One of our favorite launchers for customization fanatics just added a new feature to make the Android search bar more useful, and justify all the home screen space it takes up. Action Launcher 3 was recently upgraded to version 3.5. The big change in the new build is the ability to add apps, shortcuts, or menu groups to the search bar—Action Launcher calls this the Quickbar.
Besides adding your favorite apps, Action Launcher developer Chris Lacy suggests a few useful tips for this feature. You could place a phone icon with several dialing shortcuts for the people you call the most, or group your music and podcast apps together under one icon.
Even adding a few individual apps can come in handy if your home screen is already taken up with vital choices.
The Quickbar customizations are the only big addition to Action Launcher 3.5. It may seem like a small feature, but Lacy said it was actually a “mammoth design and engineering undertaking.”
If you’ve never used Action Launcher 3, it has some nice features for tinkerers. There are a ton of configurable tap shortcuts and gestures, including the ability to swipe down anywhere on the screen to pull down the notifications bar; there’s an alphabetical list of all your apps that swipes in from the right called Quickpage; and Shutters lets you swipe an app’s icon to display its corresponding widget.
The impact on you at home: Action Launcher 3 is free to download, but to use most of the customization features—including the new Quickbar tweaks—you’ll have to shell out $5 for the Plus upgrade. That’s a worthy investment if you like the idea of customizing your home screen area to your liking. If you’d like to consider other options before committing to Action Launcher check out our recent look at the best custom launchers for your Android phone.