If you’re looking for an Android home screen replacement that’s minimal, simple, and easy to use, Jack Wallen thinks Niagara Launcher might be the best in this class.
Android is a powerful mobile platform, one that excels at being exactly what you want, when you want it. How it manages such heights of flexibility is by allowing users to customize the interface however they like. If the default GUI interface isn’t your cup of tea, you can install one of the many available from the Google Play Store.
Believe me, there are quite a large number of home screen launchers available. If your tastes veer toward the minimalist, I have a launcher that just might perfectly suit your needs. Niagara Launcher is that perfect blend of minimalism and usability. Instead of adding a bunch of bells and whistles, it strips the launcher down to exactly what you need–a means to launch applications on your Android device.
That’s all there is to it, but Niagara Launcher manages to do so with just enough panache to differentiate it from the standard. Because Niagara Launcher works well with Android 10, you’ll gain all the benefits from that release, such as dark mode and smart replies.
Let’s get Niagara Launcher installed and see what it’s all about.
SEE: Android 11: New features for business users (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
How to install Niagara Launcher
To install Niagara Launcher, follow these simple steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
- Search for Niagara Launcher.
- Tap Install.
- Allow the installation to complete.
You’ll be prompted to set Niagara Launcher as your default–go ahead and do this. If you wind up not liking the new home screen launcher, you’ll simply remove it and return to your previous default.
When the installation completes, tap Open and you’ll be greeted by the Niagara license. Tap Agree & Continue and, when prompted, select the apps you use the most, which will be added to your Favorites (Figure A).
When you’re finished, tap the check at the bottom-right of the screen and the setup is complete.
How to use Niagara Launcher
It doesn’t really get much easier than using Niagara Launcher. On the home screen you’ll see your favorites listed (Figure B).
To launch one of your favorites, scroll through the list and tap the launcher for that app. If there’s an app you want to launch not included in your favorites, tap and drag through the alphabetical listing on the right to reveal the other apps (Figure C).
When you find the app you want, release your finger and tap the launcher to open the app.
How to customize Niagara Launcher
If you long press any launcher in your favorites, a popup menu will appear where you can open the Niagara settings app (Figure D).
From the Niagara Settings app, you can customize the look and feel of the launcher (including icon pack, app icon size, font, wallpaper, dark theme, text color), the features (enable home screen notifications, show hidden apps, enable quick lock gestures, add the Google search bar, and enable a swipe up to search gesture), and even purchase a Niagara Pro Launcher license ($3.99/yearly or a $10.99 one-time purchase). The Pro license adds the following:
- A minimal weather widget
- Appointment reminder
- Custom swipe actions
- Custom font support
- Hide Android status bar
- Plug & Play Music category
- Sesame integration
And that’s all there is to using Niagara Launcher–I told you it was minimal. If less-is-more is your jam, this might well be the perfect launcher for you. It’s as bare bones as you get, but makes it incredibly easy to get to the apps you need. Give this launcher a go and see if it doesn’t become your new favorite Android home screen.
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