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Why Google shouldn't remove the app drawer

Google I/O 2016 is less than a week away, and with that in mind, I wanted to revisit a topic discussed earlier in the year. It was rumored that Google intends to drop the app drawer in the final version of Android N and I think this move would be a bad idea.

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Android N for "New York Cheesecake"? Perhaps. / © ANDROIDPIT

A number of Android manufacturers have already taken the decision to remove the app drawer from their respective UIs (look at Huawei and its Emotion UI) – and I can see why they’d want to. iPhones don’t have an app drawer and those things are popular, right?

If you see that something is making money it makes sense for companies to copy the formula, like Hollywood has with Superhero movies. But it’s a poor approach for the native Android platform for several reasons.

Firstly, forcing an iOS-like experience on Android users is frustrating because they often seek a non-iOS-like experience. When your choice is limited to two major operating systems, diversity is welcome. 

Secondly, the app drawer is a shortcut to all apps and users often have dozens of them. Having every app spread across your homescreen is like having a shortcut to every program on your windows desktop: it would be an ineffective use of space and could make navigation more difficult. Particularly if you also want widgets like email and weather available.

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The iPhone 6 Plus can house 24 apps on each homescreen, plus the four fixed buttons at the bottom. / © ANDROIDPIT

What would I prefer? Just like how you can remove the Google Search Bar, I think Android would benefit from having an app drawer removal option in the settings menu. This could make the transition for users coming from iOS easier without disappointing current Android fans who don't wish to lose a preferred feature.   

Forcing this function onto people: not cool. Putting the decision in the hands of the end user: very cool. And if the app drawer button then became customizable, even better.

We’ll learn more about Google’s upcoming Android plans next week at when Google I/O 2016 kicks off on Wednesday. Do you want to see the app drawer destroyed? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Readers' favorite comments

  • Greg1100 6 months ago

    Samsung/Google- stick your iphone lookalike idea where the sun will never shine. I want to be able to make my OWN homepage as I want it, on MY phone, paid for with MY money.
    The app icons spread like a disease all over the home pages looks awful. I know, I foolishly bought the iphone 4 when it came out. Flicking through pages of apps to find the one you want, when an apps list is so much quicker and easier.
    I only have a time/date widget and 6 very small quick dial contact pics on my NOTE 4 homescreen, with a screen either side with just the apps I use regularly. If I want an app, I just go into app draw. EASY. The apps LIST is curtesy of Nova Launcher, which will be a feature of any Android phone I buy, especially if the brain dead officials of google or samsung adopt this idea.
    Apple is- you have what we force you to have. ANDROID IS UNLIMITED CHOICE. And that is why I will never have another crapple phone/ pad or whatever.

18 comments

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  • App Drawer must stay. How else we gonna use that "useless" app that we want, hahahha.

  • No, app driwer must stay on android N too.

  • All hail custom launchers! No one's gonna take it away from me!

  • 18
    anshul 6 months ago Link to comment

    "Forcing this function onto people: not cool. Putting the decision in the hands of the end user: very cool. And if the app drawer button then became customizable, even better."

    Well said, I agree.

    • Alex R. 6 months ago Link to comment

      They are already customisable and they can be customised all you gotta do is install a third party launcher like Nova launcher prime which is the best launcher ever !!

  • I hope we have a choice about the app drawer, personally since I installed Nova launcher I don't use app drawer, I have folders to access all my regular apps, this works for me....
    but I like having the app drawer available as an option...

  • Ivan C. 6 months ago Link to comment

    some people tend to accidentally remove or delete their app icons and this is the advantage of having an app drawer on your phone.

  • I don't think Google should remove it, but I honestly don't think it would be that big of a deal anyway, because I use Nova Launcher. There's still no need to turn it into iOS though.

  • On Android, everyone's home screen is different, but on iOS everyone has the same home screen since Apple's iOS doesn't allow the customization that Android has. I certainly wouldn't want my screen full of shortcuts to apps

  • Mark 6 months ago Link to comment

    I like an uncluttered home page just a few most used apps, everything else hidden in the drawer. I hope they don't get rid of it.

  • GrossDad 6 months ago Link to comment

    I vote in favor of the app drawer. I cannot abide the iPhone approach.

  • nothing wrng in removing app drawer.....u r just habitual of it.....be practical u wont feel much diff

    • Alex R. 6 months ago Link to comment

      May be or may not be and that's just your own opinion which might not be same with others and definitely not the same with me.

  • I hope Google stops trying to make Android more like iOS!!!!!!!!!!!!! There's always some idiot though in an organization that thinks something would be "cool" while the majority of its users do NOT want certain changes. Will they listen? Probably not.

  • The drawer apps in Android is the best solution for organization e keep my screen personalized. I have just one screen on my homescreen with all apps and widgets that I use frequently.

  • Rideau 6 months ago Link to comment

    I agree. App drawer is a part of Android's personality and it would be a big mistake to remove it. And it's a good solution for people who have a lot of differents apps and who want to organise their homescreen.

  • storm 6 months ago Link to comment

    I like the app drawer too. Screens full of launchers are clunky. The drawer is quick and clean.

  • Greg1100 6 months ago Link to comment

    Samsung/Google- stick your iphone lookalike idea where the sun will never shine. I want to be able to make my OWN homepage as I want it, on MY phone, paid for with MY money.
    The app icons spread like a disease all over the home pages looks awful. I know, I foolishly bought the iphone 4 when it came out. Flicking through pages of apps to find the one you want, when an apps list is so much quicker and easier.
    I only have a time/date widget and 6 very small quick dial contact pics on my NOTE 4 homescreen, with a screen either side with just the apps I use regularly. If I want an app, I just go into app draw. EASY. The apps LIST is curtesy of Nova Launcher, which will be a feature of any Android phone I buy, especially if the brain dead officials of google or samsung adopt this idea.
    Apple is- you have what we force you to have. ANDROID IS UNLIMITED CHOICE. And that is why I will never have another crapple phone/ pad or whatever.

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