One of the major benefits of Android is extensive customization options. People on Android devices can change the default text, themes, or even the default launcher, by picking from some of the best in the business. While Nova Launcher often makes the news as the most popular third-party Android launcher, Smart Launcher has also emerged as a popular name in the segment. The developer’s latest update now adds a feature that even stock Android phones like the Pixel 7 don’t fully support yet — themed app icons for unsupported apps.
Google was found to be working on its own implementation of forced app icon theming with Android 13 QPR2 Beta 2 earlier this year. But as we found out a couple of months ago courtesy of Mishaal Rahman, this implementation is far from perfect right now. So if you’re still struggling to get all app icons to adapt to the system theme, Smart Launcher’s upcoming version 6.3 update is a decent option to check out.
The developers claim the new update will begin rolling out in Summer 2023, with no specific date provided. But since summer has technically begun, we shouldn’t be too far away from Smart Launcher version 6.3’s rollout. Among the notable features listed in the changelog is the launcher’s ability to apply a themed icon to any app icon on the device, even if the app’s developers haven’t enabled support yet.
Our favorite aspect here is that themed icons can come to practically any Android device using this custom launcher’s upcoming update. The Smart Launcher team shared a tweet to drive the point home, highlighting a Google Pixel 2 XL on Android 11 running themed app icons.
Here’s the entirety of the Smart Launcher v6.3 changelog:
- Introducing the new Weather widget, a multi-page widget that displays forecasts for today, the next few hours, and the upcoming days.
- Smart Launcher now offers full support for Themed icons. You will find a new icon pack called “Themed icons” in the icon appearance settings.
- Unlike Pixel Launcher, the Themed Icon appearance will be applied to any icon installed on your device, even those that do not natively feature a Themed Icon.
- Calendar event search: Search and find any event in your calendar within the next 365 days.
- App shortcuts are now available on the search page.
- File search: You can now search for local files. On Android 10, you can search for any file in any folder. However, on Android 11 and higher, the search is limited to media files due to Android API restrictions.
- Added a new home screen animation called “Explode.”
The developers also talk about Themed Widgets coming to the update, though it’s listed under experimental features. If you’d like to give it a try anyway, head over to the app’s Preferences menu and long-press Version info to toggle the “Themed Widgets” option within the dev options menu. Meanwhile, users can also hide contacts from their search page, while hidden contacts would see “their visibility highly decreased,” with the team adding that they won’t appear as suggestions or on the list after another contact.
A bug has also been squashed with version 6.3 of the launcher, specifically pertaining to filtering contacts in the search page based on frequency. Lastly, this update takes Smart Launcher to Android API level 33, a Google Play Store requirement for app developers.
Until Google offers a workable solution on its own, third-party launchers like Smart Launcher, Lawnchair, and others will continue to fill the space with their own offerings. Fortunately, the list of apps that support themed icons is constantly growing. We’ve found many third-party apps that support themed icons right now, while some Google apps have been picking up themed icons since Android 12, albeit slowly. There’s some hope that Google could be on course to offer a more refined themed app icon experience with the fall release of Android 14, which picked up its fourth beta recently.