Do we really even need an app drawer in Android?

by: Kris CarlonMarch 1, 2016
2.3K

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Recent leaks have shown a promising possibility that the Android N app drawer may not be dead and buried quite yet. Although the circumstantial evidence seems to point to OEMs knowing what’s coming, the team at Android Police have reportedly seen Android N with an app drawer. Regardless of whether it’s ultimately an Android N feature or not, it’s time to ask the question: do we really even need the app drawer?

android n preview logoSee also: Android N features: everything confirmed, rumored and expected261

The information we received prior to MWC about Android N possibly removing the app drawer never said that the feature was definitively out. As we all know, Android features come and go and get tested and revised all the time. So we can’t say if the pre-release builds our sources told us about have now been revised to add the app drawer back in, whether it’ll be an optional setting like on the Galaxy S7 and in Sony’s Marshmallow concept, or if Google still hasn’t decided whether to keep it. But let’s look at the pros and cons of the situation.

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Why we like the app drawer

On the pro-app drawer side, we know it as one of the defining features of Android. It helps keep your home screens tidy and affords a lot of the customization potential that Android is known for. By keeping an alphabetized list of apps out of sight, Android users can curate their home screens however they like, with their favorite apps, widgets, shortcuts and more. It’s a desktop model, where the full app list is only ever a click away and the home screen is a customizable playground.

By removing the app drawer, Android would not only look more like iOS, it would also add more steps to launching apps you don’t have on your main home screen. It seems reasonable that widgets, shortcuts and so on will still function as we know them to, but using them would actually add steps to the app launching experience rather than making everything simpler.

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Think about it: you’d have Google Now to the left, your primary home screen next, perhaps a calendar and email widget on the next two screens and then several pages of app icons. So rather than a single tap on the home screen to access your full apps list you’d have to swipe several times to get to it. Adding a primary home screen shortcut to the start of your app list would simply reproduce what the app drawer shortcut already does.

To Android users this setup feels terribly slow and laborious. The argument for doing it this way seems to be that it is simpler and more intuitive than the app drawer because the two-layer system is confusing and people don’t know where to find the apps they install or how to remove them. Perhaps this is true for novice users or those new to the platform, but considering Android has had an app drawer for forever, that’s a difficult pill to swallow.

Anyone that has ever had any contact with an Android phone would understand it has an app drawer in exactly the same way as Android users understand that iOS doesn't.

Anyone that has ever had any contact with an Android phone would understand it has an app drawer in exactly the same way as Android users understand that iOS doesn’t or that automatic vehicle owners are aware of manual transmissions, even if they’ve never driven one. After all, it’s not exactly rocket science: your favorite apps on the home screen and all your apps in the app drawer. Of course, this isn’t to say that Google might not have a new trick up its sleeve for quickly getting the app you want.

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Implications of removing the app drawer

If Android were to remove the app drawer, the increasingly blurry lines between iOS and Android would be further deteriorated and the ease of switching between platforms would increase. Whether this operational similarity would work more in Android’s favor or Apple’s it is hard to say. But whichever way it goes it would mean the “confusing” part of the transition phase would be significantly reduced, making switching a much more palatable option. Again, this could either be very good or very bad for Android.

We can only hope that the early builds were experiments and that Google has added the app drawer back in, or that it at least remains an option in Android N.

On the positive side of the fence, it is a very simple affair to install a custom launcher and keep the app drawer if it does get removed. If Google also changes the Google Now Launcher to remove the app drawer you can simply switch to Nova instead. But for obvious reasons, die-hard Android fans don’t want to have to use an alternative launcher to reproduce what they see as the core Android experience. We can only hope that the early builds were experiments and that Google has added the app drawer back in, or that it at least remains an option in Android N.

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But what if it were to be removed entirely? Is there any real upshot to it’s removal? Not that I can see. Sure, it would make Android a little less confusing to those jumping ship from iOS and might appeal to the apparently significant audience that claims that the two-layer setup makes Android harder to navigate. As members of the Android faithful, we have to admit that what is obvious to us may not be obvious to everyone. But it’s hard to see how removing the app drawer entirely would be adding more than it is taking away.

Whenever something we like gets taken away we all freak out, then we settle in and eventually come to like it. Remember lock screen widgets?

Like most feature additions or subtractions though, we would get used to it. Whenever something we like gets taken away we all freak out, then we settle in and eventually come to like it. Remember lock screen widgets? The removal of the Gallery app? At the time they seemed hugely important but we rapidly forgot about them and moved on. The same would be true if the app drawer goes. We’ll install launchers, flame up in the forums and then not really care anymore. Google might re-introduce the option like it did with true silent mode, but we’ll all survive if it doesn’t.

WHERE'S THE APP DRAWER?

Do we really need the app drawer?

So the answer to the question “do we really need the app drawer?” is “probably not”. We don’t ultimately need it, it’s not that critical, but we like it and want it, even if it’s not that big of a deal. As Android users we prefer choice over dogma. We want to “be together, not the same”.

While we have the means to keep the app drawer if we want to, there’s understandable resistance to Google removing something this familiar from stock Android. It feels too much like iOS, adds extra steps to app launches and will probably just result in everyone having a home screen folder with all apps in it. For a while at least. Until we get used to it.

Read Next: Everything you can expect from Google I/O 2016.

  • Jonatan Gomez

    Well, I like to have an app drawer

  • Wouter

    I don’t need one. A messy list of apps. Let me sort it on my home screen. Lovely.

    • legendlord4751

      Alphabetical order is now classed as messy?

      • Wouter

        Yes, on a daily use I find that messy. Let me sort it on category or something like that.

  • Leandro Brandão

    I don’t really need one.
    All my most used apps are in the homescreen.
    The ones i don’t use a lot is in app drawer, but it could be just in a folder.

  • Armaan Modi

    Yes,obviously.App drawer is needed for widgets,and it separates our most important apps.I have hundreds of apps in my phone.. It would be terrible to have them all on the homescreen.the Homescreen allows us to create beautiful setups with nice wallpapers and widgets.

  • databoy2k

    Isn’t this all much ado about nothing? Seriously, the percentage of us/those that even appreciate stock Android, whatever that means today, is minuscule compared to the user base. The percentage of those appreciators that use Nexus devices, the only way to get stock Android, is even smaller. And that percentage of those nexus users that don’t use an aftermarket launcher hits rock bottom.

    It’s not like Samsung/LG/HTC/Motorola give a rip about Google’s flights of fancy; they’re too busy creating their own toys, skins, launchers. So Google’s going to try something new, the user base will respond, and the skins that make up the majority of what people know as Android will respond accordingly.

    This is an insane amount of hype for something that probably isn’t going to be an issue once it’s even released.

    • legendlord4751

      I’d just like to point out that a lot of phones come with *almost* stock android. Take for example Motorola phones and carrier phones (eg EE Harrier or Vodafone Smart Ultra 6, the latter being what i currently own) With Moto, they just add useful features without changing the look and feel. With the carrier, they pre-install bloat apps, but the ones on the SU6 at least can be uninstalled.

      • databoy2k

        Admittedly I’m roping in all changes to the AOSP/Nexus line, so yes I’ve captured the “almost stock” options. My point is that they don’t feel constrained to that AOSP line to begin with, so why should they feel so constrained now? There’s a lot of complaining about an option that will be implemented in a tiny % of phones before these other manufacturers even consider the option, let alone implement it. The fragmentation charts bear that out. Then the question still is: just what percentage of the Android user base as a whole will be subjected to these changes, and what fraction of that actually care? Still not enough for the number of editorials being done on this topic.

  • Marc Maalouli

    The thing is that the gallery app or silent mode, imo, were not as fundamental as the app drawer. Removing the gallery app didnt completely change the look and feel of the software, and neither did the true silence mode. Removing something ;as big as the app drawer is gonna take a long time to adjust to and I think the only people who will truly “get used to it” are the people who never experienced an app drawer in the first place.

  • Armaan Modi

    Yes,obviously.App drawer is needed for widgets,and it separates our most important apps.I have hundreds of apps in my phone.. It would be terrible to have them all on the homescreen.the Homescreen allows us to create beautiful setups with nice wallpapers and widgets.

  • JSo

    In my opinion, the home screen space is best for widgets. I’m not one who lays out their most used apps on their home screen. I have the main dock and one folder for my most used apps. My screens are used for widgets. If they remove the app drawer (which I kinda doubt they will), I’ll ditch the Google Now Launcher.

  • acido44

    Android now automatically places new apps on the home screen when they’re installed, so most casual users don’t even use the drawer at all. I think the best solution would be for Android N to come without a drawer by default and then give the option to turn it on. Since the people who take advantage of it are mostly advanced users they wouldn’t have a problem looking for that switch in the settings.

    • Dominick White

      Which is annoying. It’s because the play store has that turn on by default and you have go into settings and turn that off in the play store

  • David

    What the hell Android Authority? I disable ad blocking on your site to support you but this stupid Starbucks video keeps moving my focus so that it is at the top. So I go to try and read the article and BOOM.. I’m scrolled to the bottom of the page out of nowhere with this dumb ad at the top. Blocked, until further notice.

  • If what Google did to Google Now — moving it to a dedicated page on the home screen — is any indication, it really only makes sense for Google to also integrate the app drawer into its own dedicated page (most ideally the home screen page immediately to the right of the Google Now page). Since the app drawer went from paginated in Lollipop to scrollable in Marshmallow, that change could very well have been a precursor to this transition: after all, it’s actually physically possible for a scrollable app drawer, like Google Now which is also scrollable, to take up only one page of the home screen, leaving plenty of other pages to the right of it for the user’s customization enjoyment. It’s physically impossible, however, for paginated app drawers to do this.

  • nnaemeka ezebilo

    What people always forget is that you can’t get the Google now page on any other launcher other than the Google now launcher. That’s the whole reason I still use it. I hope they leave it in as an option like screen rotation and the app shortcuts.

  • Allyn K C

    I don’t need one – but it should be an option.

    I don’t think Google will eliminate it – but lets assume for the moment that they did. There are ways Google could make the transition easy on traditionalists. For example, in the Google Now Launcher we have scrolling folders allowing more than the old 16 item limit (is this a feature in Marshmallow? I don’t have it yet, so not sure – but third-party launchers also have scrolling folders).

    So, create a folder, name it “App Drawer”, and dump everything in it upon install of new apps. You could even place the folder on your dock. Better yet would be if Google gives some sorting options to folders that would be more reminiscent of the traditional app drawer options.

  • Cristid

    I dont want the app drawer to go away. Ive been using Android for 6 years now, why cange it?

  • C Lo

    Keep the app drawer. Stop changing things for the sake of change. Why doesn’t Google work on how to take their OS back and guarantee updates to ALL devices instead of modifying or even removing the app drawer.

    • Giovonni Fareed

      +1
      Aman to that

  • Preben Nielsen

    I would hate having to store all the apps is a desktop drawer to get them out of the away. On android I have a lot of apps that are services used for customizing the experience (and icon packs!) and these are not apps that I need to have on my screen since they should never be run. I would rather have some extra options for the appdrawer that not even all launchers provide (sort by last/most used, sort by last installed).

    • Ridge

      Really good point! On top of apps, we’d have icon packs and the like on the home screen!

      I don’t want folders and folders of apps that I seldom use on my home screens. That’s why I’ll continue to use Nova Launcher.

  • Rahil Zulji

    We need a app drawer,the feel when you tap on a button and every app comes up ,and when you pres home or back,you go back to home screen and see a sweet widget with some favorite app schortucts on the home screen.WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU REMOVE THE SWEET ANDROID FEATURE !!??!? WHYYY!?!?!

  • wanderman

    hmm considering one of the reasons I moved from iOS to Android was so I didn’t have to deal with seeing every single one of my apps on my screen at all times, yeah, I’d vote to keep it.

  • Fornavn Etternavn

    Imagine Apple giving their iphones an app drawer now.

    • Christopher Bennett

      Thats a great point! Sounds even more ridiculous when you put it like that. Hope Android/Google don’t take away the app drawer.

    • dvdlgh

      Yes. The best answer is the simplest answer!

    • Dakoda Koziol

      I wonder if there’s a Cydia tweak for that.

  • Kristopher

    I wouldn’t miss the app drawer if it was removed, thought I can’t speak for everyone else’s user experience. I use a combination of widgets and folders on my screens to sort my apps, and all the apps I have on my phone I actually use (I’m rooted. No bloatware). Because I sort my apps like this I never visit the app drawer, and everything is readily available depending my situational needs.

    • JSo

      Without that app drawer, all those apps you never use would be on your home screen as well. Which means you would either have to dedicate a whole page for them or a whole folder. Either way, it takes up random space for something you never use.

    • So what about all those apps that you install that you don’t actually launch manually? Things like supersu, icon packs, wallpaper packs, xposed modules, etc. Now all that crap will be on your home screen.

      • Dakoda Koziol

        I remember my IPhone days, I literally would make a folder named “Trash” and fill it with Stocks, ITunes, that Nike fitness thing, all that stuff that I never needed.

  • McLaren F1P1

    For productivity purposes, I removed my app drawer on apex and use that space as double tap to lock using Greenify Lock! I still have it hiding on another homescreen though as it’s indispensable!

  • ThatDudeKee

    I personally believe that the app draw and/or its removal is directly related to making previous Iphone users more comfortable using android. However, iphones don’t have app drawers because they only have apps. When you have full screen widgets on your homescreen, that means you’ll have multiple extra pages to show all the apps that were previously held in the app drawer. I do understand that folders can used similar to an app drawer, but why do all the work to move all the apps that you don’t use regularly in a folder when they’re already in the app drawer. Basically we’re dumbing down android to look more and more like IOS. :0(

  • Nik_262

    I like having all my apps in the drawer and only I really need in my home screen(s). If I would like to have all my apps in home screen I could do that now, but not the opposite. So, the best choice is to give a choice.

  • Vantucky

    Or maybe they just change the way that you access the app drawer. If it went from a button to double tapping on the home screen I would be more than Ok with that change.

    • JSo

      If they do that, they better give us more screen space option. I use Dashclock as my main screen widget and on stock it takes up the whole width of the screen. I use Xposed GEL setting to give me an extra column for gestures.

    • I use the Nova swipe up gesture to open my app drawer

      • Dakoda Koziol

        Me too (but I still leave the grid icon, for aesthetics ;) )

        • jaunie ibarra

          I do the same thing on Nova but swipe down. My swipe up gesture enables the most recent apps used. ;)

    • jaunie ibarra

      What if we just had to swipe up from the bottom to get the app drawer? Makes more visual sense.

  • Alejandro Delgado

    Spoiler alert: No, we don’t need it. But people like it so why not just leave it there? it’s not broken

  • Ifnkovhgroghprm

    6 months ago I would have hated the idea but the way I use my phone currently it wouldn’t actually make that much difference to me. I use the Kustom Live Wallpaper app as my home screen, so I literally have zero apps on my home screen. My wallpaper has a music widget, clock/calender and few shortcuts to apps that I use daily. I removed the dock from my screen so I don’t even have a button to my app drawer, instead I simply swipe up to access it. The drawer itself is organised into folders and any apps that I don’t use (icon packs, bloat, etc) is hidden. So if they were to remove it, all I would change is my current app drawer set up would be transferred to the page to the right of my homescreen, so instead of swiping up to access it, I would simply swipe to the right.

    However, I realise the vast majority of people don’t use their phones like this and in 6 months time I could revert back to my old ways, so removing it altogether would be a bad idea in my opinion. Also, I recognise that for a large group of people the app drawer and homescreen set up makes no sense, my mum’s current S6 is proof of that. She has about 5 screens with 3/4 apps on each one lol she has no idea about customising here screens despite my multiple attempts at educating her, she doesn’t care about widgets she just wants her apps. She’s certainly not alone in that.

    So I think giving users the option is the best solution, present the option when setting up the phone for the first time. However even without the app drawer there should still be the ability to sort apps by a-z/last installed/etc and the ability to hide apps so people aren’t stuck with having to stick all their unused apps in a folder like iOS users.

    One of Android’s greatest strengths is its customisability, its current slogan is “Be together, not the same” so just give us the option.

  • Jollyt

    I think app-drawers are old…Google may be thinking on alternatives….I use Action launcher without app-drawer and ya I dont put widgets on homescreen because action launcher has an option for widget shortcuts (we just have to slide our finger over the app icon for widget)

    • Dakoda Koziol

      Action launcher has that swipe from the left thing though. That is still an app drawer, just not full screen.

  • Yolø23

    I like the app drawer so I don’t need to have all the pre installed Google apps and in my case all the pre installed apps from Samsung. If we get an option to uninstall those apps not disable which is possible now but completely uninstall them and if I want some back I should be Abe to install them from Google play and. Samsung’s app from there app store

  • Salvador Hernandez

    Yes

  • oldzealand

    I really like what OnePlus did with Shelf on OxygenOs, where most frequent apps are displayed

  • Michael Collins

    I think they could do away with the dedicated button and add it into the home button. I like Google on tap but they could change it where we slide up from the home button to open the app drawer. Just a thought

    • Dakoda Koziol

      Aesthetically, Android would look, well, just different without that iconic grid icon. I have Nova Launcher set up so that the swipe-up gesture opens the app drawer, so I never touch the icon. But although it’s using precious space, I can’t get myself to remove it. It just has to be there, out it doesn’t feel right.

      • Michael Collins

        Same here… IDC as long as they don’t pull an apple with apps on the home screen, and have dedicated page(s) for apps

  • takpro

    I’m assuming that if they eliminate the app drawer, a lot of people would jetison the GNL for a custom launcher with an app drawer. That would eliminate the Google Now experience that Google is trying to promote. (Shooting Self In Foot) Which, as we all know, Google is pretty good at. At that point Apple will decide it has been wrong all along and adopt the app drawer.

  • If you think about it, these are the steps to reach an app now:

    1. Open the app drawer
    2. Scroll through a list/cards of apps
    3. Find and open the app

    Removing the app drawer would remove 1 step. It would be ideal if the replaced it with a quick way of searching an app by typing its name, or just a part of it. That’s how I do it in Nova Launcher (I have associated app search to a gesture) and I have not opened the app drawer in ages.

    • The problem is you need to organize your home screens to layout apps the way you want, it will likely function like iOS and simply add new apps to the end of the list as you install them, instead of being alphabetical.

      Right now most people have their common apps on their homescreen, with everything else in the app drawer. Also, I know many times I want to open an app but forget what it’s called, and only know it by the icon, so it’s nice to see everything sorted in the app drawer. This is going to force people to create folders like “trash” and “icon packs” just like people do on iOS that we all hate.

    • Sinan Cagrı Kurt

      That’s all around half baked idea.

      First off, most people launch, Most of the apps on their home screen, So mostly Your three step is Not accurate. On the contrary, if such thing happens, For Majority it would prolong the searching time in long list of apps.

      Your argument is only true in case of rarely used apps(thus they aren’t on home screens).

      • Then it’s all about laying them down smart, isn’t it?

        We know Google can do better than just slap down all the apps on your home screen in alphabetical order. It would be very easy to sort them by frequency for example. I am sure that by thinking about it for more than five minutes they can even come up with better ideas.

        On the other hand, I try to keep only the apps I actually use, so there are not many on my phone and I can remember them all and search them by name. Maybe my system wouldn’t work as good for hundreds of apps.

        I guess in the end the best decision they can make is to make it optional. I would gladly hide it.

        • Sinan Cagrı Kurt

          The thing is it’s already optional, Most phone adds New apps to home screen by default. If User delete the app drawer icon. Then They can use without App drawer.

          Also I doesn’t have to be smart? That’s the whole point, it need to be simple. All the other Answers are smart/more complicated thus Most people won’t even try it.

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    I need it. My screens should be pretty empty.

  • Dave Elkins

    I haven’t used my app drawer for years. I access my approximately 500 downloaded apps via a hierarchy of Folder Organizer folders, via two home screen icons, one for me and one for my granddaughter. Even without Folder Organizer, I would have 2 alternatives that are far superior to the android drawer: Fast App Search Tool and Jina App Drawer and Organizer.

  • SeljD

    I like my home screen clean and all I have is folder (Google drive, DropBox, Google Play and Youtube), gmail and Keep and another screen for calendar. Even my app drawer is very clean, I hide useless app or put them in folders and it doesn’t even take full page

  • Daggett Beaver

    The app drawer — a collection of ALL your apps — is an abomination. Nova Launcher makes it easier to manage categories, which is nice. Nano Launcher has an alphabetized list of your apps with letters in the margin. But Smart Launcher Pro is the killer alternative to the traditional app drawer. It automatically categorizes your apps into separate sub-drawers. And if you don’t like where SLPro puts an app, it’s easy to move it. It also has the best app search options.

    If Google replaces the app drawer with features like Smart Launcher Pro (or something even better if they can innovate), I’m all for getting rid of the app drawer. However, the Google Now Launcher runs like a 13-year-old wrote it in his spare time, so I’m not very hopeful.

    • Daggett Beaver

      This is what I mean. Smart Launcher Pro lets me have a nice clean desktop. There’s only ONE desktop page, and that’s it. Tap the drawer button on the bottom left (or swipe to the right) and you get to the drawers where all your apps are organized automatically. No need for a single app drawer with every app you have installed. Swipe left or tap the bottom right button, and you go to pages where you can put your widgets. I only have 3 tiny widgets, so there’s no sense in showing that screen.

      • wtf

        thats the ugliest thing i have ever seen. GNL is a thousand times bettter.

        • Dakoda Koziol

          Was thinking the same thing. Maybe a thirteen-year-old wrote the now launcher, but there is no doubt that this launcher’s graphics were designed by one.

    • DDD

      And you can also have apps in that home screen, with another option to hide them.

      • Daggett Beaver

        Right. I didn’t opt for that, but it’s especially good with the flower arrangement. One dot in the middle hides/reveals all your home screen apps.

  • MUTINOUS

    I don’t want a cluttered home screen, and I don’t want to folder every damn app.

    • Daggett Beaver

      Exactly. That’s what I DON’T like about Nova. Nova is a superb launcher, no doubt about it. But I install a new app and now I have to go and organize it into a folder somewhere. Smart Launcher (and probably some others, I don’t know) automatically puts the new app in the right category.

      That’s what computers are supposed to do, right? Make things easier and more automatic. That’s the opposite of what GNL and similar launchers do. They force you to do housekeeping.

      • Friar

        Sounds like somebody isn’t very fluent in Nova.

        • onstrike112

          Some people want to use the standard home screen launcher instead of potentially paying for something we already have. That’s not smart, it’s a waste.

          • Friar

            Considering Nova is free, what’s your point?

          • onstrike112

            That, and that I don’t want an icon for it that’d be in the way.

  • Jose Lugo

    I much prefer to have widgets on my home screen than actual app icons. I mean is that not one of the main attractions of Android? The ability to see useful information on the home screen? Not for nothing but, if the apps were on a home screen then it would be looking a little too much like iOS-not that I am against iOS but I rather like Android.

  • I personally would not like all my apps on the home screen but this is something I won’t complain about or have a full opinion on until I experience it. I may like or I may not, I’m always up for change so let’s see.

  • raffr

    Much ado about nothing. We have plenty of options in the app store that is the whole point of android, customization. My guess is some companies (samsung HTC) will offer an app drawer option on their OS. Many Chinese manufacturers don’t include an app drawer and they seem to be doing okay.

  • Marty

    “Do we really even need an app drawer in Android?”

    No. The way Apple does it is perfectly fine. 👹

  • vmxr

    i don’t need it and i don’t use it

  • Sinan Cagrı Kurt

    Don’t fix it, if it ain’t broken?

    • Justice League

      new coke anyone? ;)

      • Marc

        Except New Coke was brilliant, it brought massive attention to their brand and boosted sales lol.

        • dvdlgh

          Except it cost Coke huge $$$ in R&D and advertising. All down the drain. Pun intended.

  • Eric

    Cant imagine the google completely removing the app drawer. I can absolutely see google making the default set up exist with out an app drawer with the option to turn it on through options and/or phone set up.

    For people like us having charts on nerdy web sites, yes the app drawer is great. Most people out their however want things as simple as possible. It is a big reason why iOS has become so successful.

    Personally, I think Googles best move would be to remove the app drawer from Androids stock set up, and come up with a more intuitive/more organized place to store apps(optional) in addition to the standard app drawer (also optional).

  • Alexandros Vourlakos

    i bought a xiaomi, my first no app drawer smartphone and i hated it at first, but it’s not that big of a deal, you get used to it after some days

  • Ben Babins

    It doesnt matter to me. Either they keep the app drawer, or all those apps that I currently have in it go in one folder alphabetically.

  • R. DayzWalker

    They’re moment when you accidentally remove some apps, because it there, in the homescreen, right in your face.

  • Turanga Leela

    Just give us the choice to toggle it on and off.

  • staylow

    The number one thing I can’t stand about iOS is the cluttered mess of icons all over its home screen. You can make it an option, but taking it away completely is not the right answer.

  • Friar

    Anybody who says an app drawer is confusing to new users is being disingenuous. The overwhelming majority of people using Android phones come
    with PC experience from an OS that utilizes a customizable desktop and requires additional clicks on a “start” button to get to their applications. If I wanted an OS without an app drawer and without customizable home screens where I can use widgets I’d have a damn iOS device. Removing the app drawer and making Android more like iOS would completely violate Android’s current ad campaign “Be together, not the same.”

  • Biga173rd

    The Android community does not want our devices to run the same boring grid of Icons like iOS has been doing since 2007. Google please do not jump on the band wagon because manufactures think this will increase sales. Android is about choice and yes we have Nova but that’s not the point. Google is about innovation this will be a step backwards.

  • Scott Harris

    Is it needed? Hardly. I most certainly will use a launcher that has an app drawer though.

  • Michael D.

    Much ado about nothing. There is no real benefit from removing the app drawer. Period.

  • AndroidDev123

    What if they don’t put all your apps on the homescreen, they just take away the app drawer as a link. You could still get to your list of apps by long pressing or some other “add to homescreen” action (same with widgets). The point would be to encourage users to utilize folders on their homescreen to organize apps they use frequently, rather than going and digging through the app drawer. New apps usually install to the homescreen anyway, so it actually doesn’t make a lot of sense to have 2 places to organize your apps (folders and the drawer), especially when the drawer can’t usually be personalized nearly as much as folders. If Google does push forward with this, that’s the only justification I can think of. That said, I’ll probably still keep the drawer in Nova Launcher out of habit.

    • Dakoda Koziol

      Why would Google care if some users didn’t utilize folders well?

      • AndroidDev123

        They’re always trying to improve user experience and may have found through experience testing that properly used folders yield a better experience. Apple’s entire brand is built almost exclusively on user experience quality, and as their sole smartphone competitor Google takes it very seriously too.

  • John Doe

    At least give us the choice if you are going to include this ..
    I myself like the app drawer, as it keeps my screens clean, something iOS cannot
    understand ..

  • Влатко Стојанов

    “Modern”

    • Choda Boy

      Should be called “Basic”, definitely NOT “Modern”.

  • Cakefish

    It’s so easily fixed by custom launchers that I really don’t understand why everyone is making such a big deal about this.

    • jurassickong

      Google Now!! everyone wants it to be there when they swipe left other launchers wont have it so….. its a huge deal for me. i have been using GNL even though it doesnt have custom icons support( a feature i would kill for) just because of Now.

  • Jarl

    is this a trick question?
    if I say no, will my device turn into an iphone?
    *shivers*

  • Bradly Robberson

    This is what makes Android so good, If I wanted and Iphone that does not have this feature then i would get one. This is going to be a selling feature for me and what has stopped me from even entertaining the Honor Phones

  • Kyle Ong

    The app drawer us not a MUST. Do agree that it keeps the desktop clean. Perhaps some “hide” function would helps…
    Or like some luncher, scribble on screen to search the apps fast

  • Meatbun

    BIG NO to removing the app drawer. Not only does it make it messy, it adds more taps/actions in order to access an app. I fill my home screen with calendar and note widgets that allows me to quickly glance through without having to open the app in the first place.

  • subm

    Just don’t do that, Big G.

  • iFool

    .Make in optional in settings/ I have dozens of apps . some rarely used.

  • Eddie Spageddie

    I’ve been an Android user since day one, and the app drawer is and has always been an excellent feature. I could care less if it is difficult for noobs to understand. The last thing we need is a cluttered home screen…even if it is a swipe left or right, I hardly like the idea and I seriously hope the app drawer remains a permanent fixture for Android.

  • nikolas ostropolskiy

    Don’t even have the option to do it on my S7… just got it the other day, and the settings is nowhere in sight.

  • Marc

    Why are we copying IOS? It’s an OS that loses market share by the tens of thousands daily.

  • Fifth313ment

    I use my homescreen for my most used apps, widgets and style. I have friends who like their home screen blank and just want to be able to see the pic behind the screen. I have others who load up their homescreen with widgets only. But I have NOT ONE, who puts all their apps on the main screen like iOS! This would be a horrible move on Google’s part and everyone I tell this too is like, “Why would they do this?”

    • GabGagnonca

      “But I have NOT ONE, who puts all their apps on the main screen like iOS!”

      I do.

      • roundaboutnigga

        he is talking about his friends …smh

  • Akira Tabuchi Yagui

    You don’t need an app drawer

    If you like it so much:
    1. Create a folder
    2. Place it where you want your “app drawer”
    3. Place all your apps there.

    Also, you can use the default search to look out for files:
    “Ok google, open facebook app”
    And if they implement it like other “no app drawer” solutions, you can even use other easy ways like gestures to open the search menu,

    • Fifth313ment

      And I don’t need arms either as I can train my legs to do my bidding but I’d still rather have them. What are you talking about. I have to make a folder where I put all my apps? And using the search adds a huge amount of time to something that should be easy and intuitive, which IT ALREADY IS!

      • Akira Tabuchi Yagui

        it’s still easy and intuitive the no app drawer and also way faster if you know how to use it.

        You can always have all you apps in a folder if you like the app drawer style. It’s the same shit. If you don’t want to learn a 2 step process to have your “app drawer”, just go and keep using you old Nokia 3320.

    • Dakoda Koziol

      Yeah, I don’t NEED the app drawer, just like I don’t NEED syrup on my pancakes.
      I don’t need AC in my car. I don’t need an eraser on my pencil. I can find an alternative for all of those things.

      … but why bother? The app drawer is not broken, so why do I NEED an alternative?

  • Vimal Odedra

    Google now page on left then editable widget pages and then last page with vertical scroll that have all the apps like yahoo aviate launcher.

  • A.K. S

    Personally, I want the app drawer. i don’t care to spend my days organizing usless crap into folders just so i can see folders everywhere. I’d prefer to have a junk drawer for everything I don’t use. No app drawer = fail.

  • PhukdNtheHead

    KEEP THE APP DRAWER!!! Many of us root our android devices (gasp!) and have a bunch of Xposed modules that we don’t interact with daily (Flat Style Keyboard, Pandora Patcher, etc) and it would be a royal pain in the ass to have all of these floating around in an iOS style screen. Keep the app drawer = clean Android experience

  • The-Sailor-Man

    ‘Do we really even need an app drawer in Android?’

    No, you don’t iboys.

    But I could agree if there is a button on the App-manager to launch them on the home screen instead of app drawer.

  • Karly Johnston

    There are enough App Drawer apps it doesn’t matter.

  • KRB

    I’d like to see Android keep the app drawer, or at least make it an option when you set up your device that you can select to run with it or without it. However, after reading about this yesterday I looked in the Play Store out of curiosity and found several third party apps that’ll create their own app drawers… So what Google and Android take’th away, the consumer will put back if they so choose…

  • The-Sailor-Man

    Again
    I could agree if there is a button on the App-manager to launch the apps we need from the home screen, instead of app drawer.
    But your favorite Apple’s mess AA – thanks, but no thanks!

  • KRB

    I’ve got both an Android device and an old IPod Touch. My Android device enjoys a nice clean look, I run Nova Launcher and have two pages of icons with a spattering of folders and a music widget on the third page. In the app drawer I keep the apps I don’t use very often. I like it as it gives a clean look. My IPod Touch is littered with apps that both I’ve chosen and apps that Apple has chosen for me to have that I can’t get rid of. I’ve got several folders and generally it’s cluttered.

    I’ve recently seen a video about Android launchers, one of which puts every app that your device has on one never ending home screen, you flick it up and down. That’s what I fear Android would be like, one seemingly never ending page of app icons. Users would put their most used apps on a designated home page or near home page and throw the other apps on some far fetched page(s) in effect making their own app drawers. That’s if the user doesn’t download from the Play Store a third party app drawer, I just checked out of curiosity after reading this store yesterday and there’s only like a half a dozen or so third party apps that’ll restore what Google is threatening to take away…

    As a side, Android is all about customization and setting up your phone your way and not the manufacturer’s way. Google should compromise and make it a select that’s available at time of setup…

  • Luka Bulatović

    If removing app drawer is to “make it easier” to use Android, I don’t think Android is for people that don’t know how to open an app drawer and launch an app. Imagine them having to control app permisions when asked… So on one hand we have app permisions which Google believes are easy to use (I bet half of people wont even read and just press the back button) and on the other one no app drawer. Really nice -_-
    And don’t get me wrong I’m not against permissions, it’s a great idea, just not one that should be active by default, but something you go into and enable it.

  • Steven Fox

    Wow, I never thought it, but we actually don`t. I currently have one and I have put 95% of the apps I use regularly on the home-screen, so that makes the drawer pretty much useless.

    • Eddie Spageddie

      Who is “we” and you currently have one “what?” So, basically what you’re saying is you only have about a dozen or so apps and they’re all in one home screen. Not me, I have 100+ apps and I prefer to be able to customize my homescreens and not riddle them with less commonly-used apps.

      • Steven Fox

        100+??? Do you actually use half of them?

        • Eddie Spageddie

          Of course I do…if I didn’t then they certainly wouldn’t be on my phone. You are obviously a casual/light user if you’re able to fit 95% of your apps on one screen. Not me…I’m exactly the opposite of you (like most others) and have numerous apps for numerous purposes and use a majority of them consistently.

    • Dakoda Koziol

      We. Hmmm…

  • Rohit Raja

    “Where are the apps?, oh yeah obviously in the APP DRAWER”. Yeah APP drawer is much to be preserved. Remember, Microsoft had to bring back the start menu. Dont muck up Google.

  • Pete Spitia

    in my my opinion the app drawer is very useful for people that use or have too many apps,,, instead of have all those apps in the desktop and the need to had more pages,,,,i dont use to much the app drawer but i appreciate to have the option to use it or not,,,, chersss

  • Hasman

    Well I don’t use google launcher ( the icon is too big!), so not really a problem for me.

  • EasyCare

    Either way, I can still download a custom launcher and be happy with it. Thank God for options.

  • Brice Medina

    The app drawer is actually… A big folder, like one you can create. I’d like to keep it but change its position, cuz I don’t need it where it is actually.

    • jaunie ibarra

      Agreed.

  • Ivan Budiutama

    Android 5.0 disable data connection permission rendering all Battery saving app basically useless without root access, no one bats an eye. Android “N” remove app drawer which easily restored with launcher, and everybody loosing their mind!!

  • No app drawer would kill my KLWP setup. But I wouldn’t mind if they got rid of it, I use an alternative launcher anyway.

  • J G

    I cringe anytime I hear about losing options in Android. The freedom of choice and customization was, and is the main reason I left iOS in the first place. I have a home screen and two other screens at the most. On them are widgets and my customizations which compliment my wallpaper. I’d hate screen after screen of icons and/or folders. Yeah, I remember hating that. I also change up the look pretty often because I like to, and I can. My most used apps are right there via SwipePad so I keep my home screen clean and clutter free with useful widget info one swipe away left or right.
    I haven’t seen a valid argument yet for getting rid of it. To say it’s confusing is an insult to our intelligence.

  • neoand12

    “We’ll install launchers, flame up in the forums and then not really care anymore.”

    This sums up the whole “internet hate bandwagon” with everything. People complain then people get use to it. But all I’m saying is Google shouldn’t be praised for taking steps backwards which is exactly what it is. See how quick people jumped on LG for what Google may do themselves? Like it or not the app drawer is welcomed to Android users.

  • Simão Marques

    I think that the app drawr is very important to keep our device properly organized and clean😉

  • impu153

    I’ve used Hola Launcher (a 3rd party launcher that lacks an app drawer and automatically places apps in folders) for a while and have found out that I don’t really need an app drawer. My daily driver is Nova Launcher Pro with only one page filled with 13 of my most used apps and a folder for social stuff. Rarely do I go into the app drawer to launch an app. Rather than having a dedicated app drawer button, the rest of my apps might as well be a swipe away, on the page to the right. I wouldn’t mind.

    • jaunie ibarra

      Yeah, honestly I rarely have to go to the app drawer. It’s more of a default download folder for apps I have yet to organize on my home-screen.

  • monsterdonutkid

    What’s next, iOS 10 with an app drawer? LOL

  • M42

    The app drawer was one feature that distinguished Android from Apple and it’s cluttered screens with folders and apps. I like putting only the apps I use regularly on my home screens and using the remaining screens for widgets while hiding infrequently used apps in the drawer. Apps I don t use at all I disable or remove if I can. I will miss the app drawer, but will use a launcher to get the feature back.

  • Jon

    If they want to, go ahead. But at least give us an option. I’d be fine with that. Also maybe customise the app drawer the way you want as well, mybae folders within the drawer. I really like having the app drawer for reasons already said on the internet somewhere. I’m just waiting for a clear all button the recent apps page

    • Dakoda Koziol

      Not folders, cuz then it would just be a launcher inside of a launcher. Instead, categories would be a nifty feature. Sorting into games, utilities, media. All that jazz.

  • Howie Eastin

    that is actually one of the things that I like about android. I wish apple would adopt an app drawer because i do enjoy looking at the wallpaper that I choose to put on my device. So if i do end up getting my LG G5 i would end up installing a 3rd party launcher which would bring back the app drawer or i would use Action Launcher which would in my opinion offers the best alternative to an app drawer. So yes…..app drawer is a requirement for android

  • I have used MIUI on my phones and it is freaking annoying to arrange stuff in folders and keep swiping to reach apps. Every new app will have to be added somewhere and it becomes really cluttered.
    An option between the two would be a good midway, so users can choose how they’d like their apps placed

  • Sam Gilbert

    My home screen set up is a launcher called “Target Home launcher” that than launches an app overlay called “App Swap” essentially making my home screen a floating app launcher. I found that my home screen was just apps sorted in folders so that I could reduce the amount of taps needed to open a new app, but even that seemed pointless since the launcher was running much more in the background that I wasn’t using. So now having a floating app drawer means I can quickly swap between apps.

  • Doctor_M7

    This is really a non-issue of little consequence. Let Android L, M, and N remove the app drawer, for those that don’t want it. Those of us that do want it can just put it back with a better GUI. Everybody is happy. The APP drawer was gone in my version of Lollipop. I just loaded in Nova Launcher, for an even better GUI.

  • roninpenguin

    My personal opinion? Google is moving away from Widgets as well. They removed the Hangouts widget several updates ago and never gave an explanation why, and Hangouts is one of their main applications as it combines MMS, SMS, One line IM, and Google Voice into one package. So why would they remove one of the most major components of Android functionality from such a priority application? They are feeling out where people will stand if they take away widgets. Will people start using different applications for that functionality that has widgets or will they just continue using the application with out them.
    Personally I am running an older version of Hangouts because I need the Hangouts widget to keep my personal phone and business google voice separate (they run under two different e-mail addresses). Unfortunately several of my clients started using MMS to my e-mail address associated with my G-Voice account so if I switch to the G-Voice widget I won’t get their communication so I’m stuck with a buggy version of Hangouts until (hopefully) Google changes their mind and brings the widget back.

    • Dakoda Koziol

      I hope not. Alot of widgets are spam but there are many good ones. I use DashClock, and now I can never NOT use it. Add to, Google. Never take away.

  • William Kister

    I don’t want to create a folder for every single app I have to create a cleaner looking home page or extra pages either.

  • Abran Pineda

    I thinks it’s ridiculous to say that it will simplify things!! Android has always been customizable in every single way. To just take away the app drawer with out any way of putting it back defeats the purpose of the freedom tha android users get. If someone has chosen that they don’t want an app drawer than they mostly already have an iPhone!! Even then iPhone users must know of the existence of an app drawer. I wouldn’t want to see the app drawer go away! I love android the way it is. I decided to try an iPhone and wasn’t too happy with it. I was waiting for the G5 but honestly knowing it has no app drawer makes me rather dissapointed because ultimately that’s what I miss the most! Lg should allow the option to put the app drawer back! Same as android all around!

  • Mahavir

    I dont like xiaomi and other chinese manufacturers just because of the removal of app drawer and some other factors

  • Freak_ Aniket_

    I love to have my Homescreen simple and clear. That’s why I love the app drawer. Chinese OEMs doesn’t have an app drawer, because they really care that there device must look exactly like iOS, but as far as pure Android go, I don’t think Google ditch this feature that differentiate iOS and Android.

  • GraemeFaulkner

    Why not have the best of both worlds. Keep user home screens, swipe right to the last user home screen then swipe through app drawer screens.

  • RS

    Ha! I actually googled “do we really need an Android home screen” and came across this article. You’re looking at it all wrong… widgets are neat but that’s the extent of it. A categorized app drawer (ie. nova launcher) is the most efficient way to run your phone, for productivity oriented people anyways. I really hope they make omitting the home screen optional in future versions so I can stop using 3rd party apps to do so.

  • Quinton

    Don’t kill my app drawer–it’ll make me sad.

  • Eli Mayen

    The reason no app dawer works on ios is because they have no widgets or customization options an app drawer would be useless to them, for us Android users the app drawer is the symbolic essence of the spirit of customization Android us known for, so please keep the app drawer at least as an option in settings I like stock software I hate downloading “launchers” I think it’s stupid

  • Luke Branson

    I would hate to see the app drawer go away. I use apex launcher so it doesn’t really matter for me personally, but the app drawer still seems like one of the defining features of android and should not be taken away.

  • Anatidae

    Yeah. Who needs any organization? No one needs folders on their computer either. It’s just so much better to shove everything to your desktop. Once you fill it up, just swipe to a new desktop.

    *sigh* Maybe app organization can just be improved. There are 3rd party launchers that do a pretty solid job. Windows Phone made finding apps easy too.

  • Garfwog

    ALPHABETIZATION!!! I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO REMEMBER WHERE I PERSONALLY PLACED AN APP ON MY HOME PAGE SCREENS! The app drawer is one of my FAVORITE things to use against Apple in that whenever I hand an iPhone user someone else’ iPhone and tell them to find an app they experience the horrorshow of it hiding within a folder to the side where only the user knows of it. Whereas on Android it’s ALPHABETIZED in the app drawer. Taking this feature away is a terrible, TERRIBLE idea.