[Android] How to become Less Dependent on Your Launcher

It might sound confusing, but you know the idea:

You must’ve had some apps you use very often. To access them easily, you put them on your homescreen. Maybe some of them are in folders to make them a little more organized.

But what if you want to access apps that you don’t use very often? You must search for it on the app drawer, which contains dozens or even hundreds of other apps.

The process is usually like this: Home button -> App Drawer -> Some swipes down/to the right ->The app. But, like me, you may have multiple launchers installed, and they may deal with app drawers differently. Some launchers organize apps by categories, which is pretty nice, but you still need a few seconds to remember which app belongs to which categories.

The result: a pretty crowded home screen, and some wasted time.

I have found two apps that would make you less dependent on your launcher, which means that you don’t need to go to your home screen and app drawer to access the apps you want.

Solution #1: App Search Plus

When I wrote this post I remember that I also used to have problems finding apps on my desktop. Fortunately, I could fix the problem with keyboard-based launchers like Synapse (Linux) and Launchy (Windows), which has become the apps I can’t live without. App Search Plus brings the same functionality to Android.

It can be accessed from long-pressing the home button and swiping up, which you might recognize as the Google Now gesture. Then you can simply search for the app you want to launch.

App Search Plus only has four settings, including disabling animations (making it launch faster), and to save the list of recently accessed apps.

Solution #2: SideControl

Now you can get your apps more easier and faster using App Search Plus. So far so good, but maybe you don’t like to type several letters of your favorite apps only to access it (which can happen multiple times a day). If only Android has some sort of dock where you can access your favorite apps…

Don’t worry, there’s an app for this.

SideControl is a customizable sidebar. You can add up to 3 sidebars (on left, right, and bottom sides of your screen), choose a touch area and gesture style, and fill them with your favorite apps (up to 8 on free version).

SideControl can actually do a lot more than showing you a shortcut to your apps – you can make the sidebar to open individual apps, tasker profiles, direct calls, toggle settings like Wifi and Bluetooth, and more. It is also possible integrate it with Xposed framework; for example, using xHaloFloatingWindow to open shortcuts.

While there is a load of apps with the same purpose in the Play Store, I found SideControl to be the most stable of them all, and there’s one more feature that I really like: you can set it to also show your phone’s recent apps. It’s definitely faster than the default app switcher.

SideControl showing recent apps.


These two apps have been really helpful to me. The beauty of them is that they’re quite unintrusive and only took seconds to run.


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