20 Nova Launcher Tips and Tricks You Must Know

Nova Launcher is one of the best homescreen launchers that has been around for a few years now. Many launchers over the years have tried to replace Nova Launcher but haven’t managed to do so yet. It still is one of the best launchers for those looking for absolute customization. The feature-packed homescreen launcher can be overwhelming for some. However, to make things easier, we’ve created a list of 20 useful Nova Launcher tips and tricks you must know to master it. These tips and tricks range from small tweaks you can make to some major features that you must use.

Of course, some tips and tricks on the list will only work for those who have purchased Nova Launcher prime. Fortunately, the prime version costs only a few bucks. And since the launcher is something you will use each and every day, we highly recommend purchasing the prime version. Nonetheless, let’s check out some cool tips and tricks to make the most of Nova Launcher on Android.

Nova Launcher Tips and Tricks

Before we get started, in case you do not have Nova Launcher installed on your Android phone, click here to download it from the Google Play store. Additionally, you can also purchase Nova Launcher Prime.

1. Swipe to open a folder

This is an incredibly useful feature that exists on Nova Launcher. This feature can be used to hide apps on the homescreen since the folder only opens when you swipe up on the app icon which is the first app in the folder. And it also makes the homescreen look less cluttered if you’re aiming for a minimalistic setup.

Nova Launcher folder settings

To enable the Swipe to open folder option, simply create a group of apps on your homescreen. Then long-press on the folder and tap on the Edit option. Toggle on the Swipe to open folder feature.

2. Backup your configuration

Nova Launcher lets you create a backup of your current configuration. This includes the widget layout and app placement as well. Hence, if you switch your device or want the same layout on another device, you can restore the backed-up configuration. To back up the existing configuration, long-press on an empty space on the homescreen. Then tap on Settings and navigate to the Backup & import settings.

backup Nova Launcher settings

Tap on Backup and from the drop-down menu select Device Storage to store the backup on the phone. Additionally, you can also choose Document Storage to store the backup on Google Drive. We’d suggest backing up the file to Google Drive since it can be accessed from any device.

3. Reset the launcher

Given the incredible customization options within the launcher settings, it’s possible to make a mistake and change the wrong settings. And you might not know what you did in order to fix it. Fortunately, you can quickly reset the entire launcher settings to default. To reset Nova Launcher on your Android device, follow these steps.

Reset Nova Launcher

  1. Long-press on an empty space on the homescreen.
  2. Tap on the Backup & import settings.
  3. Then tap on Reset to default and confirm your action by pressing on RESET.

It would take only a couple of seconds to reset to the default settings. You can then customize your launcher from the start to your preference.

4. Change Night mode background color

Most people have different opinions on what the night mode color should be. Some prefer the total back color while others prefer the dark grey background. Nova Launcher does offer users the option to change the background color when night mode is toggled on.

Nova Launcher night mode

  1. Open up the Nova Launcher settings.
  2. Tap on Night mode.
  3. Under the Background color section, you will see three different color options.
  4. Check out all three color options by tapping on them and keep the one you like.

It’s also worth noting that you must enable dark mode to see the change in color. To toggle on Dark mode, perform the first two steps from above and tap on Night mode. Then select On to enable dark mode. The dark mode is soothing to the eyes. You can automatically dim the brightness of your phone using the screen dimmer app for Android.

5. Select the dark mode areas

I personally love the AMOLED black dark mode applied everywhere. However, if you do not want to have the dark mode or night mode applied throughout Nova Launcher, then do not fret. You can even choose to apply the night mode to specific areas of the homescreen launcher.

Dark theme on Nova launcher

  1. Once again, go to Nova Launcher settings and tap on Night mode.
  2. Under the Use dark theme on section, you can choose the areas in which you want the dark theme to appear on.
  3. To apply the dark theme on an area, make sure to select it by tapping on the name or checkbox.

Therefore, when the night mode is enabled, only those areas you selected will be changed to the dark mode theme. For example, if you selected only the App drawer, then only the app drawer will adopt the dark theme automatically.

6. Change the animation speed

This cool Nova Launcher tip will allow you to change the animation speed within the launcher itself. Hence, you wouldn’t have to fumble around with the developer options on your Android device. Of course, the animation speed will only change for the launcher. Although, this can be seen as a bonus since you can make the launcher feel snappy without changing the overall animation speed.

Animation speed settings

  1. Head to Nova Launcher settings.
  2. Tap on the Look & feel option and then select Animation speed.
  3. You should be able to see five different animation speed options.
  4. The Relaxed option has slow animations and transitions whereas the Faster than light option ditches animations. Hence, check out all the animation speeds available and then decide to stick with the one you like the best.

7. Hide the notification bar

Having the option to hide the notification bar in Nova Launcher is a huge bonus. It hides the notification bar on the homescreen allowing you to create excellent minimal homescreen setups. Individuals looking for a clean homescreen aesthetic should consider using this tip.

Nova Launcher notification bar

  1. Tap on the Look & feel option within the Nova Launcher settings.
  2. Under the notification bar section, toggle off the Show notification bar option.

After you toggle off the setting, the notification bar will no longer be visible in the homescreen. However, you can make a quick swipe down gesture from the top of the screen to bring the notification bar into view. It will automatically be hidden again in a couple of seconds.

8. Automatically add new apps to the homescreen

Some of you might not like this Nova Launcher tip. However, it can be useful to some. Whatever side of the fence you are on, here’s how to toggle on or off the feature.

  1. Within the Nova Launcher settings tap on the Home screen option.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the list and then enable or disable the option called Add icons to home screen.

If you enable the feature, each time you install a new app on your phone it will show up in the homescreen. But if you disable the feature, then the newly installed apps will not show up on the home screen. You will have to manually drag and drop apps from the app drawer to the homescreen. You can give a unique look to your phone’s home screen using these best live wallpapers app for Android.

9. Quickly add apps to folders

This trick is especially handy for when you need to add multiple apps to a folder. You will not have to manually drag and drop apps into the folder. Here’s how to add multiple apps to a folder.

Apps in folders

  1. Create a folder by pressing and holding on an app’s icon and placing it over the other app’s icon you want in the folder.
  2. Once the new folder is created on the homescreen, long-press on the folder.
  3. From the pop-up menu, tap on Select apps.
  4. Now select the apps you want to add to the folder and tap on Save once you’re done.

The selected apps will be added to the folder after you tap on Save.

10. Enable Dynamic badges

Dynamic badges are somewhat like Android Oreo notification dots. However, rather than showing a simple dot on an app’s icon, it makes use of the notification content. Hence, say that you get a call from a person in your contact list, rather than showing a number or dot on the phone icon, it will display the contact’s picture in the dot. This makes it easier to identify the notification content without having to view it entirely.

Notification badges settings in nova

  1. In the Nova Launcher settings, tap on Notification badges.
  2. You will have to grant the app Notification Access. Thus, tap on the banner at the bottom of the screen and grant Nova Launcher notification access.
  3. After giving permission, you can begin to set up the position and size of the Dynamic badges.

11. Individually change app icons

Nova Launchers customization goes all the way down to giving users the option to manually change individual icons for apps. Therefore, you can create your own custom icons in .png formats and apply them to the apps of your choice. Although, you can skip that and rather choose icons from another icon pack. This allows you to mix and match the icons from your favorite icon packs and create a unique homescreen setup.

change app icons
nova launcher tips – app icon
  1. Long-press on the app you want to change the icon of.
  2. In the pop-up menu, tap on Edit.
  3. Then tap on the app’s icon.
  4. You can now select an icon from the installed icon packs or you can choose an icon from the Gallery.

Once you select the icon of your choice, it will automatically change the default (current) icon to the selected icon.

12. Sort apps in folders

If you’ve got multiple apps in a folder, it might get a little messy. Fortunately, you can quickly sort the apps in a folder alphabetically. Simply long-press on the folder on the Nova Launcher homescreen and tap on the AZ sort button. The apps in the folder will automatically be rearranged alphabetically.

13. Swipe actions for apps

This is another useful Nova Launcher trick that you must check out. Using the swipe action feature in Nova Launcher will allow you to have multiple shortcuts by simply swiping on app icons. You can set up a swipe action for any app icon or folder on the homescreen.

swipe action settings

  1. Press and hold on an app’s icon on the homescreen.
  2. Tap on the Edit button.
  3. Under the Swipe action section, tap on None or the arrow.
  4. From here, you can select what action to carry out when you swipe up on an app’s icon.

There are three tabs to choose from — Nova, Apps, Shortcuts. The Nova actions allow you to do stuff like bring up the app drawer or lock the screen. From the Apps tab, you can select an app to launch when you swipe up on the selected app’s icon. Lastly, from the Shortcuts tab, you can select to launch straight to an app’s available shortcuts.

14. Customizing gestures

Nova Launcher has one of the best implementations of gestures of all homescreen launchers. It not only has 2 or 3 or even 4 gestures, but it has 11 gestures that you can customize. These gestures can be remapped to launch any other app, shortcut or action. Hence, you might want to pay close attention to this Nova Launcher trick.

  1. In the launcher’s Settings, tap on Gestures & inputs.
  2. Under the Gestures section, you’ll see a list of all the available gestures and their default actions.
  3. Tap on the Gesture to change what it does.
  4. Again, you will see three tabs — Nova, Apps, and Shortcuts. Select the function or app you want to launch while using the gesture on the homescreen.

That’s it. Simply set up all the gestures based on your preference. Although, you can stick to using only a few gestures while leaving the rest as they are by default.

15. Search quickly with Sesame

Sesame is a third-party plugin that works with Nova Launcher to greatly enhance the search. The app can integrate with multiple different apps such as Spotify, Telegram, WhatsApp and a lot more. And thanks to that, it offers a powerful search that you can use to search for just about anything on your phone or the internet. And all this can be done directly from Nova Launcher’s search bar.

sesame shortcuts

  1. Within Nova Launcher settings, tap on Integrations and then tap on Sesame shortcuts.
  2. Download and install the app from the Google Play Store.
  3. Next, toggle on Shortcuts in app search.
  4. Now you can begin searching for app shortcuts straight from Nova Launcher’s search function.

16. Organize your app drawer

If you’re someone who has a boatload of apps installed on your Android phone, then this tip might help you. Nova Launcher lets you organize the app drawer by creating tabs. Hence, you can create tabs to categorize your apps to help you find them easily. Moreover, it looks tidier.

App drawer group settings in nova launcher
nova launcher tips – app drawer
  1. Tap on App drawer in the settings and scroll down.
  2. Select Drawer groups under the Apps section.
  3. Swipe over to the Tabs section and tap on the Add icon located at the top right.
  4. Type in the title of the tab and click on add.
  5. Now tap on the new tab that you just created and select the apps that you want to add to the tab.

That’s it. After you select the apps you want to add to the new tab, head back to the homescreen and bring up the app drawer. Swipe from right to left on the screen to access the new tab. You will be able to see only the apps you selected appear. Additionally, the selected apps will not appear in the main app drawer by default. Although, you can change that by simply checking the Keep apps in main app tab option while setting up the new tab.

17. Hide apps from the app drawer

In case you have certain apps installed on your phone that you don’t want to show up in the app drawer, then this trick is for you. Nova Launcher lets you easily hide apps from the app drawer.

  1. In Nova Launcher settings, tap on the App drawer option.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and tap on Hide apps.
  3. A list of all the installed apps will appear. Select the apps you wish to hide from the app drawer.

All the selected apps will be hidden from the app drawer. You can access them by searching for them via the Nova Launcher search function.

Check out: How to Hide Files and Folders in Ubuntu

18. Change icon appearance without icon packs

Yes, you do not need to download an icon pack to change the appearance of icons when using Nova Launcher. You can use the launcher’s built-in app icon changer. Follow the steps below to quickly change the appearance of the icons.

nova launcher icons changer

  1. Head over to the Look & feel settings.
  2. Tap on Icon style and then check out the Icon shape option.
  3. Here you can select between 5 different pre-set icon shapes. These shapes are — Round, Squircle, Rounded square, Square, and Teardrop.
  4. Additionally, you can also tap on Customize to change the icon shape with granular control. Hence you can even make the icons appear in a diamond shape if you choose to.

For this to work even better we suggest turning on the Reshape legacy icons option too.

19. Lock the homescreen layout

This is something that has happened to me a lot. Often times while holding the phone with the screen on, some icons might be moved around or completely removed from the homescreen. And you might be left wondering which app is missing all of a sudden. To prevent this, you can toggle on an option that completely locks the homescreen layout.

Homescreen lock

  1. Tap on Home screen settings and scroll to the bottom of the list.
  2. Expand the Advanced section and then toggle on Lock layout.

Now you will never accidentally remove or move applications around on your homescreen. To temporarily unlock the homescreen you can long-press on an apps icon and then long-press on the pop-up again. This will allow you to move around icons temporarily.

20. Unlock experimental features

Experimental features
nova launcher tips – experimental features

This trick might not be for everyone to use. The Labs is a hidden section consisting of experimental features you can play around with. To enable Labs you have to press and hold the volume down button while in the launcher’s settings. After that, you will be able to see an option called Labs appear in the launcher’s settings. You can then check out the experimental features that are currently available. We’d advise not changing any features here if you do not know what it does.

That’s it, folks. We hope these 20 Nova Launcher tips and tricks help you create a personalized homescreen experience on your Android device and use it like a pro.

If you are new to Android and want to dig deeper into your phone, learn new things and have fun, you must not miss the cool stuff you can do with ADB Shell commands.

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