A couple of months ago you might remember that Reddit user AmirZ released a rootless solution to install a full-featured version of the Pixel Launcher. Earlier solutions left users with a gimped version that wouldn’t allow access to the Google Now panel or the G Search widget. AmirZ discovered that Google intentionally designed the Pixel launcher to restrict these features so they could remain exclusive to Pixel phones. Luckily, with a few tweaks, AmirZ was able to get around those restrictions.
The port was developed and then subsequently released on Github in June. Development continued for about a month but ceased when AmirZ announced they would be back to do another version once Android Oreo dropped. Now, mere days after the release of Oreo, AmirZ is back with Pixel Launcher 2.0.
The previous version stuck to a “don’t fix what’s not broken” philosophy where stability was the first priority. Now with the knowledge gained from the previous release, AmirZ has added some extra features.
Here are the features of Pixel Launcher 2.0.
- QSB with transparent rectangle, Google Pill and Date/Weather
- Different colours of notification dots
- Filter Google Wallpapers and Voice Search from the apps list
- Use Google Wallpapers to select a wallpaper when available
- Device profiles, margins, icon counts
- Disabled partner customization like Motorola’s 4 columns
- Google Now feed on the left of the normal workspace
- Google Calendar app icon with the date
And here are the developer’s additions to the launcher:
- Pull down for notifications for Nougat devices
- Oreo theme backported to older OS versions with Pixel Blue accent colour
- Notification dots backported to Marshmallow
- Automatically prompts for notification access so you won’t have to dig through settings menus
- Fix Android 8 checks so Nexus devices can use all new features
- Show icon shapes on Android 8 without developer settings enabled
- Pressing the date widget opens the default calendar app
- Keyboard properly closes when returning to the home screen from any app
- Symmetrical hotseat
- Filter Google Now Launcher from the apps list
- Pinch to overview
- Samsung Secure Folder compatibility
- Backport of circle icons
To use this version of the Pixel Launcher, you’ll need to make sure you don’t already have the Play Store version installed. To get the weather widget to work, the developer had to name the package the same as the Pixel Launcher from Google. If you try to install this on top of the Play Store version, you’ll get a corrupt package error and the install will cancel. Also, since Google won’t let you uninstall the Pixel launcher from your Pixel phone, this launcher is for non-Pixel phones only.
Due to the naming issue, the developer can’t release Pixel Launcher 2.0 on the Play Store so you’ll have to head over to their GitHub and grab it from there. Since the application isn’t coming from the Play Store, you’ll need to head into your security settings and check “Unknown Sources” before you can install it. If you’re looking for more information, the developer has posted an FAQ and answered some questions in this Reddit post.