Note: To enable the swipe for Google Now gesture and stop launcher crashes when choosing a new wallpaper, you have to flash the zip file linked below via TWRP. Installing the APK works but it crashes when launching the wallpaper picker and you can’t swipe right for Google Now.
That didn’t take long. The new Google Nexus launcher APK is now available for download. I’ve installed it and it’s the real deal, complete with the new slide-up app drawer and Google ‘button’ for quick search and access to Google Now.
When you long press the home screen there’s a settings menu that includes a ‘Show Google app when swiping left’ option as well as options for screen rotation and adding or subtracting app suggestions at the top of the app drawer. Tapping the G button opens a quick search tray and swiping from the left edge opens Google Now.
APK: the easy method
Install the APK above. Simply enable Unknown Sources in your Security settings, install the Nexus Launcher APK (or mirror), hit home and choose Nexus Launcher. You will get all the Nexus Launcher features except swiping right for Google Now won’t work and the launcher will crash when attempting to set a new wallpaper (this is because the launcher needs to be installed as a system app for those features to work). You can still access Google Now by tapping the G button once to open search and then the ‘G’ again to launch Google Now. Obviously this method is for those that just want to quickly check it out.
ZIP: the better method
If you want the Nexus Launcher working like it’s supposed to though, you’ll need to flash the Nexus Launcher zip file via TWRP. This will not only enable swiping for Google Now but it will also stop the wallpaper picker from force closing the launcher. This is obviously the better method, but if you really don’t want to install a non-Google Play app, you can always use the Nova Launcher approach we shared earlier for a very similar experience. Make sure to grab the 2016 Nexus wallpapers too.
Do you like the new Nexus Launcher? Better or worse than the current approach?