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How to Make Nova Launcher Look (and Function) Like the Pixel Launcher
Google’s Pixel Launcher is a fantastic and clean home screen utility that everyone should be able to enjoy—the problem is, it’s a Pixel-exclusive feature. The good news is that you can actually set Nova Launcher up to look and function exactly like Pixel Launcher. And since it’s Nova, you can actually improve on Pixel Launcher’s functionality. I call that a win-win.
So, what makes Pixel Launcher so good? Really, it’s the simplicity. The app drawer button has been removed, and the drawer is now accessed with a simple swipe up from the dock. This is not only arguably simpler, but it also frees up a spot in your dock, giving the option to add another app instead of having a spot taken up by the app drawer button.
It also offers quick access to Google Search with the small “G” Tab at the top, as well as fast access to arguably my favorite weather app: Google Weather. Long-pressing certain icons—like Messenger or Phone—will offer up quick access to your most recent contacts. Pixel Launcher is all about speed, efficiency, and simplicity.
Before we get into the how-to on this thing, you should be aware that there are a lot of steps involved here. As such, I created a Nova backup file—with an empty home screen—that contains all these settings so you can download it, add your icons, and skip a lot of this hassle. You can find the download in the last section of this tutorial.
It’s also worth mentioning that most of these settings are available in the free version of Nova—you just won’t be able to change the icon size, which requires Nova Prime. Everything else should be good to go, though.
Go ahead and open up Nova Settings—I’ll break everything down by category (Desktop, App & Widget Drawers, etc.) and try to keep the instructions as short and concise as possible.
What to Change In Desktop Settings
The first option in Nova’s Settings menu is “Desktop.” Jump in there, and change the following:
That’s everything in Desktop Settings.
What to Change in App & Widget Drawers
Once you back out of Desktop Settings, jump into the App & Widget Drawers menu and change this stuff:
Now tap back again to head back into Nova’s root Settings menu.
What to Change in Dock Settings
Head into Nova’s “Dock” settings. Tweak these things:
Tap the back button to head back into Nova’s Settings menu. You’re almost done!
What to Change in Folders
Tap the “Folders” option. A few more things:
Optional: What to Change in Look & Feel
Lastly, if you want to round out the Pixel look, you’ll need to change your icon pack. In order to do that, you’ll first need to download a Pixel Icon Pack from the Play Store—there are a ton to choose from, but this one seems to offer the most icons. Once you have it installed, jump into Nova’s “Look & Feel” menu.
Download Our Clean, Pixel-ified Nova Backup
Like I said at the beginning, I created a clean setup that already has the above stuff enabled, tweaked, toggled, or otherwise done. This means you can download this backup file to your phone, head into Nova’s settings > Backup & Import Settings > Restore or Manage Backups, choose this .novabackup file, then add your own widgets and icons to complete the look. Easy peasy.
Note: You’ll still need to install the Pixel Icon Pack from the above step if you’d like to set your icon theme.