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Apex Launcher – Another Great Home Replacement for Ice Cream Sandwich Devices

There is no question that there are plenty of great launchers out there for Android users. But it seems that every time we post about Nova Launcher that was built specifically for Ice Cream Sandwich devices, there is someone that brings up the Apex Launcher. So we have checked it out and can now see why so many people were bringing it up. With even more customization options than Nova has at the moment, then there was no way we weren’t going to recommend this launcher. 

There are too many features to list, so we will leave that up to the developer. Here is the features list from the post over on XDA:


  • Custom number of homescreens and homescreen grid size
  • Infinite & elastic scrolling (homescreen and drawer)
  • Transition effects (homescreen and drawer)
  • Customizable scrolling indicator (homescreen and drawer)
  • Homescreen gestures (pinch, swipe up/down)
  • Enable/Disable auto-rotation
  • Enable/Disable wallpaper scrolling
  • Show/Hide persistent search bar
  • Show/Hide notification bar
  • Show/Hide icon labels (homescreen and drawer)
  • Lock/Unlock desktop
  • All/Downloaded/Widgets tabs in drawer
  • Drawer apps sorting (title, install date, mostly used)
  • Add widgets from drawer (must install as system app) or system picker
  • Resize any widget
  • Backup/Restore settings and data

Download Here

Install as you would any other 3rd-party application.

Cheers Matt! 

  • TimTheK

    Does Apex allow you to hide apps in the app drawer?


  • Brianer08

    So the main concern I have with this is that it seemingly isn’t available in the Android Market. How are updates issued? 

  • fvqu

    This is better then Nova Launcher, thanks.

  • Scknoll123

    Mine keeps downloading as a zip file not an APK

    • guest

      rename it to .apk

    • epoc2207

      Stop using chrome to DL. use the stock browser 

      • Scknoll123

        Thanks. I got it. Whats the differents from chrome and stock for downloading

  • Scknoll123

    How do I install this. Do I need to flash and if so do: need to wipe? It says just install like a third party app

    • Noyfb

      I installed like a third party app, works fine so far. Still studying all the functions, but it stays true to stock ICS

  • Rodeojones000

    I’ve been using Apex since Friday, as the ROM I’m using came with it built in. I see no differences in performance compared to Nova, but there’s one feature Apex has that put it over the top for me – the ability to add app drawer background transparenc. I’ll be sticking with this one for a while.

  • Agreatguy63

    Silly question, “Install as you would any other 3rd-party application” = install using CWM?

    • Paul Weller

      No it means install it through a file manager.  Make sure you have checked the box in the Security settings that says “Allow installation of non-Market apps” and you’ll be good to go.  CWM is usually only for flashing .zip files.

      • Agreatguy63

        The link is a zip file. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction

        • Paul Weller

          Ahh I gotcha.  That’s weird b/c the link for me is an .apk.  Glad to help though.

          • RobMorris

            It’s all about the browser, some of them change it to zip and some keep the apk, its confusing sometimes

        • A apk is a zip file, just rename the extension and see if that works.

      • Hppy4val

        I have astro manager open but there is no file to click.

        • Hppy4val

          Anyone? Bueller, Bueller???

          • Paul Weller

            Check your Downloads folder.  Usually everything defaults to that.

          • Hppy4val

            I unzipped it but I don’t see a file or apk to click. There are only files that will not open.

          • Hppy4val

            I give up. I’m too stupid and there’s not enough help here.

          • BillyM

            Just rename app.zip to app.apk.  It’s pretty simple.  Your browser is just changing the file extension.  apk’s are just files in a .zip.

          • Paul Weller

            I understand now.  For some reason downloading this file on the phone downloads as a .zip file but through the computer it downloads as an .apk.  The way I installed it was through my PC so all I saw was the .apk.  Try flashing the .zip file through ClockworkMod if you have it installed.  Sorry for the confusion.

  • Hppy4val

    Newbie question. Once I download it, what do I do next?

  • Trevor Heins

    Ahh, that’s a wallpaper from the Tha Flip icon and wallpaper set by Dave Kover and Tha Phlash. https://market.android.com/details?id=kov.adwtheme.flip&hl=en”  Quote from Tim-o-tato (guy who wrote the article)

  • Jimbobparadise

    I wish some of these launchers would offer a list style app drawer.  I used QQ Launcher for awhile and it was soooo much more convenient.  I could find apps in half the time.  

  • Trevor Heins

    youre not going to get an answer instantaneously 

  • Trevor Heins

    not everyone does…i did but not everyone

  • canihaswallpapernao?

  • Holy Jeebus! 
    Where did you get that wallpaper from?

  • Hola! Where did you get that wallpaper from?

  • John Burke

    APEX Launcher has the ICS-style Widgets in the App Drawer?!
    The Nova Launcher Developer said it was impossible, *pffffft!*
    Switching right now from Nova Launcher Prime to Apex!
    Thanks Droid-Life

    • Smooth918

      They’ve always been in the App Drawer on ever version of Nova Launcher I had.

      • Trevor Heins

        you had to be rooted

        • Smooth918

          Well, Yeah! Thought that was the first thing we all did when U get a Nexus, my bad…

  • br_hermon

    Not gonna lie, I already noticed a performance increase with this. I has some great unique features too. Just finished setting up all my homescreens and setting it as my default. As long as it performs well (no redraws, lag, etc) then this will easily replace Nova as my launcher. Thanks DL!  🙂

  • Where did you get that wallpaper from?

  • Azndan4

     Apex launcher > Nova launcher > ADW Ex

  • Larry Mao

    Apex is made by the same Devs who make Fancy Widgets. 


  • Trevor Heins

    Can I have the download link to the wallpaper please? Its sick!

  • Jeff J

    And I just set-up Go on mine…

  • Nova prime 😀

  • EC8CH


    Is this this same APEX Launcher from back in the OG Droid days?

    • Paul Weller

      Do you mean Helix Launcher?  I don’t remember an Apex launcher for the D1.

      • EC8CH


        Helix… that’s it.

        That was my first 3rd party launcher, but it was so long ago 🙂

        • Paul Weller

          Haha same here.  Back then I thought having 7 homescreens and the “Sense” like previews on a non Sense phone were the best thing ever! 

  • Kyle

    This is like the new and improved ADW Launcher vs. Launcher Pro battle

  • Darthseph23

    I’ll stick with Nova.  I tried setting up stuff on Apex, and just found it wasn’t different enough after I set up Nova already.

    For those that love the scrolling dock and want to use that argument – I’ve honestly never used that feature, even in GoLauncher.   I just felt it was in the way.  I try to hit one thing on the edge of the 5 icons, and it would scroll to another set of icons.  To each their own though.

    • Higher_Ground

      i’ve never used go launcher, but combined with the dock gestures, it’s definitley the feature I use most in LPP . 

      Instead of having homescreen icons I have 2 docks to scroll through: app [gesture app]
      phone; contacts; app drawer [recent apps]; texts; gmail
      camera [video]; battery stats; maps; market [amazon app store]; browser [bookmarks]

      i could probably do w/o contacts and battery stats

  • NYAvsFan

    I assume this works on phones only? I have ICS on my TF101 but would like a more “ICS style” launcher than I have (currently running ADW)

    • brando56894

      It should work on your TF also, assuming you have ICS on it already.

  • turdbogls

    been using this for a while now (upgraded a 3-4 times in the last 3 weeks)
    Fab has done a great job on this launcher…always loved his stuff.

    this has everything important to me in a custom launcher except for one thing….making the icons larger)
    other than that, it is perfect, and it is still my go to launcher.

  • balthuszar

    but if everyone wants stock ICS…what’s the point of launchers? 

    • An enhanced stock ICS feel. 

      • I think the same could even be applied for a lot of the roms that there are right now. (CM is the one I think of right away) All they are is taking android into your hands and making it your way. 

        • balthuszar

          right…but you can do that with manufacturer skins too…so why complain about them?

          • I don’t complain about them but how they do them, with roms you can chose and they are optional skins are not. I have always believed skins should a be choice (even if by defult) and you simply can say I want a stock or nonstock device from the getgo. If google could force the manufactures and carriers to do that I would love them even more.

    • GawkerRedesignSucks

      Extra customization options like scrollable docks and custom number of homescreens.  Personally, I only need three homescreens, but stock ICS forces you to have 5.  Those two empty screens were irritating me to no end.

    • Jon

      Stock ICS is a great base. Nova Launcher enhances the stock launcher with added options, while not changing the feel or style of the stock launcher. And it’s a choice that can be enabled and disabled, unlike a manufacturers custom skins on their ROMs. 

      I don’t think anyone would mind custom changes by manufacturers if they could be turned off and uninstalled at will. 

  • jimbob

    Goodbye, Nova.

    • webby

      x1 … This is superior to Nova and any other launcher I have used.  When you put the drawer in vertical scrolling, it flys with no hesitation at all.  

      Another requirement for me for any launcher is that Pure Calendar Widget scrolls in it, and it works great in this launcher.  

      This is my new launcher.

      • Brianer08

         Webby, I use Pure Calendar as well. You know that stock ICS supports scrollable widgets now, right? No need for a custom launcher any more for that particular feature.

        Of course there are other things that I like about Nova besides that and will probably give this Apex a try as well.

  • Higher_Ground

    guessing there’s no connection to apex ROMs?  Does it have a scrollable/customizable dock?

  • Jack Hoffman

    Nova’s great.  Apex is a little faster, easier on resource’s and doesn’t suffer from Redraw as bad.  Apex also just added the scrollable dock and scrolling folders that Nova had.

    However, a lot of that depends on the ROM you are using as well.

    Most devs that included Nova by default have gone to Apex now.

    Nova also went to a pay-for advanced features, while Apex is free (for now).

  • Vertical app drawer scrolling in Apex 0.7. How I missed thee!

  • Adrien Hawthorne

    Been using Apex on Axiom on my Razr. Absolutely love it.

  • Michael Forte

    Just tried Apex yesterday and I have to say it’s hard to decide between it and Nova.

  • sc0rch3d

    recently got turned on to Nova from Stock and haven’t looked back. I don’t see any difference based on the description. help?

  • i’m stick sticking with stock launcher. does the job. Thanks Tim

    • G3spike

      Agree’d, besides maybe the scrollable folders, I see no need in placing a custom launcher that slows down your device, if it already has ICS.

      • mustbepbs

        How does a custom launcher slow down your device? Nova hasn’t slowed down my GNEX one bit. It adds nice customization without sacrifice. 

      • tu3218

        I’ve only tried nova, but these definitely do not slow down the phone.  These add the same speed as stock ics but with additional features.  

  • Bonzix

    I’ve been using this on Liquid’s 1.0 ROM and find both to be excellent.

  • Aww thanks Tato