Last year we saw Samsung make some pretty bold moves starting with the Galaxy S6, not only when it came to its design language, but also in terms of software. Long criticized for being one of the more bloated OEM skins on the market, TouchWiz received a much needed slimdown in 2015. A year later, it seems to be LG’s turn. Alongside its own massive design language overall, the LG UI is making some pretty bold changes, all in the name of creating one the leanest and most simplistic versions of LG UI to date.

Buy the LG G5

samsung galaxy s7 first look aa-11

The very first thing you will notice before even diving into the UI is that, when in standby, the LG G5’s display is never off. Officially dubbed as “always on display” mode, you’ll find that the time and a few notification icons will be ever present, making it easy to see the time and other relevant information at a glance. From within the settings, you’ll also find an option for adding a custom signature to the always on display, though only a limited number of characters are allowed. According to LG, the always on display is very power frugal, but for those who’d rather not use it, it’s worth noting that you can easily turn it off.

lg g5 first look aa-11

Moving on, once you unlock your phone your eyes will likely be drawn immediately to what is the biggest and probably most controversial change found within the LG G5’s software. Yes, LG has ditched the app drawer. The official reasoning is that LG wants to create the “simplest kind of interface, and make it as intuitive as possible”, though whether removing the app drawer really helps that goal is certainly a matter of debate. For one thing, that means that all the apps will now reside on the homescreen, making users reliant on folders to keep things organized.

As you might already know, we recently released an article reporting that Google itself is preparing to ditch the app drawer starting with Android N, at least according to two independent sources, and so it’s very possible that LG is just trying to get ahead of the curve. Regardless, the lack of an app drawer will be the most polarizing aspect when it comes to LG’s UI. Of course a 3rd party launcher will resolve much of the issue, but that doesn’t change the fact that the out of the box experience with the LG G5 is very different from stock Android in its current form.

lg g5 first look aa-14

It’s not just the app drawer that’s getting the axe here. There are plenty of features from previous LG phones that are absent with the G5 including Q Slide applications. First introduced with the LG G2, Q Slides were small utility apps that could be launched quickly from the notification shade, designed to make your multitasking experience more pleasant. Speaking of multi-tasking, LG is also ditching dual-window support. You can still pin apps in the recent apps screens so they don’t get cleared out, but that’s about it when it comes to features designed with improved multi-tasking in mind.

There are plenty of other minor tweaks and changes to be found here too, including reorganized settings, cleaner and more minimalist settings icons, and less bloatware overall. LG didn’t remove all its extras however, as well received features like Knock On and Knock Code are still present, as are tools like Smart Bulletin and LG’s Smart Cleaning, which identifies apps and other files that you don’t use in order to help you free up more space on your device.

At the end of the day, the lack of the app drawer might be a deal breaker for some, though LG says that after a lot of market research they believe this is a more simplistic user interface a lot of people really want. Are you one of those people, or do you feel that LG misteped with the changes introduced in LG G5’s UX? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to stay tuned for more great LG G5 coverage and all the latest from MWC 2016.

  • Pedro Capello

    There’s a Samsung Galaxy S7 picture in this post ! Nice, you had it all this time with you and didn’t say anything ! hahaha

    • Žiga Štupar

      nice catch but im worried about always on screen becouse burn in can happen

      • Pedro Capello

        i just watched a video a few minutes ago and it seems that the time will be changing it’s place every 10 seconds or so… so burn in shouldn’t happen…

        • Žiga Štupar

          Can you give me a link too this video?

          Yes shis solution would solve the burn in issue

          • Pedro Capello

            YouTube .be/Tvis4EZXnx4 there you go…

      • Luka Bulatović

        There’s always AcDisplay app that does mostly the same, besides being always on. But double tap is all it takes on LG devices. So no burn in and a pretty similar thing.

      • Dave

        The time changes it’s position on the screen, so it won’t be too long at the same spot which hopefully solves the burn in problem.

  • Pedro Capello

    Besides, the pure white setting’s layout is enough to blind any one by looking at it at night time…

  • LG has made his move to rule.

  • Pan Szym

    No app drawer in G5… Android N spoiler?

    • Fredrol

      Oh god i hope not! Then Android will turn in to IOS.. Well, then i have to either kill my selfe or move over to windows phone..

      • Chief

        You’d be better off killing yourself.

        • Fredrol

          Yeah, i think so..

      • Electrify85

        Didn’t Microsoft try getting rid of their app drawer (Start button) a while back? And wasn’t it a complete disaster for them?

  • Blowntoaster

    if they remove the app drawer and features like multiwindow, they can at least provide it as an option to install from the Play Store,
    No App drawer in Android N, Apex Launcher here we come.

  • Torsten Conrad

    @Android Authority please take screenshots of the music, calender, calculator and clock apps :-)

    • bob tinder

      Is there a Q Slide option within the apps?

  • trwb

    There’s still some lag/choppiness from what I see, and they got rid of qslide! One of their best features. Sorry but this phone overall just looks not good.

  • Chief

    People are making way to big a deal of the always on display. Cover some important topics like sound quality and stuff!!!

    Also, why oh why have LG got rid of the app drawer and not at least given us the option of turning it on or off. It seems every company makes some bonehead deal breaker move with each of their flagships these days.

  • Fredrol

    No app drawer.. Fuck you LG.. This is android, not fucking IOS!

    • StW

      My feelings exactly!

  • Fornavn Etternavn

    It’s time to install nova launcher on this g5

  • Juan S. Camargo Visbal

    It’s the same ugly LG UX with a new color scheme. ugh

  • Ronnie DiMaio

    if there’s no app drawer I might as well get an iPhone

  • McLaren F1P1

    No dual window when even stock Android has added that option! The last ui was much better. The G4 and V10 will remain the most memorable LG phones.

  • Dr. Manhattan

    Where’s remote control gone? Did they remove the IR blaster too? So many steps forward and yet so many steps back.

  • Evaziv

    This phone is beautiful LG … but that black thing on the bottom of the display makes it look like a cheap phone…black borders.

  • xoj_21

    it look just like Touchwiz…

  • Goblin Shark

    My take on the app drawer is that I never really used it until I got used to it on my G3. Now I keep everything in it and only have a select few apps and widgets on my home screen. I like how clean it is. However for the past couple of months on my G4 I’ve just started using OK Google to open my apps so I doubt I will miss the functionality of the app drawer at all but I will miss how neat and clean my phone is with only 3 home screens.

  • Roshun Eppenger

    No app drawer is a big deal for me. Where do I get my widgets that I like? I don’t want a lot of desktop pages or an unwanted folder to hold all of my apps that I don’t want solo. Now that the volume rockers are on the side, no app drawer and no clear way to place and customize widgets, I think I’ll be looking elsewhere.

  • Oobiewan

    pack all the stuff into a folder, and the app drawer is ready?

  • antonio

    I dont mind no app drawer, I want one NOW! in any color, I’m sold, take my money, if I just knew the price tho.

  • Joe

    There is an app drawer in the easy home launcher in Home screen display settings.

  • Chris Winkley

    We did research with who ? IPhone users ? By all means remove the app drawer but for god’s sake put an option for it to be there if you want it, android is about choice and customization, not like apple … it’s a little thing but annoying that i would now have to use a launcher or get used to it, please google don’t drop the app drawer .

  • ichuck7

    I’m really disappointed they are ditching the q slide apps and the multi window.

  • Kill Pretty

    Just got this phone a few weeks ago. I switched to Lg from samsung last year with the g3. I love them. The app drawer being gone was confusing for about 5 minutes. I had already began to use folders in my home screen with my g3 so that was an easy transition. And for my mom and nieces I had done the same for them with the folders so they would never need to use the app drawer. Overall I love it. Totally comes organized for people. Easy to customize. My only saddness comes from the removal of dual screen. I totally utilized that so often that I’m still daily attemping to open a second app while doing something else.
    This phone really just got “smarter” if you are already used to the g series. It truly is intuitive and has created an even better phone. 9:10

  • duke69111

    What’s with ditching the dual window support on the G5? Not a fan of them removing useful features that previous lg phones had.

  • W!SS

    I have a G5 and it’s an amazing phone and for the reference LG released an update under the apps update named Home & app drawer
    This will let users to get the app drawer but for me the lack of app drawer is not an issue at all…