How to Ditch Samsung’s Launcher: A Guide to Switching to Your Preferred Home Screen Experience

Samsung’s One UI home screen, while visually appealing and packed with features, might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe you miss the simplicity of a stock Android launcher or crave the customization options of other third-party launchers. Whatever your reason, switching to a different launcher can breathe new life into your Samsung phone.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of switching launchers, covering the basics, advanced settings, and troubleshooting tips.

Understanding Samsung Launchers and Launcher Alternatives

Samsung phones ship with the One UI launcher, their own take on the Android home screen. It’s visually appealing, boasting a clean and organized interface, with customizable widgets, folders, and themes. However, it might not be the perfect fit for everyone. Here’s why you might consider switching:

  • Customization Limitations: One UI, while customizable, can still feel restrictive compared to the open-ended customization offered by some third-party launchers.
  • Performance Issues: Some users experience sluggish performance or battery drain issues with One UI, particularly on older phones.
  • Personal Preference: Your personal taste simply might not align with the One UI experience, and you’re seeking a more streamlined or feature-rich home screen.

Here are some popular launcher alternatives:

  • Nova Launcher: Known for its extensive customization options, from icon packs to app drawer layouts, Nova Launcher provides a highly customizable experience.
  • Action Launcher: Combining a clean interface with innovative features like Cover Pages and Quickdrawer, Action Launcher offers a fresh take on the Android experience.
  • Lawnchair Launcher: A minimalist launcher that prioritizes speed and efficiency, Lawnchair provides a stock Android look and feel without the bloatware.
  • Microsoft Launcher: A powerful launcher with a focus on productivity, Microsoft Launcher integrates seamlessly with Microsoft services and offers personalized feeds.
  • Google Now Launcher: The default launcher on Pixel phones, Google Now Launcher offers a simple and intuitive interface with a focus on Google services.

Step-by-Step Guide to Switching Launchers

Switching launchers is a relatively straightforward process. Here’s how to get started:

1. Download Your Chosen Launcher from the Play Store

First, head over to the Google Play Store and search for the launcher you want to use. Popular choices include Nova Launcher, Action Launcher, and Lawnchair Launcher. Download and install the launcher of your choice.

2. Set Up the New Launcher

Once installed, open the new launcher. You’ll typically be guided through an initial setup process. This might include:

  • Home Screen Layout: Choosing your preferred home screen layout, such as a traditional grid or a carousel style.
  • App Drawer Settings: Customizing the app drawer’s appearance, including sorting options and the ability to hide apps.
  • Theme and Icon Pack Options: If supported, the launcher might allow you to select a theme and icon pack to customize the look and feel.

3. Set Your New Launcher as Default

After setting up your chosen launcher, you’ll need to make it the default launcher. Here’s how:

  • Open Settings: Go to your phone’s settings app.
  • Locate “Apps” or “Applications”: The exact location might vary depending on your Samsung phone model.
  • Find “Default Apps”: You should see an option for “Default Apps” or something similar.
  • Choose Your New Launcher: Within the “Default Apps” settings, you’ll find an option to select the default launcher. Choose the new launcher you just installed.

Tips for a Seamless Launcher Transition

  • Backup Your Existing Launcher Settings: Before making any changes, consider backing up your current launcher settings to avoid losing customizations. Most launchers offer backup and restore options.
  • Explore Launcher Settings: Take some time to familiarize yourself with your chosen launcher’s settings. Experiment with different features and configurations to tailor it to your preferences.
  • Customize App Icons and Themes: Many launchers allow you to change the look and feel of your home screen. You can install custom icon packs and themes to personalize your phone’s appearance.
  • Consider Widgets: Widgets can add a touch of functionality to your home screen. Experiment with different widgets from the Play Store to display information like weather, calendar appointments, or news headlines.
  • Enable Gestures and Shortcuts: Most launchers offer customizable gestures and shortcuts to quickly access apps, settings, or other functions.

Troubleshooting Common Launcher Issues

  • Launcher Not Responding: If your new launcher is unresponsive, try restarting your phone. If the issue persists, clear the cache and data of the launcher from the app settings.
  • Launcher Crashing: If the launcher keeps crashing, you might need to reinstall it. Before reinstalling, try updating the launcher to the latest version from the Play Store.
  • Launcher Not Showing Up: Ensure the launcher is installed correctly. Check the Play Store to verify the installation status. If the launcher is installed but not showing up in the app list, try searching for it.

The Benefits of Switching Launchers

Choosing a new launcher can be a rewarding experience. Here are some of the benefits you might enjoy:

  • Enhanced Customization: Most launchers offer a wide range of customization options, allowing you to fine-tune every aspect of your home screen, from the layout to the icon packs.
  • Improved Performance: Some launchers can be more efficient and perform better than the stock launcher, especially on older phones.
  • Unique Features: Third-party launchers often bring unique features and functionalities that aren’t available in the stock launcher, like custom gestures, hidden app drawers, and more.
  • A Personalized Touch: Ultimately, switching launchers allows you to tailor your phone’s home screen experience to your specific needs and preferences, making it truly your own.


Switching launchers on your Samsung phone can be a simple way to refresh your device’s user experience. Whether you’re seeking more customization, improved performance, or simply a change of scenery, there’s a launcher out there that’s perfect for you. Experiment with different options, explore their settings, and find the launcher that truly enhances your Samsung phone experience.


1. Why would I want to ditch Samsung’s Launcher?

While Samsung’s launcher offers a multitude of features and customizations, some users may find it overly bloated or restrictive. Others might prefer a cleaner interface, a more streamlined experience, or the ability to customize their home screen more extensively. Switching to a third-party launcher grants you greater control over your Android experience and allows you to tailor it to your personal preferences.

Ultimately, the decision to switch launchers comes down to individual needs and preferences. If you find yourself yearning for a more customizable, streamlined, or simply different home screen experience, exploring alternative launchers is definitely worth considering.

2. How do I install a new launcher?

Installing a new launcher is a straightforward process. First, open the Google Play Store and search for the launcher you want to try. Once you’ve found it, tap “Install.” After the installation is complete, you’ll be prompted to select your new launcher as the default. You can also access this setting by navigating to your phone’s Settings > Apps > Default Apps > Home screen.

Remember, you can always switch back to Samsung’s launcher if you’re not satisfied with the new one. You can do so by following the same steps above, but selecting Samsung Launcher as your default.

3. What are some popular alternative launchers?

There are many fantastic launchers available on the Play Store, each offering a unique set of features and aesthetics. Some popular choices include Nova Launcher, Action Launcher, Lawnchair Launcher, and Evie Launcher. Nova Launcher is known for its extensive customization options, Action Launcher offers unique features like Quickdrawer and Cover, Lawnchair is a clean and fast alternative to Google’s Pixel Launcher, and Evie is a minimalist launcher focused on simplicity and efficiency.

Choosing the right launcher depends on your personal preferences. Research different launchers, read reviews, and try out a few before settling on the one that suits you best.

4. What happens to my existing home screen setup when I switch launchers?

Switching launchers generally does not affect your existing home screen setup. Your apps, widgets, and folders will remain untouched. However, the layout and organization might appear different due to the new launcher’s design and functionality.

You can usually import your existing home screen layout from Samsung’s launcher into your new launcher using the built-in import feature. This ensures a smooth transition and allows you to retain your preferred arrangement of apps and widgets.

5. Can I still access Samsung’s features after switching launchers?

While switching launchers allows you to customize your home screen, you can still access most of Samsung’s features. Features like Bixby, Samsung Pay, and Samsung Notes remain accessible through their respective app icons.

However, some features deeply integrated with Samsung’s launcher might not be available or might work differently. For example, you might lose access to Samsung’s dedicated edge panels or specific gestures that were tied to their launcher.

6. What are the benefits of switching to a different launcher?

Switching to a third-party launcher offers various benefits, including greater customization, improved performance, and a more personalized Android experience. You gain more control over your home screen layout, app drawer, and even the overall visual appearance of your device. Some launchers also prioritize speed and efficiency, delivering a smoother and faster user experience.

Ultimately, the biggest benefit is the ability to tailor your Android experience to your specific needs and preferences, making your smartphone more functional and enjoyable to use.

7. What if I want to go back to Samsung’s Launcher?

Reverting to Samsung’s launcher is as easy as switching to a new one. Simply open your phone’s Settings > Apps > Default Apps > Home screen. Choose Samsung Launcher from the list, and your phone will reset to its original home screen setup.

Keep in mind that this will reset your home screen to its default settings, so any customizations you made with the new launcher will be lost. If you prefer to keep some of the customizations, explore the import/export features of your chosen launcher to retain your preferred layout and settings.

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