So, at last I get to the Nova Launcher related post. I've previously mentioned it in passing before. I've also brought it up a few times in replies to others regarding Android and when I discussed my awesome new, shiny Moto X. (I've gotten a few useful add-on gizmos for it, which I'll be reviewing sometime soon. For you Moto X owners out there, but they will work with any Android device.)

Moving on!

I've given it some thought and there's simply way too much Nova can do for me to adequately cover. So what I'm going to do here is go over the basics and I'll leave the exploring up to you all. You'll never learn if you don't try and on Android the best way to learn is by doing things on your own and seeing what happens. (DO NOT use that philosophy with unlocking bootloaders, flashing recoveries or acquiring root. Lol. You can seriously screw things up if you don't have a decent idea of what you're about to do.)

First and foremost, you need to install Nova Launcher. I highly recommend saving yourself the trouble and after doing that, just going ahead and getting Nova Launcher Prime. I paid a quarter for it a few years back. I forget the current price, but it's worth it. Also, you won't be able to do some of the really fun stuff without it. (Like hiding apps and all that.)

Once you've done that, the fun begins. Well, almost. You need to set your new launcher. There are a few ways to do that. One is to launch Nova and then it will ask you to swipe away your previous launcher. That may or may not be too much work for some of you. So the other choice is to go to Settings and then Home and select Nova Launcher, at which point it becomes your default one.

So once you've got that setup, time to start screwing around. When you first launch Nova Settings you'll see a number of things that are easy enough to understand.

Like I said, all self explanatory. The ones you'll most likely be playing with right out of the gate will be Desktop, Look and feel and Unread Counts.

Desktop grid is what you'll want to play with if you want to give yourself more room to put widgets and/or app icons.

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Home Screens is where you'll go to start messing around with adding or removing home screens. Also deciding which one is your main one.

Keeping in mind that some icon packs install themselves as an app that lets you basically "click here" to set them. That's all well and good, but there are enough out there that don't do that automatically to "force" me to show you how to do things the Nova Launcher way. (Remember, I'll go more in depth next time.)

To change icon packs you're basically going to go into Nova's Settings and then click on Look and Feel and then Icon Theme and select one of the ones you have installed on your device.

Click on the one you want, it'll set it and that's it.

First up is the icon pack Click UI. I think I've mentioned it before, it goes for $1.99 if memory serves me correctly and it's just great. For those who haven't noticed, Google's stock Android icons are kinda all over the place. In size and shape and color and all that, there's no real uniformity to the design. Icon packs serve to change that for the better and Click UI does it best in my opinion. I've used quite a few icon packs and with the past three updates Click UI has become my default for good reason. It just looks good and the updates have taken care of the handful of apps that weren't already themed properly.

EDIT: It's also worth noting that you can edit individual icons and select either alternate versions from within a given pack or flat out use something from another icon pack.

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To do so, just press and hold on a given icon til you get the option to edit it. You'll see what I'm referring to in the screenshots below.

I currently don't have TeslaUnread installed on my phone, since I don't need it thanks largely to the Active Display, but that is required to use Unread Counts.

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What Unread Counts essentially does is put a tiny little box on certain icons (email, phone and text messages) to show you how many things of each you've got "pending" or that you need to review. Nothing more, nothing less. Useful for some, not so much for others. Enabling it is entirely up to you.

The one setting I did find myself setting up across my various devices is the one that allows for Gestures.

As you can see per the screenshots, I've got a handful setup. Namely the double tap to enable Nova Settings, which should be self explanatory. But just in case, if I tap twice on the homescreen Nova Settings will launch. No having to go rooting around for it in my app drawer (which is great because I have it hidden from there).

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You'll also see that with a swipe down anywhere my Notification Shade will expand. The same goes for the Quick Settings Panel, albeit it requires a two finger swipe down.

Beyond those major things worth checking out, you likely won't be diving into any of the other menus. Unless of course you really want to get fancy with your homescreen setup, in which case you can head over to MyColorScreen and peruse the various homescreens. Full instructions for the most part will be included with each homescreen setup. Either in the description or as an attached text file with any download links. Keeping in mind that everything is adjustable per your needs, so you don't have to stick with recommended settings for any of the setups.

Beyond that, like I said earlier, a lot of the other settings you all won't really mess with. I'll play around with the app some more later today and if there's anything that the average user would really need to use or setup I'll do a followup edit to this post. Otherwise, next week you all can look forward to a post on EvolveSMS!

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Like usual, questions and comments or general bitching are welcome. The latter though I will respond to with snark and sarcasm. : )

EDIT: Courtesy of umataro42. "One thing that bugged me until I figured it out. On the Play Store app, I had unchecked the option to add icon to home screen for new apps, but I was still seeing them added, and eventually I found out there's also a setting in Nova Launcher - New Apps (auto-add shortcuts) that also had to be unchecked. So I thought I'd mention that here in case anyone installs Nova and doesn't want new apps added to their home screen."

EDIT 2: In keeping with Wednesday Android Update being a day Google updates any/all of their Android apps, there's a few items that have been updated so far.

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First up is Google Keep and you can get the latest apk for it here. The slide out/hamburger menu has been updated a bit and now looks like the one in Google Play Music. There's also an "image search" ability that's been added. So you'll be able to search for specific text within images. Kinda neat. A few other minor things, but those are the two that stuck out to me.

Also updated is Google Play Movies and the apk for that can be found here. Slide out/hamburger menu here too WITH multi account selection. For those of you who have that going on your devices. Also some updated seeking behavior. Swipe left or right to skip around in ten second chunks.

If there are any further app updates I'll post them as they drop.