I’ve been using a Nexus 5 for a few weeks now, and in my opinion, its new “Google Experience Launcher” is a huge improvement over the previous stock launcher. But it’s not quite perfect. I still want the option to remove the Google Search widget, and sometimes I’d like to see more icons on the Nexus 5′s 5-inch display, rather than bigger ones.
KitKat Launcher+, a free download from Google Play, gives me those things — and a lot more — and lets me fine tune the launcher on my Nexus 5 — and other Android-powered devices — to my liking.
It was developed by Björn Vermeule, the creator of the free Pocket Cards app for Android, from Google’s own AOSP source code, so it has Google’s own KitKat launcher at heart. But it delivers a number of customization options (not too many) that’ll help you get even more out of your smartphone.
It looks just like the Nexus 5′s default launcher when you first install it, but when you dive into its settings, you’ll find the option to hide the Google Search widget, the ability to change the grid size on your home screen and in the app drawer, and the option to specify how many home screens your want.
There’s also a paid upgrade that also brings a backup and restore option.
KitKat Launcher+ maintains the transparent status and navigation bars, and the wallpaper in the app drawer. It doesn’t allow Google Now on the home screen, however; Google hasn’t made this available to developers yet, so we’ll have to wait for that.
However, I think these are trade-offs worth making for the flexibility KitKat Launcher+ brings. Try it out for yourself now; it’s free to download from Google Play, and compatible with devices running Android 4.3 and above.