24 votes

Minimalist Android launcher recommendations

Currently, I'm using the Aero launcher, and I really like having all the names of my apps listed out, but if I could have something with a to do list and then swipe for apps, it would be kind of neat.

Other wish list functions:

  • Folders for Apps.
  • Able to add PWA or a URL to a list of apps.
  • Start a search from searching through all apps.
  • Corner widgets/shortcuts
  • A pony!

Willing to poke around if there is an open source project I can add stuff too.

19 comments

  1. [4]
    Rudism
    Link
    I've been using Niagara launcher for a while now. The only box I think it doesn't tick is the folders one. (Sort of. Also the to do list and the pony one.) It's not as customizable as fancier...

    I've been using Niagara launcher for a while now. The only box I think it doesn't tick is the folders one. (Sort of. Also the to do list and the pony one.)

    It's not as customizable as fancier launchers, with a very opinionated minimalist approach. You mark some subset of apps as "favorite" and those show up in a list on your home screen. You can also mark an additional subset of apps as "media app" and those pop up on your home screen app list whenever you plug in wired or connect wireless headphones. The rest of your apps (plus, optionally, any PWAs you add from a browser) are in an alphabetical list that you can access any time by swiping your finger along the edge of the screen (you swipe to a letter, then let go and the list appears scrolled to that letter, which you can then scroll around in further or search through). You can also configure a floating button in the corner that does two customizable actions (one for tap, one for swipe).

    Things I like: It doesn't use icon themes, instead it has its own built-in icon themes that you pick and it applies consistent, unified icons to each of your apps (some have custom icons for specific apps, others get a more generic one based on the app's category, and all icons and app names are customizable). You can also completely hide any apps you don't care about (bloatware or stuff you never need to open up). I use it on several devices including my Logitech G-Cloud and it has pretty decent controller support (responds to shoulder buttons to open the app list, stuff like that).

    Things I don't like: It's not free. You can use it for free with some features disabled, pay a monthly subscription, or a one time unlock fee to avoid the subscription. I paid the one time fee since I like it enough to support it. If it was subscription-only I'd pass. Also it supports widgets, but it's a little wonky and dissimilar to how other launchers work with them. I don't really like using widgets anyway, and the built-in one for showing the clock, temperature, and calendar events is good enough for me, but if you have widgets you need enabled it might be hit or miss whether it looks any good or is usable with Niagara.

    Overall I recommend giving it a shot if you want something minimal and don't mind paying for it. It's not for everyone (my wife would hate it) but I think it's one of those things where if you vibe with what they're going for then you'll love it.

    17 votes
    1. 2c13b71452
      Link Parent
      I came here to recommend Niagara too. It definitely has a familiarisation curve. But now I’m used to it traditional launchers feel a bit clunky to me.

      I came here to recommend Niagara too. It definitely has a familiarisation curve. But now I’m used to it traditional launchers feel a bit clunky to me.

      8 votes
    2. randomperson
      Link Parent
      Niagara was amazing when I was on Android and I can only imagine how good it is now. Integration with Sesame search was superb and I think it was even better than Spotlight in iOS.

      Niagara was amazing when I was on Android and I can only imagine how good it is now. Integration with Sesame search was superb and I think it was even better than Spotlight in iOS.

      1 vote
    3. Wafik
      Link Parent
      To add to the above, Niagara launcher does have folders. And while to task list, I just use the TickTick widget at the top and always have a task list on the go. The Launcher is basically the only...

      To add to the above, Niagara launcher does have folders. And while to task list, I just use the TickTick widget at the top and always have a task list on the go.

      The Launcher is basically the only way I want to use my phone now.

  2. Carrow
    Link
    I've used Nova Launcher about as long as Android, I'm a big fan of the customizability. It can do the list for the app drawer, but I don't think it'll hide the icons. For folders in the app...

    I've used Nova Launcher about as long as Android, I'm a big fan of the customizability. It can do the list for the app drawer, but I don't think it'll hide the icons. For folders in the app drawer, you'll need the paid version (Nova Launcher Prime, $5 one time), but home screen has folders freely available. The search bar can search apps, launch to a web search, or launch to a Play Store search. It can also do some in app searching like it'll suggest discord channels I'm in too. Widget support with extra display options, lists PWAs (though not manually adding through URL I don't think).

    7 votes
  3. knocklessmonster
    Link
    I've been using Olauncher, a free, open source, actively developed launcher. You can get it through Google Play as well It doesn't have your wishlist, it's intended to be distraction free and...

    I've been using Olauncher, a free, open source, actively developed launcher. You can get it through Google Play as well

    It doesn't have your wishlist, it's intended to be distraction free and minimally distracting. The way you open apps is by swiping up and typing the least unique letters that describe the app, and it'll open it for you.

    6 votes
  4. drannex
    Link
    I am a huge fan of Kvaesitso. Open sourced, actively developed, insane amount of features and customization for something so minimal, and has all the features you listed. Its great, fast, and stable.

    I am a huge fan of Kvaesitso.

    Open sourced, actively developed, insane amount of features and customization for something so minimal, and has all the features you listed. Its great, fast, and stable.

    3 votes
  5. [2]
    creesch
    Link
    It is not quite as minimalist, but I recently tried out kvaesitso as a launcher. Basically the home screen is just one panel with a clock, scrolling down you get optional widgets (could be a todo...

    It is not quite as minimalist, but I recently tried out kvaesitso as a launcher. Basically the home screen is just one panel with a clock, scrolling down you get optional widgets (could be a todo widget) and for apps there is a search drawer.

    I am not quite sure it allows for PWAs. I didn't get as far as it didn't meet some other requirements I had.

    1 vote
    1. aetherious
      Link Parent
      I've been using this for over a year now, and it has everything I needed from a launcher. You can have PWAs but they have to be pinned to the main app drawer on the first screen and they won't...

      I've been using this for over a year now, and it has everything I needed from a launcher. You can have PWAs but they have to be pinned to the main app drawer on the first screen and they won't show up in the list of all apps.

      I find the search especially helpful, since you can have search shortcuts for other apps as well which can be customized.

  6. PepperJackson
    Link
    I think the answer for the most minimal launcher is KISS launcher. It's incredibly small, and fast. It is based around searching for each item when you want to launch, or using folders to narrow down.

    I think the answer for the most minimal launcher is KISS launcher.

    It's incredibly small, and fast. It is based around searching for each item when you want to launch, or using folders to narrow down.

    1 vote
  7. [2]
    Ampoth
    (edited )
    Link
    I've been using AIO Launcher (Google Play link) ever since I found it. I like having my home screen just be all of the information I care about quickly displayed. I believe one of the plugins that...

    I've been using AIO Launcher (Google Play link) ever since I found it. I like having my home screen just be all of the information I care about quickly displayed. I believe one of the plugins that it can display would be a to do list, but I think the default one is pretty bare bones. You'd then be able to swipe out the list of all of your apps, which has a variety of sorting options.

    I honestly find how stripped down and plain it is to be great, and then coupled with a "My Apps" and "Frequently Used Apps" lists I can have the icons of what I need/use be easily accessible without having to go through the list of all of the apps. As a whole, it seems to be very customizable, I just haven't needed to or bothered messing with it very much. If anything, I think it might have too many things enabled by default, but hidden features don't sell.

    1. KapteinB
      Link Parent
      That timer widget looks amazing. Anyone know of a clock or timer app with a similar widget?

      That timer widget looks amazing. Anyone know of a clock or timer app with a similar widget?

  8. fxgn
    Link
    It doesn't fit what you're describing, but check out Pie Launcher, once I got used to it, I'm able to launch the most important apps super quickly. It's very convenient

    It doesn't fit what you're describing, but check out Pie Launcher, once I got used to it, I'm able to launch the most important apps super quickly. It's very convenient

  9. [2]
    KapteinB
    Link
    Can you explain this in a bit more detail?

    swipe for apps

    Can you explain this in a bit more detail?

    1. slashtab
      Link Parent
      I think it means you have two screen on home, on 1st screen you have apps and on another you have ToDo list. So you swipe to switch between them.

      I think it means you have two screen on home, on 1st screen you have apps and on another you have ToDo list. So you swipe to switch between them.

      2 votes
  10. vord
    (edited )
    Link
    Looks similiar to your Aero, but I've been using Unlauncher for quite a while now. Having the search at the top of the giant list, as well as being able to rename apps, helps tremendously.

    Looks similiar to your Aero, but I've been using Unlauncher for quite a while now.

    Having the search at the top of the giant list, as well as being able to rename apps, helps tremendously.

  11. FlippantGod
    (edited )
    Link
    For people who came here looking for a minimal launcher and not the wishlist features, there is Essential Launcher, open source but discontinued by the author. You get four or five icons on the...

    For people who came here looking for a minimal launcher and not the wishlist features, there is Essential Launcher, open source but discontinued by the author. You get four or five icons on the homescreen, and swipe up for all apps and app search. This is the smallest (I have found), comfortably usable launcher with icons (no custom icons, of course).

    Correction: I'm on a later version than this fork, source unavailable. YMMV.

  12. zenen
    Link
    Lunar Launcher! Simple and effective. I got this one and I've been happy with it since then.

    Lunar Launcher!

    Simple and effective. I got this one and I've been happy with it since then.

  13. LewsTherinTelescope
    Link
    I used to use HgLauncher, which is pretty much just a search bar, a dock, and an alphabetical apps list. Unfortunately it doesn't support shortcuts last I checked (at least I think that was the...

    I used to use HgLauncher, which is pretty much just a search bar, a dock, and an alphabetical apps list. Unfortunately it doesn't support shortcuts last I checked (at least I think that was the issue), so instead I've been using TinyBit configured to replicate it as closely as possible. Might be able to use the latter to get what you want as long as you have another app with a checklist widget, but I haven't done much customization besides what was necessary to copy Hg so I'm not certain.

    I don't remember why I decided against KISS tbh. I think it was missing something but I've forgotten what.