How to prevent Android apps from adding launchers to your phone’s home screen

Woman texting on android.

Uwe Krejci/Getty

If you compare me Pixel 6 Pro And you’ll see the story of two different users, my wife. Hers has a home screen full of launchers, whereas mine is limited to a single row of folders at the bottom (which is the default Android 13) Those folders contain only the apps I use the most and access other apps from the app drawer.

Why do I like it on Android? Simple — efficiency.

Further: Android 13 on the Pixel 6 Pro is a great upgrade — with one exception

When Android is allowed to add app launchers to the home screen (which happens by default when installing an app from the Google Play Store), it adds them to the first available location. That means your home screen launchers are placed in a random order. That can lead to confusion and a less efficient experience.

I’m all about performance.

This is against the Android app drawer, which organizes your app launchers alphabetically, making it much easier to manage. Of course, you can organize those launchers manually, even collect them in folders if you like. But even that gets confusing.

If you’re like me, you’ll benefit greatly from a spartan Android home screen. Not only is it a very easy way to interact with Android, but it also allows you to display that beautiful home screen wallpaper. However, as I mentioned, Android is set to automatically add those launchers to the home screen.

Let’s prevent that from happening.

requirements

This feature has been with Android for quite some time now, so no matter which version of the OS you’re using, you’ll be able to achieve results. So, as long as you have an Android device, you’re good to go.

How to prevent apps from adding launchers to the home screen

The way you do this is a bit opposite of what you might think. You can probably find this setting in Settings > Display or Settings > Apps. It is neither. Instead of going to the Settings app, you should use the Home Settings app.

Long press any empty space on your home screen and in the resulting popup, tap Home settings.

Android home screen long press popup.

Accessing the Home screen Settings app from the Android home screen.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In Home settings, tap the On/Off slider for adding app icons until it is in the Off position.

Home Screen Settings app in Android 13.

Disabling app icons on the home screen will take some time.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once you disable the feature, go to your home screen and remove all launchers. To do that, tap and drag a launcher to the top of the screen to remove it. You need to do this for every icon on your home screen. If you prefer, you can have a single row of icons in folders at the bottom of the screen. Some versions of the Android home screen launcher do this by default, and some don’t force that issue.

Home Screen 3

Removes green screen app from Android home screen.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once you notice this, you’ll get a cleaner Android home screen that’s more efficient to use. Above all, the mobile experience should be easy and simple. When you’re on the go, you have to close your eyes and stare at your Android home screen to find the app you need to use.

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