Nova Launcher 101: How to Add Any Widget to Android Oreo's Expanded Dock

How to Add Any Widget to Android Oreo's Expanded Dock

Nova Launcher continues to push the boundary of features available to home screen launchers. While most users are waiting for their OEMs to send out the Android 8.0 update, Nova provides access to many of Android Oreo's features to the 99.8% of devices currently using an older version. However, Nova tries not only to add new features but to improve their design.

A few weeks back, TelsaCoil Software released an update that added the search widget to the dock as found on the Pixel 2 lineup. Unlike the stock launcher with the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, Nova made the search widget optional so you could stick with the older dock design if you wanted. But now, they've improved on this feature by increasing the available widgets that can be placed in this position, so any 4 x 1 widget can be added to the expanded dock for easy access.

Step 1: Enable Unknown Sources

This new feature is still in beta, and the easiest way to get the latest Nova beta is to sideload the update. So head to the security menu in your phone's main Settings, which may be labeled "Security" or combined with another option (e.g., "Fingerprint & Security"), depending on your OEM skin. From there, enable the "Unknown Sources" option, and you'll now be ready to sideload the Nova beta update.

Step 2: Download Nova Launcher Beta

The new customizable expanded dock features require Nova Launcher beta 5.5 or higher, which is available for download on the developer's official website. Use the link below to grab the APK installer file, then tap the Download complete notification and press "Install" when prompted.

Step 3: Enable the Search Widget in the Dock

Once installed, open up Nova Launcher and long-press any empty space on the home screen. From there, choose "Settings," then select "Dock" and choose the "Searchbar in dock" option. At this point, Nova will present you with two choices for the placement of the search bar.

If you wish to replicate the look of the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, choose "Below icons." However, if you want your new widget above the current icons found in the dock, choose "Above icons." Once selected, return to the home screen to see the newly expanded dock with the search widget.

Step 4: Customize the Widget

By default, a Google search widget will now be placed in the newly-expanded dock, but you can use any widget of your choosing. So long-press the search widget to bring up a sub-menu, then select the "Replace" option.

Nova will present you with a list of all available 4 x 1 widgets from apps installed on your device. Select the widget you wish to use and Nova will replace the search widget with your new choice.

Nova continues to lead the charge with its home screen launcher by adding the latest features of Android. Nova's quick ability to not only add new features but include additional functionality is one of the main reasons it made the top spot on our home screen launcher comparison. What widget are you using now in your dock? Leave us a comment below.

Cover image and screenshots by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

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