Android 7.1 Nougat brings some new and interesting features to the table, one of the most useful being launcher shortcuts. Launcher shortcuts change the way long-presses work in Android’s built-in app launcher. Previously, a long-press on a home screen icon would simply give the user the option to move or remove the icon, but in Android 7.1’s built-in launcher, it adds a new context menu that offers quick app-specific actions. Unfortunately, Android 7.1 is currently only available on Google’s new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones officially, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of this feature on your device right now. Nova Launcher, one of the most popular app launcher replacements, has included this feature in its latest beta version.
If you are using the most current version of Nova Launcher Beta, you don’t have to take any additional steps to enable this functionality, it is turned on automatically. Simply long-press the app you wish to use and, if it is compatible with this feature, you will be presented with a list of additional options. At the time of this writing, launcher shortcut functionality is limited to a handful of apps, most of which are made by Google, but as more handsets are updated and the feature spreads to other devices, third-party apps will likely include their own customized shortcuts in their app’s long-press submenu. To use launcher shortcuts, you’ll need the latest beta version of Nova Launcher. This means you’ll need to opt into the beta program from Nova Launcher’s Google Plus page, which will then give you access to the Google Play Store link for Nova Launcher Beta (it may take a few hours to appear after joining the program).
Flexibility is one of Android’s greatest strengths, and there are many fantastic app launchers available for users to customize the feel of their devices. Nova Launcher is very similar in functionality to Google’s own launcher but also expands on its functionality by including a whole range of additional options. It is not uncommon for Nova Launcher to include new features Google has added to its own launcher shortly after they are released, so this launcher will appeal to fans of the Google Now Launcher and Pixel Launcher, due to its many similarities with both. As usual with any beta release, it should be noted that this version of the app may not be flawless, and users may experience some occasional bugs or glitches. With that said, if you’d like to try out the new launcher shortcut feature before it makes its way to the public version, head on over to the “Source” link below to get started.