Nova Launcher is the king of Android launchers. With features galore, it’s the ultimate way to customize your smartphone. You can amaze spectators, confuse the ignorant and save precious seconds, often simultaneously. The sheer number of options can be intimidating, however, and many are often overlooked. Here’s a run-down of the most useful Nova Launcher tips and tricks.
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Note that aside from the experimental menu, these features are only available in the paid version of the app.
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1. Hidden folders
Here’s a great way to access all your most commonly used apps quickly and without littering up your home screen. You can make an app folder that is hidden, appearing only as an icon of your choosing. When pressed, the icon will open the first app, but when you swipe up, it will open the folder, showing the full range of related apps.
I use this for my music apps, so when I press the headphones icon, Deezer opens, but when I swipe up, I see Soundcloud, Music Player, Deezer, etc.
To set this up, first drag the related apps into a folder as you would normally. Then long-press on the folder and select Edit. From here, you can press on the icon to choose a different icon, change the name of the folder, and adjust the Swipe to open and Tap action settings. Flick the Swipe to open toggle to the right, and, from the Tap action drop-down menu, select First item in folder.
For bonus points, make your folders transparent, too, by opening Nova Settings and going to Folders > Background and sliding Transparency to 100 percent.
2. Swipe actions on apps
Another way to make use of the swipe actions is to open apps that are related to other apps. I’ve got the camera icon set to open the Gallery app when I swipe, for instance, and swiping up on the Google Calendar app lets me add a reminder (download Google Inbox to access this feature). I also use this to open Messenger with a swipe up on the Facebook app icon.
To set this up, just long press on an icon, select Edit and press on the Swipe action option to select the action of your choosing.
3. Swipe actions on the home screen
You’ve really got to make the most of those swipe actions. The final way I use them is by adding a swipe-up gesture to the home screen to open the app drawer, a double-fingered swipe up to open Nova settings and a double-fingered swipe down to open Google Now, along with a few others, but you can choose whatever suits you best.
Just go open up Nova Settings, head to Gestures & inputs and peruse the Gestures section and decide which actions you want to set to do what.
4. Double tap to lock
While this option could just be included in the section above, it seems worth highlighting, because it’s something I use a lot and is easily overlooked.
Go into Nova Settings, press on Gestures & inputs > Double tap and select Screen lock. Now, when you issue a quick double-tap to the home screen, your device will lock. If you’re not so keen on this, another very useful application is to have it launch the phone app.
5. Smooth scrolling
If you put the same widget on multiple launcher screens and employ Nova Launcher’s wipe scroll effect, it produces a really pleasing way of moving between screens, with the widget remaining in place throughout. Take a look at the gif below to see what I mean.
For this one, just add the same widget to all of your launcher screens, and then open up Nova settings. Go to Desktop > Scroll effect and select Wipe near the bottom of the list.
6. Experimental features and debugging
This final tip is for the professional Nova Launcher users out there. I don’t often make use of this, but it might be helpful to have on hand.
You can access a secret menu, containing experimental features and debugging options, by holding the Volume Down button while in Nova Settings. Once you’ve held it down for a second or two, a new option called Labs should be available at the bottom of the menu.
If you find this menu scary and dangerous upon unlocking, long press the Volume Up button to remove it again.