Chromebook Will Finally Gain Real Launcher App Sorting Soon

Dropbox Chromebook DG ah 2020

The Chromebook platform, for all of its efficiency, has at least a few things it doesn’t do well and one of those is app sorting in the launcher. For clarity, the launcher on a Chromebook is the Chrome OS equivalent of an app drawer on Android. Namely, it’s an organized list of apps that are installed. Tucked behind a click on the concentric circle icon at the bottom left-hand side of the UI.

Or at least that’s what it’s supposed to be. Not only do apps appear to randomly be placed in the launcher in the current iteration. Especially when switching to a new Chromebook and having the system determine where they should be in the list on the new install. Chrome OS also often places newly installed apps entirely new pages. With significant gaps between apps.

But that’s about to change with a new change spotted by 9to5Google.


What’s changing about how Chromebook sorts app installations in the launcher?

Hidden away in the Chromium Gerrit code repository for now, the new change fundamentally shifts launcher app sorting for the Chromebook platform.

The code change, as is often the case, adds a new experimental flag that doesn’t appear to be live just yet. And, at least in description, it’s fairly straightforward. The flag is titled “Enable sorting apps on the launcher.”

The description applied to that flag effectively repeats what the title is, but specifies sorting of app icons in the Chromebook launcher.


It doesn’t go into any detail, however, regarding exactly how that would work. Presumably, it would provide users a way to sort apps by category, installation, and similar metrics. But, at a minimum, it should at least fix the above-mentioned issues with random placement and large in-between gaps for the icons. Effectively bringing an end to users forced to manually re-organize the apps during that initial setup.

When is this coming?

As noted by the source, Googlers are just now getting to work on development. Work is in its earliest stages. So this change isn’t necessarily going to arrive anytime soon. At the earliest, given that the feature freeze for Chrome 93 was in June, it could arrive in Chrome OS 94. That’s slated to land sometime on or just after October 14.