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March 11, 2016

The New, Improved Apps Drawer

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

Not every Android device uses what I call “stock Android.” My Nexus phone and tablets do, which is where I first noticed the new, improved apps drawer. Odds are good, however, that your device may not have yet experienced this upgrade. In fact, my Samsung phones and tablets remain pretty consistent. Still, the new, improved apps drawer may be coming soon to a phone or tablet near you.

In Figure 1, you see the new, improved Apps drawer on my Nexus 9 tablet. The Nexus line of gizmos are Google’s flagship devices; they’re generally updated first.

Figure 1. The Apps drawer on my Nexus 9 tablet.

Figure 1. The Apps drawer on my Nexus 9 tablet.

The first thing to notice about the new, improved Apps drawer is that it’s one page that scrolls up-and-down. Other devices may use a paged Apps drawer, showing separate pages of apps, left-to-right.

The next thing to notice is the Search Apps text box atop the drawer. That’s amazing! With the Nexus 9, the apps are always listed in alphabetical order. Some Androids, however, sort the apps by how they were added. Or, like on my Samsung gizmos, the order is haphazard. Having a Search Apps text box is a great idea.

Below the Search Apps text box is a row of frequent apps. In Figure 1, you see six of the apps I use the most on my Nexus 9 tablet. These apps are already on the tablet’s Home screen. Still, it’s nifty that your Android lets you see which apps you use the most. That info can help you organize things, or at least draw attention to the way you use your Android.

The final improvement is difficult to see in Figure 1. It’s that blue-green thumb tab just to right of the frequent apps list. That’s an index button, similar to the one found in the Contacts app: Drag the button up or down to see the an A-to-Z index, which helps you quickly scroll to a given app.

I’m not sure when this change will be adopted by other Android device manufacturers, or whether it will ever be included in any update. I do think that other manufacturers could learn from what Google had done with the new, improved Apps drawer. These modifications are simple and elegant, and they get to the goal of using the Apps drawer: To find a given app quickly and efficiently.

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