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.



1. bustafone

Posts: 20; Member since: Feb 08, 2015

No thanks. I rather get the real thing from Google.

7. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Nova is about the stock experience with more fine tuning option such as the number of icons that can be display on the home screen via fine tuning their white space. Has a custom dock that could provide quicker access to your favorite apps. Changing the the icon size, font size whether to wrap the label or to display in a single line. Its basically stock with a wider customization available to their user. So far, they don't disappoint.

10. 5URV1V0R

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 18, 2015

Lool, the real thing? seriously? what real thing? Man I know every user has his own taste, but if you really just give Nova a try you will see what you're missing. You will see what GNL, and now Pixel launcher, are missing (vs Nova) and why it is not the real thing: Nova has: missed notification badges (cant believe Google is still missing this, LAZY Google!), icon size normalization (vs the size mess in Google launchers) , swipes and gestures (real use of swipes, not just to acces google cards) including double tap homescreen to lock phone, widget re-sizing and overlapping, icon grid size, dock pages, themes, etc. etc. etc.

13. pankajxdx unregistered

Nova is only launcher which I have ever used besides stock. In fact I got the paid version. Nova and Apex are lite and bug free, with a lot of sensible customization options. Give it a try.

2. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Customization is the best feature of Android.

3. VVayne

Posts: 103; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

Already installed. Best launcher for Android, with fastest bugfixes.

4. tywinlannister

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 24, 2015

After installing 100 apps i know that i dont need a launcher.

5. Arthurhkt

Posts: 723; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

I really wish either Google bought Nova over to let user fully customized their launcher, or Nova fully integrated Google Now seamlessly to their launcher.

8. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Me too. Some OEM widgets doesn't seem to appear on Nova like LG's Samsung or Sony's. It would be great if it works tho.

11. 5URV1V0R

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 18, 2015

Nooooo God forbid :) Google are more lazy than anybody could be. Something as basic as icon size normalization and missed notifcation badges are still missing! And i think if Google allows other developers to use the APIs that enable swipe to access Now cards they will see their launcher take the plunge. that's probably why they aren't. Besides, it is better for us (users) to have products (hardware and software) offered by more companies. Competition leads to variety and improved quality.

6. Zylam

Posts: 1813; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Can't wait for the Pixel phones!!!! Come on google!!! Get the camera and price right!!!!

9. Ahmad_Alhatmi

Posts: 9; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

Just one feature is missing and many people complaining about it. it's the option to arrange the apps in the appdrawer the way you like.

12. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

This beta 5 has been good so far in my experience. Waiting for the final release!

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