How to Get the Best Pixel 2 Features on Any Android Phone

Ben Stegner 05-02-2018

Google’s Pixel 2 (our review Google Pixel 2 Review: Is This The Best Smartphone Ever? How can Google justify $650 for a smartphone, when the OnePlus 5 sells for $480, or the Motorola G5+ $230. What separates the Google Pixel 2 from its competitors? Read More ) is the premiere Android smartphone. Free from many of the issues plaguing other Android devices, it’s Google’s vision for Android in both hardware and software.


But due to Android’s fragmented update schedule, many users will never see In Today’s Android World, Up-to-Date Software Is Only for the Privileged If you own an Android phone, there's a good chance you rarely get Android security updates. And you can blame it on the Google Pixel. Read More some of the Pixel 2’s best features. Thankfully, a clever developer has stepped in to bring a lot of its features to other Android phones through an app called Rootless Pixel Launcher. Here’s how you can check it out.

How to Get Pixel 2 Features on Any Android Phone

You’ll need to make sure you have a few elements straight before starting:

  • An Android phone with Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer.
  • Since you have to sideload the app, your must ensure your phone allows apps from unknown sources.

To check this, open Settings and go to the Security tab. From there, choose Lock screen and security and enable Unknown sources. Accept the warning and you’re all set. If you’re on Android Oreo, the steps for sideloading If You Sideload Apps, You Must Know About This Change in Android Oreo Many Android users know that sideloading lets you install apps from outside the Play Store. But there's a big change coming in Android 8.0 Oreo that you'll want to know about. Read More are a bit different.

Now, download the latest release of Rootless Pixel Launcher as a ZIP file. Unzip it to access the APK inside and install it on your phone. Once installed, just tap the Home button on your phone and Android will ask you what home screen app you want to use. Select the Pixel Launcher entry and choose Always to set it as your default.

How to Get the Best Pixel 2 Features on Any Android Phone Rootless Pixel Launcher 2


Then you can enjoy all the features of this modified Pixel Launcher. Check the developer’s announcement on Reddit for a full breakdown of features. What you can use depends on your version of Android.

On Marshmallow or above, you’ll see dots on apps with active notifications. Nougat users can long-press on apps to access shortcuts. And anyone with Lollipop or newer has access to the Google feed by swiping to the left of your home screen. Add the look and feel of the Pixel Launcher to the ability to use custom icon packs, and you’ve got a solid launcher.

What do you think of this Pixel Launcher? Do you prefer the stock experience or is another launcher your favorite? Share with us in the comments!

Image Credit: Tinh te Photo/Flickr

Related topics: Android Customization, Android Launcher, Pixel 2.

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  1. Jon
    February 5, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Well, I've tried the Pixel launcher for a couple days, and it seems the only difference between it and the Google Now launcher (now discontinued) is the pull-down access to notifications and quick settings, and pull-up for the app drawer. It has other odd-feeling quirks or differences, but worse, it didn't import my Now launcher settings, so I would have to re-do my main home screens, with all its folders and widgets, etc. I started, but didn't have the patience, so just used it as it was, mostly. In the end, it didn't really offer me anything over the older Now launcher, so I just switched back to that right before this article appeared in my Feedly feed. :-) Maybe if or when my Now launcher breaks, I'll try it again, but for now, I didn't notice any real difference.