A new update to the beta channel of the popular home launcher replacement Nova Launcher is bringing some new customization options inspired by the Google Pixel 2 and Android 8.1. That's according to a new post from the owner and mind behind the home launcher, Kevin Barry, who shared the update information via Google Plus this week. The update brings the version number to 5.5-beta3 and is only rolling out to those who have opted-in to the beta channel, as it is still expected to be unstable.
With that said, the new update includes some substantial changes to adaptive icons in Nova Launcher. First of all, adaptive icon shapes or themes can now be added more quickly, thanks to optimizations in the processes behind the activation of the features. Adaptive animations should also remain intact now, even while the icon is being dragged and dropped around the screen. In addition to that, more icons can now be backported and reshaping of adaptive icons has been made more robust. However, the biggest new change to the icons feature may just be that those icons can be bypassed. To accomplish that, users need to access the Labs section of Nova Settings. The Labs option is enabled by long-holding the volume down key while in Nova Settings. Then under the Labs section, users simply need to click the "prefer legacy" option in the Adaptive Icons page of the Look and Feel category of Nova Settings. Next up, the update includes a new style of shortcut based on the more boxed look of Android 8.1's stock shortcuts. That can be switched over to by navigating to the Popup selection from the Look and Feel category in Nova settings. Finally, users can place the app's persistent search bar in the dock, allowing them to emulate the more intuitive placement of the search bar on Google's Pixel 2 devices. Options for that can be found in Nova Settings, under the Dock category. In addition to those things, the update does include several bug fixes for issues noted in the prior beta release, as well as further optimizations.
As mentioned above, these changes are currently only being seen in the beta tester channel of the application. That means that in order to access the new features right now, users will need to opt-in for beta options – which can be completed through the source link below. It goes without saying that beta channels do not always feature the most stable version of any application, so anybody having issues may ultimately want to opt-out and wait for the official release. For those already on the beta channel, it can take some time for the beta rollout to hit everybody's devices. So users shouldn't be too concerned if it hasn't hit their device just yet. In the meantime, those who are already opted-in can check the Play Store button below for the update.