Google's launchers are some of the most polished home screen apps out there, but they lack the ability to customize. With the old Google Now Launcher, we had Xposed GEL Settings to add options for tweaking the layout, but that project was abandoned when the Pixel Launcher came out. Now, a new root mod will give us some key customization settings for Google's latest launcher.
In many ways, this is like Xposed GEL Settings for the Pixel Launcher. It's not quite as feature-rich, but it lets you pick a custom icon pack, apply icons to individual apps, change app labels, and even set custom widget sizes. Shout out to the XDA Portal team for finding this first, but we've really got to hand it to developer Kieron Quinn for creating such an awesome app, because with these extra settings and Google's polish, the Pixel Launcher is now almost perfect.
Note: If you have a Pixel device already, just make sure you're rooted.
The new app is fittingly called Pixel Launcher Mods. It's not on the Play Store, but you can grab the latest version from XDA Labs. Head to the following link, then scroll down and select the "Releases" tab and tap the download link. Next, you'll need to sign into your XDA account — if you don't have one, you can sign up here.
Once signed in, select the "Releases" tab and tap the download link again. This time, the file will download. When it does, open it by tapping the "Download complete" notification, then press "Install" on the prompt.
To apply a new icon pack to your home screen, open Pixel Launcher Mods and select "Apply Icon Pack." From there, just make sure you have an icon pack app installed, then select it from this list. Note that many users are having issues with this feature now, but if all else fails, you can still apply icons on a per-app basis (more on that next).
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If you want to mix and match icon packs, or if the "Apply Icon Packs" setting 1 isn't working for you, start by tapping "Edit Icons & Labels." From here, select an app, then tap its icon on the popup menu. Next, choose "Icon Pack Icon," then select your icon pack and tap "Use (icon pack's) Picker." From there, find an appropriate icon and select it, then press "Apply" on the prompt in Pixel Launcher Mods.
The same menu depicted in Step 3 lets you change the names of your apps. Just select the app from the "Edit Icons & Labels" menu, but instead of tapping the icon, tap the name field and write in a new name. From there, just tap "Apply," then the app will have a new name wherever it appears on your home screen.
The last awesome feature added by Pixel Launcher Mods is the ability to resize widgets. This can really come in handy when you want to shrink a certain widget to fit it on a crowded home screen page, or if you want to expand a 4x1 widget to better fit a 5x5 home screen grid.
To try this out, you'll need to have the widget added somewhere to your home screen already. But be careful — if you're expanding a widget and there's not enough room, it will remove any adjacent widgets automatically. In that case, it's best to have the widget you're expanding on a home screen by itself temporarily.
Other than that, just head to "Resize Widgets" in the app's main menu, then select your widget from the list. From there, use the controls to adjust the widget width and height.
As you can see below, this feature works flawlessly. I find it really helpful for 4x1 widgets, which is a common size from years past when home screen grids were only 4x4, but looks out of place on today's 5x5 home screens.
All of these changes take effect on the fly, but if you experience any issues, you may want to take a quick trip to the "Options" menu inside the Pixel Launcher Mods app. In here, there are two settings worth noting: "Overwrite Adaptive Icons," which prevents conflicts with icon packs on newer phones, and "Apply icons when app updates," which is enabled by default and prevents a bug from occurring.
Overall, I think this is an awesome app. In just a few minutes, I was able to give my Pixel XL a complete makeover with Galaxy S8-style icons and perfectly-sized widgets. If you're interested in doing the opposite of that, check out our guide on turning your Galaxy S8 into a Pixel at the link below.
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