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launch application androidWhen you’re trying to launch an application on an Android phone, the last thing you probably want to do is scroll through several screens of tiny icons until you finally find the app you’re looking for (that is, if you even remember its name).

Let’s look at a few of the best ways to quickly find and launch those apps you want, starting from the very basic one, and moving on to more advanced ways.

Put The App On Your Home Screen

launch application android

I know, duh, right? But you know what? This is something iPhone users simply can’t do (or actually, with the iPhone, everything is on the home screen all the time). Being an Android user, you get to choose what you want to put on the home screen, and what you want to tuck away into the app drawer. It’s very easy to go overboard with this method – I find it best to have under ten icons or so.

So that’s the built-in way, and it’s very simple. But what about some other, cooler ways?

Swipe In From The Side Of The Screen

launch android application

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What you see above is what happens when I swipe my finger “inwards” from the right side of the screen. A grid of icons pops up – some are for applications, others are for widgets. This grid is courtesy of SwipePad SwipePad - A Stylish Quick-Launch Utility For Your Android Phone SwipePad - A Stylish Quick-Launch Utility For Your Android Phone SwipePad, in its simplest form, is a quick-launch pad (for Android 2.1 and above). It constantly runs in the background (and takes up a line in your notification area). When you touch one of the... Read More , an awesome quick-launch tool. My phone lacks a dedicated camera button, so I set the top-right square to launch Vignette Take Fantastic Full Resolution Pictures With Vignette [Android 1.5+] Take Fantastic Full Resolution Pictures With Vignette [Android 1.5+] As I told you on my Little Photo review, I am hunting for the perfect camera application for Android. Today’s contender is called Vignette. It’s a commercial application which currently retails for $4 on the... Read More , my camera app of choice.

The basic version of SwipePad is free, and you can buy add-ons for it that increase its capabilities (making it possible to place widgets on the grid, for example).

Tilt Your Phone & Wave Your Hand

launch android application

If you’re into Harry Potter or magic in general, you might like Prox Control Your Android Device By a Wave of The Hand Using Prox [2.2+] Control Your Android Device By a Wave of The Hand Using Prox [2.2+] Prox for Android lets you gently tilt your device to one side, wave your hand over it, and the Messaging app opens. Tilt it to another side, wave again, and the browser launches. You can... Read More . Prox doesn’t work on all devices, only those that have a dedicated proximity sensor. It lets you tilt your phone at a certain angle (away from you, towards you, off to one side, etc.) and then wave your hand over it to launch an application.

It’s not a good way to launch dozens of different applications, but if you have one or two favorite apps (say, Gmail), you could easily launch them with Prox. It does have quite a bit of pizzazz, and looks like magic when it works.

Doodle A Part Of Its Name

launch android application

Meet Gesture Search. This is an application by Google, but it doesn’t come built-in with Android (that’s too bad, really). Gesture Search lets you simply draw out a part of the name for an application, a setting, or a contact person. You can control what it indexes:

launch an application android

As you can see, I use Gesture Search only for settings and apps – but that’s really a matter of personal choice. It works amazingly well. There is also a special motion, called Double Flip, that lets you activate the app. Here’s a quick video showing how the motion is done.

Gesture Search works best when you know the name of the app you’re trying to run, and can’t be bothered scrolling through lengthy menus. So for my absolute top apps, I use either home screen shortcuts or SwipePad. For those I run somewhat less frequently, Gesture Search does the trick beautifully.

Use Smart Folders

launch an application android

The folder you see above contains those apps I’ve installed in the last week, and it’s automatically updated. That’s thanks to an amazing app called Auto App Organizer. As I install every app on my phone, Auto App Organizer intercepts the installation (much like an anti-virus would) and then categorizes the app into one of several automatic categories:

launch an application android

The auto-categorization is surprisingly accurate, and saves loads of time. One feature I really like is the Unused tab. This shows apps you didn’t use for a while (30 days for me, but that’s configurable). This way you can easily spot those apps that just idly sit forgotten on your phone, taking up precious space.

For each of these categories, you can create a shortcut on your home screen. So, for example, I can access all of my games with just one single tap:

launch application android

I can also control the volume a game will be launched at, using the slider above the games. One of the handiest apps on my device, without a doubt.

Do It Your Own Way

This is the part where you get to tell me what your favorite way of finding and running apps on your device is. How do you do it? Did I miss an important app or way?

  1. reggie
    June 3, 2015 at 6:52 am

    App Search Plus (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=rjt.appsearch) lets you search your installed applications by entering the first few characters of its name. Great way to find those lost apps and launch them.

  2. Marc
    May 20, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    on ipod, they can just start to type the name of the app... as in find in Windows, etc...
    I am surprised this has never come up...
    Like:
    fil would give me file manager, file me in, etc...

  3. Shilix101
    November 22, 2011 at 10:25 am

    i want to unlock wobec m9 mobile pls email.shilix101@gmail.com
    @gmail:disqus 

  4. Daniel Escasa
    November 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I have five screens, classified according to "function": social networking, utilities, multimedia, etc. No app is more than three swipes away.

    • Erez Zukerman
      November 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      That sounds like a neat system. I haven't had need for more than three screens so far, but now I've got a few large widgets so am considering maybe adding one or two more.

    • Aibek
      November 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      good tip! thanks for share

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