How to remove the Google Experience launcher on the Nexus 5 and replace it with the Nexus 4 launcher

How to remove the Google Experience launcher on the Nexus 5 and replace it with the Nexus 4 launcher
Despite some of the new features that it brings to the Nexus 5, not everyone is enthralled with the Google Experience launcher on the Nexus 5, even if Google's Matias Duarte called it "the single most exciting thing for Nexus 5". If you're a big fan of Google Now, you might appreciate the ability to access information from Google Now right from your homescreen. And you can even perform a voice search from any homescreen by saying "Ok Google". But not everyone is  excited about the launcher.

While the Google Experience launcher comes with Android 4.4 on the Nexus 5, for now it is an exclusive for the latest stock Android handset. But there is a way to painlessly remove it from your Nexus 5. Just keep in mind that the Google Now integration with the homescreen will disappear when the old, familiar launcher replaces the one that comes out of the box with the Nexus 5. Same for the translucent status bar.

To remove the Google launcher from the Nexus 5, go to Settings> Security. Click on the unknown sources box. Click here to load the Nexus 4 launcher on your phone or computer.

If you downloaded the file on your PC, the next step is to use the microUSB charging cable and hook up your Nexus 5 to the computer. From the PC, double click on the Nexus 5 icon and you should be at internal storage. Drag the file you downloaded into the root of the storage. Exit and disconnect the Nexus 5 from your PC. Using whichever file manager you want, find the file on the phone, tap to install, and you're done.

If you downloaded the Nexus 4 launcher on your Nexus 5, go to the app drawer and go to the Downloads app. The file should be there. Click on it to install and you're done. Don't select the launcher as the default so this way you can go back to using the Google Experience launcher once you start missing it.

source: IntoMobile

Related phones

Nexus 5
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2260 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 2300 mAh(17h talk time)

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15 Comments

1. oNEWorld

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

how can I get transparent navigation/soft keys on my nexus 4? sad to hear that the new update won't be including that as a feature. smdh

2. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Nova Launcher beta has added the KitKat look including transparent nav buttons.

3. oNEWorld

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

@ Michael. really? the soft keys at the bottom on my nexus 4 can be made translucent by downloading nova launcher beta?

4. imMature

Posts: 87; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

You can get the stock GEL by flashing a zip if you're on 4.4 KitKat. Assuming you don't you can still install its apk from here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2526171

5. oNEWorld

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

Do I have to be rooted in order to do that? I prefer not messing with that aspect of android lol. If I could install it without root and directly on my phone with the apk file I will give it a try.

6. imMature

Posts: 87; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

If I'm not mistaken, you can just install the apk from the site as you are side loading any other apk. After the download is finish, If you download it from your PHONE: Tap the downloaded notification and install it. Make sure that you've allowed the phone to install apps from unknown sources in the security settings. If you download it from PC: Just transfer it anywhere into your phone, find apk from your phone in the folder you placed it and just install it as the instruction above.. Cheers :)

9. oNEWorld

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

hey buddy, the Google experience launcher worked except I still don't have the transparent navigation soft keys.

10. imMature

Posts: 87; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

What android version are you running? I think it'll only works on 4.4. I'm gonna test it on 4.3 right after this and update this comment.

11. alipashang77

Posts: 15; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

yes, the transparent keys/nav only works on 4.4 with experience launcher. I tried it with 4.3 on nexus 4 and it did not work

12. imMature

Posts: 87; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

I tested it with 4.3 Paranoid Android but couldn't even get the launcher running. Only Google Now :P I'm using the GEL on rooted 4.4 right now and all's well

13. oNEWorld

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

I am running 4.3, and GEL is working with the exception of transparent soft keys. :(

15. imMature

Posts: 87; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

You know, you can still try the Nova Launcher beta like what Michael has said :)

8. alipashang77

Posts: 15; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

Wait! I have the nexus 5 launcher and I have the transparent navigation and soft keys. And i'm having 4.4

7. tyger11

Posts: 295; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

The Google Search bar being forced on every screen was a dealbreaker for me. I'm currently testing out alternative launchers.

14. oNEWorld

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

I agree, it doesn't look right when its on every screen.

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