What Is Your Favorite Android Launcher?

Illustration for article titled What Is Your Favorite Android Launcher?

The most hardcorest of Android users will root their phones and start from scratch with new ROMs. But, uh, that's more complicated than what the average user wants to go through just to squeeze slightly better performance out of their phone. Luckily, there is an easier way!

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An application launcher is an easier way to customize the look and feel of your Android phone without doing any fancy footwork. We're looking for recommendations. What launchers do you all like? Why do you like them?

We'll round up the best responses in a later post. Reveal your knowledge to me!

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DISCUSSION

MAKE2 Mifune

I'm very fond of ADW Launcher EX:

  • lightweight
  • good customization options
  • no odd permission requests
  • does not generate outbound traffic/sell your data

Also getting fond of Nova Launcher.

I know this is about which one is my favorite, but I feel obligated to mention which is my least favorite: GO Launcher— it is essentially Chinese spyware that datamines the shit out of you. Upon installation it will ask for root permission, will bombard you with requests to install additional software that is from a non Google source (big red flag), generates hundreds of packets of outbound traffic to Chinese CDNs without user input. Highly invasive and creates plain text files that make note of your unique device hardware id, among others bits of information that shouldn't be necessary for a launcher, leaves trace files that remain after "Remove App", developer/company heavily engaged in review shaping on various marketplaces. GO Launcher is incredibly popular, but I can't stress how much of a privacy/security risk one puts themselves at if they install it. This applies to all GO products.

A lot of people are going to list GO as their favorite. I feel bad for them. And their data.