If you’ve tried using Nova Launcher on your Pixel smartphone with Android 11, with Navigation Gestures enabled, you probably ended up being quite frustrated. The app would redraw every time you returned to the home screen, while the animations were janky, and so on. Nova Launcher developer blamed Google for all this, and said it can’t fix it, essentially. Well, the situation on Android is not exactly great, but there is a way to fix that, mostly. In this article, we’ll show you how to force your Pixel 6 or 6 Pro to play nice with Nova Launcher.
Many people who tried using Nova Launcher on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro said that the app is constantly crashing, and that’s only one of the issues that were reported. That ended up frustrating Android enthusiasts, as Google’s Pixel Launcher is light on features, so it’s understandable they want to use a third-party launcher. Many other popular third-party launchers have their own issues with the new Pixel phones. Well, if you’d like to use Nova Launcher on your Pixel 6 series phone, read on.
How to force Pixel 6 to play nice with Nova Launcher
The first thing you need to do is install Nova Launcher, of course. It doesn’t really matter if you have a free version, or if you paid for it, both will work properly once we’re done.
Once you’ve installed Nova Launcher, feel free to set it up to your liking, but don’t set it as Default Launcher just yet. What you’ll need to do is remove all widgets from both the Pixel Launcher and Nova Launcher. Yes, all of them, it doesn’t matter from what app. I’ve even disabled “At a Glance” in the Pixel Launcher, just in case.
When you remove all widgets, we can proceed to the next step, and that is… restart. You’ll need to restart your smartphone, not your launchers. If you have Google Assistant-enabled via the power key, then you’ll need to press the power key + volume up key to bring up the power menu. If you don’t, you’ll need to press and hold the power key. The former is the default setting, though, so keep that in mind. Once the power menu pops up, restart your device.
When the phone boots back up, you’ll need to navigate to your phone’s settings. Simply swipe up on the home screen, and find the “Settings” app / option.
Once the Settings menu opens, navigate to the “Apps” menu.
Find the “Default apps” option there, and tap it.
In there, you’ll need to tap the “Home app” option.
Once the menu opens, select Nova Launcher from there, which is highlighted as “Nova7”.
Nova Launcher should work a lot better now, without major issues
Once you’re done with that, the phone will immediately throw you to Nova Launcher’s home screen. Nova Launcher is now set as your default launcher, and it should work a lot better than before. One thing I’ve noticed is a split-second delay when you return to the home screen, which prevents me to enter another app at that moment. That’s just a minor setback, though. The point is, all animations work fine, the same goes for gestures, and there are no major issues now. I’ve been using this setup for about a day at this point, and the app didn’t crash once. Before, it used to crash every minute or two.
I’m not sure if this trick will work with other third-party launchers, but you can certainly try it. Many other launchers are having issues with Google’s Pixel phones on Android 11 and 12. Do note that this trick works only on Android 12, as far as I can tell. So, feel free to try it with your Microsoft Launcher, Action Launcher, or any other launcher you may be using. It does work on Nova, that’s what I know for sure. It did not work for me on several other launchers I’ve tried, though.