looking for. Thus, it is apropos to use only the important words when searching for something. Let’s see an example.

                                              • Don’t use: Where can I find a Chinese restaurant that delivers.
                                              • Instead try: Chinese restaurants nearby.
                                              • Or: Chinese restaurants near me.

                                              Doing this can help Google find what you need without all the clutter. So remember, keep it simple and use important words only.

                                              15. Google search has shortcuts

                                              A number of commands can be entered to give you instantaneous results. Like the math example above, Google can immediately give you the information you need that is displayed right at the top of the search results. This can save time and effort so you don’t have to click a bunch of bothersome links. Here are a few examples of some commands you can enter into Google.

                                              • Weather *zip code* – This will show you the weather in the given zip code. You can also use town and city names instead of area codes, but it may not be as accurate if there are multiple area codes in the city.
                                              • What is *celebrity name* Bacon Number – This is a fun little one that will tell you how many connections any given celebrity has to famed actor Kevin Bacon. The popular joke, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, is that no actor is more than 6 connections away from Kevin Bacon. Mark Zuckerberg has a Bacon Number of 3.
                                              • The math example posted above is another one.
                                              • What is the definition of *word* or Define: *word* – This will display the definition of a word.
                                              • Time *place* – This will display the time in whatever place you type in.
                                              • You can check any stock by typing its ticker name into Google. If you search for GOOG, it will check the stock prices for Google.

                                              These quick commands can take a web search that is usually multiple clicks and condense it into a single search. This is very helpful for information you need repeatedly.

                                              16. Spelling doesn’t necessarily matter

                                              Google search has gotten a lot smarter over the years. These days, you don’t even need to spell words correctly. As long as it’s pretty close, Google can usually figure out what it means. Here are some examples.


                                              • If you search “Nver Gna Gve Yo Up” Google will automatically assume you mean to search for “Never Gonna Give You Up.” If by chance your misspelling was intentional, Google gives you the option to search for the misspelled term instead.

                                              This trick is great if you happen to forget how to spell something or are not altogether sure how something is spelled. It can also be helpful when searching for obscure words. This applies to capitalization and grammar as well.

                                              17. Use descriptive words

                                              Pretty much everything can be described in multiple ways. Take our namesake, the “life hack.” The terminology “hack” refers to a computer programmer breaking security on a network or system. However, when used in conjunction with the word “life”, it alters the meaning to tips and tricks people can use to improve their lives. If you have trouble finding what you’re searching for, keep in mind that people may search or define what you need in a different way than you do.

                                              • You may search “How to install drivers in Ubunut?”
                                              • When you really mean “Troubleshoot driver problems Ubuntu.”

                                              There really isn’t a good specific example for this one. If you search for something and you can’t find an answer, try asking the same question using different words and see if that helps the results.

                                              18. Find a specific file

                                              An often forgotten feature of Google search is the ability to search for a specific file or file type. This can be infinitely useful if you need a specific PDF or PowerPoint file that you previously viewed or need to use for another project. The syntax is quite simple.

                                              • *Search term here* filetype:pdf

                                              In the above example, you simply replace the search term with whatever you’re searching for. Then use the filetype command and enter the extension of any file type you can think of. This can mostly be useful for scholarly purposes, but business presentations and other assorted presentations can benefit from this kind of search as well.

                                              19. Money and unit conversions

                                              Google search can quickly and accurately convert both measurement units and currency value. There are a variety of uses for this, like checking to see the conversion rate between two currencies. If you happen to be a math student, you can use it to convert from feet to meters or from ounces to liters. Here’s how to do it.

                                              • miles to km – This will convert miles to kilometers. You can put numbers in front to convert a certain number. Like “10 miles to km” will show you how many kilometers are in 10 miles.
                                              • USD to British Pound Sterling – This will convert a US dollar to British pounds. Like the measurements above, you can add numbers to find exact conversions for a certain amount of money.

                                              It’s true that this tip is geared toward math students and international business people. However, you’d be surprised how often these tips are used by regular people.

                                              20. Track your packages

                                              Our last trick is to use Google search to find out where your packages are. You can enter any UPS, USPS, or Fedex tracking number directly into the Google search bar, and it’ll show you the tracking information about your package. This is much easier than going to the specific sites, waiting for them to load, then searching for your packages there. No examples are really needed for this one. Just type your tracking number in and see where your package is.

                                              Google Search wrap-up

                                              Google search is a very powerful search tool. Using the tips outlined above, you can find anything and everything you could ever need on the World Wide Web. Whether it’s avoiding Wikipedia for a school essay project, finding the latest stock prices, or even finding song lyrics, there is a way to make Google search work for you.

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