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Google Nexus Launcher leaks, we go hands-on

by Brandon Russell | August 2, 2016August 2, 2016 12:45 pm PST

It was only yesterday we were pining over the possibility of a Nexus Launcher, and now it has been made available to download—although unofficially. Sideloaders, start your engines.

There are a number of places to download the APK (here), which you can do at your own peril. Once downloaded, you can easily sideload the APK onto “most Android smartphones,” according to 9to5Google. For what it’s worth, we got the launcher up and running on a Galaxy S7 without issue though there are a few caveats.

There are a few early issues with the APK, Android Authority notes. If you install the APK directly, a few of the features won’t work, such as changing wallpapers and swiping right into Google Now. Install the ZIP via TWRP, however, and everything should work as normal.

If you’re familiar with Android, these methods should be pretty simple to you. Installing the APK directly is incredibly easy; just move the Nexus Launcher file onto your phone’s storage, find it with a file manager (Samsung has one built-in) and tap to install. You have to allow “Unknown Sources” under security but that’s about all the work that’s necessary.

As yesterday’s leak revealed, the new Nexus Launcher features a redesigned app drawer and “G” tab; pressing on the tab opens up the traditional Google Search while swiping to the right will move users over to the Google Now page, which is standard for the existing Google Now launcher.

There’s not too much to the launcher at the moment; it’s clean and fairly nice to look at but it’s by no means groundbreaking. In any case, you should give it a go if you feel like trying something new.

Google hasn’t officially announced the new Nexus Launcher yet and it’s unclear if the company has plans to release it in the App Store. For now, you can test it out ahead of its presumed imminent release.

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...