Finishing up my review of the Galaxy S23+ a week ago and switching to the smaller, extremely lovely Galaxy S23 meant it was time to put more of a personal touch on the Samsung experience. Since I can’t stand the Samsung launcher and its obnoxious horizontal app drawer, the first step in that process for me typically means switching to a 3rd party launcher.

Yes, I’m still using Nova Launcher because I paid for it, it continues to get support, and I’m familiar with how it works. I also keep backups at the ready to quickly restore my setup. About once a year I browse through Google Play and try to find someone who has made a copy of Google’s Pixel Launcher that I could use instead, but that doesn’t seem to exist. Or if it does, the reviews often turn me away and so I always just turn back to Nova.

So I’m most definitely still using a 3rd party launcher in 2023, only when on Samsung phones. If I’m using a Google Pixel phone, like the Pixel 7, I tend to stick with the Pixel Launcher. I love the way it works, its smoothness, the auto-launching keyboard search in the app drawer, and the way folders display. It is a bare bones launcher, but I’m old and boring and that’s fine for me as long as it is fast, looks nice, and is stable.

For me, a 3rd party launcher once meant a chance to go nuts on customization with fancy icon packs and nifty layouts to show off on our home screen days. Today, they are mostly used to clean up bad experiences from OEMs or to briefly bring back a taste of the old days.

But what about you? Are you still deep in the launcher world or have your grown tired of the customizing and simply stick with what your phone gives you? If you are a 3rd party launcher user, what are we using outside of Nova?

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