The Android launcher community is no longer like the Wild West but developers are just as passionate, and at time ingenious, as ever. Especially when Google comes out with a new Pixel phone with an exclusive Pixel launcher. There is no shortage of attempts to bring the latest Pixel 2 Launcher to other phones with older Android versions, but AmirZ’s new Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.0 has two distinct features. One, it sticks close to the pure Android launcher. But, more importantly, it doesn’t require root to use.
Right from the get-go, AmirZ warns users that his vision for the Rootless Pixel Launcher might not mesh with what some users want in a launcher. He aims for simplicity and stability, sticking close to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) Launcher3 app. He recommends other launcher for those who want lots of features and customizations.
Not that Rootless Pixel Launcher is bereft of features. It’s biggest feature is, in fact, bringing the Pixel 2 Launcher’s features to Android devices going as far back as Android 5.0 Lollipop. This allows Lollipop phones to have dynamically changing colors depending on the wallpaper or a Google search bar at the bottom of the screen. It also gives Marshmallow and Nougat user the same notification dots from Oreo.
There are, however, some limits. Lollipop, for example, won’t have those notification dots. And anything prior to Android 7.1 won’t have app shortcuts either. Those limitations are due to the difficulty in porting the features to older Android versions.
In order to have the Google Now feed working on the Rootless Pixel Launcher, AmirZ had to use the same package name as the original Pixel 2 Launcher. As such, it cannot be uploaded to Google Play Store, so you can only sideload it via an APK. Another thing to consider is that Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.0 is only guaranteed to work with AOSP-based ROMs like LineageOS and Paranoid Android.