Here’s how to get the Google Now Launcher on any Android phone or tablet

by Robert Nazarian on
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 Google_Now_Launcher_Installed_01

The Google Now Launcher (aka Google Experience Launcher) was initially limited to just the Nexus 5, but Google opened it up to more devices a couple of days ago by releasing it in the Play Store. Unfortunately, that “opening up” only meant Nexus or Google Play Edition (GPE) devices. Very cool devices indeed, but not all that popular. If you’re feeling left out in the cold, don’t fret because you can still get it for you phone or tablet with ease. The best part of it is there are no major stipulations like having to be rooted. However, you will need to be running KitKat for this method or it will not install. If you are, jump past the break to get started.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the latest version of Google Search on your device. This app gets updated directly from Google, so chances are that you do. At the time of this post, the latest version is 3.2.17.1009776, so if you reading this months later, as long as your version number is at or greater, than you should be all set. In order to check what version you are on, it’s pretty simple. Go to Settings/Apps (Note: Samsung users will find “Application Manager” under the “More” tab in the main settings page) and either tab or swipe over to “All”. Scroll down to “Google Search” and tap on it. You will see the version number at the top.

Settings_Apps_Google_Search_01Settings_Apps_Google_Search_02

Next up is to make sure that your device will allow installation of third party apps (not directly from the Play Store). To do this, just go to Settings/Security and scroll down to “Unknown Sources.” Just make sure it’s checked. On Samsung devices, depending on what version of Android you are running, you will most likely need to tap on the “More” tab in the main settings menu to find “Security.”

 Settings_Security_Unknown_Sources_01

Now it’s time to download the APK and install it. The easiest thing to do is just download it directly to your phone or tablet. Just go to this link on your device’s browser (preferably Chrome) and tap on the smaller “download” box.

Download_Google_Now_Launcher_02

It will most likely open a new browser tab and you will get a warning, “This type of file can harm your device. Do you want to keep mobogenie_1541.apk?” tap on cancel and hit the back button. You will then get another message: “This type of file can harm your device. Do you want to keep Google Now Launcher 1.0.9.1039417.apk anyway?” Tap on OK to download.

Download_Google_Now_Launcher_03

The download will begin and you will see the download arrow in your notifications. Swipe down to see the download progress. Once downloaded, it will say “Download complete” just below it. Now just tap on it and accept the install. Note: you will get a parse error if you try to install this APK on a device running any version of Android lower than 4.4 KitKat.

Installing_Google_Now_Launcher_APK_01

You can also download the apk on your desktop, but you will have to transfer the file to your device. You can do that via USB, WiFi, or with something like Dropbox or Google Drive. Once installed, click on “Open.”

Installing_Google_Now_Launcher_APK_02

You will then be given a chance to opt in to Google Now if you haven’t already. After you accept that, you can also choose to have your current icons and folders (on your present home screen) transfer to the Google Now Launcher. If you want to keep them, just tap on “Copy Icons.” If you want to start from scratch, just tap on “Start from scratch.”

Installing_Google_Now_Launcher_APK_03

You now have the Google Now Launcher on your non Nexus or GPE device. However, it isn’t the default yet. Just hit the home key once. and you will get a prompt asking you which launcher you want to use, the Google Now Launcher or whatever your stock launcher is called. Just tap on “Google Now Launcher” and then tap on “Always.” The Google Now Launcher is now your full blown default launcher. That wasn’t hard was it?

If you find that you don’t like the Google Now Launcher and you would like to revert back to stock, just go to Settings/Apps (Settings/ More tab / Application Manager on Samsung devices) and scroll down to ” Google Now Launcher.” Tap on it and you should see “Clear Defaults” Just tap on that, and when you hit the Home button again, it will give you the chance to select your default launcher again. If “Clear Defaults” is greyed out, you will have to uninstall it. Just tap “Uninstall” at the top. Once uninstalled, your stock launcher will automatically be back as the default.

So that’s it, pretty simple right? Now if you want to learn more about the ins and outs of the Google Now Launcher, be sure to check out our guide. Let us know what you think of the Google Now Launcher after you play with it a bit.

» See more articles by Robert Nazarian


  • Alan Goldman

    parsing error on lg g2

    • Rosalvo

      Parsing error on s4

  • Karan Navani

    Parsing error on S4

    • Rahman Shaukat

      Update google voice and try again.

  • RobertNazarian

    As I mentioned in my post, you have to be running KitKat for it to install.

    • Rahman Shaukat

      You are wrong. I just installed it on tmobile note 3 running jellybean

    • Mihaita Tatarusanu

      Really? So what’s the purpose of installing it if you already have kitkat????

      • Kevin Bartolome

        To have a better launcher than your ROM’s default launcher.

        • Mihaita Tatarusanu

          You obviously don’t have a phone with kitkat. The kitkat’s launcher is the one othera can download. Therefore, if you have kitkat, you already have this launcher by default.

          • Kevin Bartolome

            Not really. Many device manufacturers like Samsung have their own launchers even though they run Kitkat. Like the Galaxy S5, it doesn’t include this launcher.

          • Link

            False. I’m running 4.4 on a Droid MAXX and this launcher is not stock. The Google Experience launcher is stock on nexus 5 and GPe 4.4 devices.

    • Skeletal Remains

      Then you should modify your title to “Any Android phone or tablet running KITKAT”

      • Dan Anderson

        …But that would severely limit the traffic his (misleading) title generates!

    • rob

      Yea you left out the fact that you need a kitkat device to run the apk you bastard. I missed like 5 minutes of the simpsons cause of you.

    • jones

      Fuck….struggled to get this downloaded, and the fuck says it needs to be kitkat…..fucking basturd

    • ronnie

      Do you have a link to download a notification for messages,call logs, etc.?if you have one.can you post it in your reply. Thank you! Nice tutorial btw. Got it working on my note 3.

  • Voldemort

    Worked on my Galaxy Note 3…. But I actually kinda prefer my native TouchWiz over the launcher. There’s not enough features or options… Thanks for the link.

  • Balaji

    Works for me on my HTC One, but it is not so attractive… Might switch back to Nova Launcher.

  • Mamatserdang

    Installed it on xperia p running c11. Got no problem with installation but i don’t like it. Back to default launcher.

  • Danish Ahmed

    I am not able to update Google search :-/
    I don’t have the option to update it in play store
    Installed the Google now launcher on my s4 and it says it requires a newer version of Google search. Help !

    • Rad

      You can get the apk online and sideload it… Google it.

  • George Jordan

    if this had come out a couple of months ago, my moto g would have got this as standard…

  • 2JZ_NOS

    Dev-Host is such a sh1tty hosting site.

  • Alex Medina

    Will it update by itself

  • J.D.

    Since this is not available for any android device other than those running KitKat you really need to change your misleading title

  • manjeet prajapati

    I tried this on MOTO G, downloaded and installed successfully but after this while opening it, It asks for latest version of google search, but my phone is already with latest version, please solve it

  • Vivek

    Thanks a ton.. Its working on my Moto G. But interface is not good.

  • Jason Birdsong

    It works awesome on my LG G2 and I like it. It makes the apps bigger. And OK Google at the home screen is 100% I will be downloading this on my nexus 7 next. Thanks a ton. I have already told all my G2 buddies about this!

    • Kyle Gustafson

      Any further issues on the G2?

  • http://liveinalux.com/ mankulito

    how about updates?

  • Anurag

    I’m gettin a parsing error everytime.. i hv galaxy s4

  • Av

    “Parsing error ” it can only run on kitkat.. this is fake information that it can run in any android device lower than 4.4

  • MC Wong

    Google now has been identified to cause my nexus 4 to freeze and requires pursuing the power button for 20 seconds. When I switched to another launcher the problem disappears. The minute I switched back to Now launcher, the phone can’t be awakened when it sleeps and needs a hard reset. I have to permanently use another launcher.

  • k brooks

    The download link is a con. Starts downloading some shifty poker app.
    AVOID.

    • Neil Thompson

      are you an idiot? He shows clearly in the instructions which of the download links is the real one versus all of the ones that are paid for ads. That’s the way these host sites work. Geez

      • k brooks

        Your right I didnt read it properly. Downloaded the right one now. Thanks for pointing it out.

    • Jacques de Grey

      Learn to read muppet!

  • Henry Yandun

    I know it’s been months since this was posted, but I just tried it. The app downloads just fine, but after installing it asks me to get the newest version of google search. I AM running the latest version of search (3.5.16…) so I suppose I need to get the latest Google Now Launcher app. Could someone direct me to that link? Or tell me how to update my already installed app?

    P. S.: I will look for it just after posting this, I won’t really wait for someone to do the searching for me, I am asking for everybody else who, like me, got (or rather, will get) here looking for the app. Another stop in the already bothersome step to get the launcher. If I do find it, I will post it here, but it is always useful to have more options than just one link (maybe different download sources or methods to get the app (like how to update it). This post is here also so that the next guy gets some time and trouble saved by us telling him the link in this article is not the most straightforward way (from here) to get the app or it won’t actually work because of its outdated nature.