Nova Launcher beta 5 spices things up with Pixel Launcher-style features


The beta version of the immensely popular Nova Launcher for Android was just updated with a handful of fresh, a la Pixel Launcher features, all of which we've tested and listed here for you.

Let's start off with the new way to open the app drawer. You can now choose to expand the apps list by swiping up, just like in Google's new Pixel Launcher, instead of just tapping on the icon, although the old method works just fine. This change is directly tied to another new feature — the integrated drawer search bar — as pulling down from the top of the app drawer in this mode now collapses it, instead of initiating a search. To enable the integrated search bar, go to Nova Settings > App & widget drawers, and toggle the “Search bar” switch.

The integrated drawer search bar sports three new tabs — Frequent, Recent, and New/Updated — for sorting through apps more easily.


Next, let's take a look at the new Pixel-style search bar. As always, it can either be persistent — available on all home screens — or act as a widget, remaining on a single screen. The change here is more cosmetic than anything else, as the functionality of the bar remains unchanged. Unlike in Pixel Launcher, pulling from this bar won't open the Google Now screen. Instead, your actions are limited to simply tapping on it to initiate a search.



Dock backgrounds can now be expanded beneath the navbar, meaning that they can drawn under the soft keys. This goes for both built-in and custom dock background styles.


Other, more minor additions include: new double-tap-swipe gestures for the paid version of Nova Launcher that you can map different actions to, a new time-out screen lock method, various fixes and optimizations for Android 7.0 Nougat, as well as improved interactions with the KLWP live wallpapers maker app.

To get the new beta version for Nova Launcher, go to Nova Settings > Nova > Check for updates, and select “Beta” from the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the screen. Alternatively, head over to the Nova Launcher Beta site to download the APK file manually.

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