How to change the default TouchWiz launcher on the Samsung Galaxy S5

How to change the default TouchWiz launcher on the Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung's TouchWiz user interface leaves a sore after-taste in a lot of users, and even though it's the most popular skin out there, we've heard complaints about its confused visuals and too cartoony aesthetics, that you might think it'd be better to replace it with a custom launcher. 

Let's make one thing clear first, though - a custom launcher cannot completely overhaul a skin like Samsung's TouchWiz. In places like the phone book, notification center, and settings, you'd still have to make do with what Samsung has cooked up for you in the Galaxy S5.

What a custom launcher does, however, is change the appearance of the place you most often see on your phone - your home screen. So how do you do it? It's not really hard and you just need to follow our simple, 5-step tutorial that will guide you through the mazes of TouchWiz menus. Of course, you'd need to have your favorite launcher already downloaded from the Google Play Store, so make sure to do this first. And once you're done, don't hesitate to share which is your favorite launcher for the Galaxy S5 in the comments below.



1. TouchWiZSucks

Posts: 53; Member since: May 12, 2014


21. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

There are plenty of better launchers in Play Store. TouchWiz sucks

2. sinple

Posts: 132; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

or you can always just install the app, and select the launcher as the default. or you can use the built in setting for nova , if you use nova launcher, and set the default launcher. @phonearena should teach ppl how set other default stuff. There are too many people whose android knowledge is limited to wallpaper and arrangement of widget and icons

5. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

ikr. Just install an alternative launcher and it'll automagically guide you how to do that. An entire article on that is rubbish. Instead they could've done an article for best launchers or something. I think they just wanted a reason to use that thumbnail. So that they can start a fanboy war and get few clicks on the article

7. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

"There are too many people whose android knowledge is limited to wallpaper and arrangement of widget and icons" And there are STILL MORE who do not know how to do even that...

9. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

PA believes that every android owner has the knowledge to do it

16. LikeMyself

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

Well I guess iOS owners who switched won't know how to do this novice action! It sure is a long procedure to do on an S5 if the launcher doesn't have default option! @pa: After installing a custom launcher, pressing the home button after that does it not first give you a list of launchers installed on the device and you choose which launcher you want to use either once or always!! As simple as that, just press the home button and select! On topic: Apex Launcher FTW! Nova launcher is outdated! Apex is one of the launchers which uses the least RAM of a device!

3. Jklaz

Posts: 159; Member since: Jul 01, 2013

I'm really not sure why everyone complains about touchwiz. I've had my s5 for a week now after having my s3. The new TV is so much better and it's really smooth

4. koko1

Posts: 103; Member since: Dec 03, 2013

really ?? u think i dont know how ? eve thou, u choosed the hardest way !! just install the launcher, then press on the home button, selelct the launcher then default !! thats it, why should i go to the settings ??

6. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Best way, buy a GPE.

8. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I really really don't understand why people are having troubles with touchwiz for g5, it works very well and while the DESIGN and colors might not be for everyone, I do not understand those that complain about its function, most of the things I hear are about delays. What delays? I've recently compared with a friends htc one m8 and while sure, for example it goes into the gallery to me slightly faster, the images (if you clear the thumbnails) are loading in while you are there, where in samsung they are already loaded up and ready when it opens the gallery only slightly slower, so it seems to me, that the code simply is set up to make thumbnails then show, and on htc show interface THEN thumbnails.. I really...really don't understand people are upset about things like this, its just an extremely minor thing, and people seem to be raging to no end about them, do you really have nothing better to do? I have a friend that does the same, I mean complaining that having to click twice! to change the 'block' mode from always on to timer (you know having to click that checkmark saying 'always')

10. ebinpissac

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

I had s3, one x and now g2 and note 10.1. I like the looks and options that touchwiz provides. The problem is that it will become slower in a few months eventhough it was lightning fast in the beginning.

13. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Download Clean Master. Help keep the phone in tip top condition. Every OS do have this problem. Windows has it now Android as well.

15. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well I jumped from sg3 to sg5, and even after having put all the things on it as my sg3 had, my sg5 feels much faster then sg3 so can't say its been 'slowed' personally.

11. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Better yet, wait for few months,flash any good looking stable ROM. Get rid of ugliness and lag. Be happy.

17. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

This is a great option for unlocked S5s. Sadly, even with the root bounty on ATT at$12K+, this may never be possible on ATT, VZW editions of the S5. Installing Apex, Nova, or another good launcher is the only to customer choice and sanity for many. I had to put Nova on my Note 3 to override the home button bringing up "MyMagazine" for example. I would have returned the phone if this choice had not been available to me.

12. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

These instructions are only good if you have an alternate launcher already installed and not turned on. You would have to have installed the app and not activated it.

14. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Wow, an article on how to change the device's default launcher....ingenious....

18. baldilocks

Posts: 1505; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

Sadly, Nova Launcher and Apex haven't been optimized for Android Kit Kat.....

19. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Hmm, I have heard that Nova launcher works great with KitKat - I do use it on my Coolpad, 4.2.2 OS...

20. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

I am using Nova Launcher (premium/pro) on my Moto G with Kitkat right now. Its smooth as butter.

22. sbfalex

Posts: 29; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

i don't get why ppl buy phones with deep customized skin like Samsung only to have another custom launcher installed over it to cover the original one... why not just get a nexus or google edition ones...

23. gsznI

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 12, 2014

does it make the phone go faster?

24. bobw665544322

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

Sorry, but I have to ask. Why on earth do I "need" a "launcher" on a device that all I have to do is tap an icon on? Are there a bunch of incredibly stupid people out there that really "need" a launcher so that they don't have to tap an icon? Or is the launcher there to tell them "tap the icon of the app you want" and I will launch that app for you? If people are that stupid, wouldn't they also need a "launcher" to help them launch the "launcher?" And if that is the case, a launcher to launch the launcher that launches the launcher? Is this possibly proof that some people are just to stupid to be allowed to operate technology.

25. MobiusONE

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 30, 2015

You obviously don't know what a launcher for Android is.

26. bobw665544322

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

Well, if you agree that the descriptions given on androidcentral_com (android-z-what-launcher), and cnet_com (how-to/everything-you-need-to-know-about-android-​launchers) are correct, then I would say "Yes, I do." It's just one more layer of creeping featurism that detracts value from the operating system for me when I am continually asked if/how I want to modify my "android experience." Putting this junk in during an upgrade is like getting your car back from the dealer after a tune up and finding out they installed a voice activated black box that asks "Do you want to start your car now?" every time you turn the ignition key to "Start."

27. MobiusONE

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 30, 2015

No its not, its more like replacing the dash. Launchers replace your home screen, once you set them as the defaul that's it. I haven't seen the Touchwiz homescreen in months, everytime my phone starts up or I press the one button I see nova. When I tap an icon, that app launches, I'm not asked if I want to launch it. Touchwiz is also a launcher, but I prefer Nova.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.