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Occasional Contributor

Hi Microsoft Launcher users!

 

Today we're releasing a Microsoft Launcher "Preview" to the Google Play Store. You can call it an "alpha" version if you will. This version is a Microsoft Launcher that's built on an improved codebase and has several new features that we're looking at bringing to market (plus perf benefits!). Some of these features (like landscape mode) are very core to the Launcher experience so we're looking to get early feedback from brave fans that are OK with installing a potentially unstable version on their phones. You can file bugs through the app itself or you can share here!

 

MICROSOFT LAUNCHER PREVIEW FEATURES

Give your phone a new look
• Personalize your apps with custom icon packs, and use adaptive icons to give your phone a consistent look and feel.
• Enjoy Bing daily images as your wallpaper, or use your own photos.

Dark Theme
• Microsoft Launcher supports Dark theme for your viewing pleasure. Select dark theme for comfort of use at night or in low light environments. This feature is compatible with Android phone’s dark mode settings. 


Landscape mode
• Microsoft Launcher now supports vertical and horizontal orientations to enhance your viewing preference.

 

For those ready for an adventure, please go here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.launcher.zan

 

We'd love your feedback and we thank you for your support!

211 Comments
Regular Contributor
@weizhong_xue I tried installing the Preview, but it keeps crashing Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) Android 9 The Preview (Early Access) Launcher is installed beside the Beta of Launcher, 5.11.2.56323. App info indicates the Preview is 6.0.200101.73373. When I first started the Preview, it seemed to be starting the setup process, but once it crashed, it does not usually get past the Welcome screen. Once I was able to go through the setup process, but it crashed shortly after that and keeps crashing now. 1) During the short period where it worked, I could not find the Launcher settings. Normally, I could access Settings by pulling up the drawer and clicking on the gear icon that was exposed. There was no visible gear icon. 2) I was not able to find a way to select the Bing daily wallpaper, which was also mentioned by @HotCakeX. 3) Since I could not find settings, I pushed and held on the home screen to try to add pages, but did not see things like the Frequently used apps page. I was unable to send feedback through the app, since it keeps crashing, so I am posting these items here.
Occasional Contributor

@ms4132 Thanks for trying the preview build! I am sorry to hear that you ran into this issue. We've seen some similar issues reported and we are currently investigating the root cause. Please look for an update soon. 

Honored Contributor

@weizhong_xueHi, sticky notes written using hand writing on the new Microsoft launcher preview do not appear on the Windows 10 sticky note app (latest Windows update), Android 9.

 

they did finally appear and got synced after 1 day

 

 

 

Visitor

Installed it last night, and used it today for the first time.

Interface looks Good, but I miss some features already available in the 5.x versión (e.g. accessing the WiFi, plane mode, bluetooth, etc in the same way as in 5.x. I guess  that this is what betas are for :smile:

Haven't had a chance to play much with it, but interface looks fine, and pretty smooth and stable, altough it seems to have a higher battery cosumption than my previus launcher, but I need a few days in normal use to confirm it.

 

I come from a Motorola Moto G4plus with Android 7.0 and Google Now launcher, and it seems so far a pretty straightforward transition from one to another. Fluency is pretty similar to the Goggle Now. I May change to a non stock Android smartphone soon, and Microsoft launcher would give me (I hope) a seamless user experience regardless of the make of the new phone

I miss a good weather and time widget, but I solved it by downloading my old Google one.

Contributor

A bit clunky but what's expected from an Alpha build. Some of the features I'm missing /that I would like to see soon or that need fixed.:

  • Backup/Restore: I would like to pull the back up from he stable build to format my home screen/folders/layout etc
  • Folders in App Drawer are missing in the Preview build
  • Pull down gesture interferes with the pull down for notifications feature that is built in. It does not do this on the stable version
  • Pulling up the dock is cumbersome. Have to place your finger in an exact spot
  • New dark theme is great...but would like to see transparent theme as well.
  • Time line works! It has been missing in the stable version on my device for a long while. Even after a clean re-install
  • When sorting apps int he app drawer with the alphabetical list. Can you add the alphabet on the side so we can jump state to a letter section we want instead of scrolling?
  • Would be nice to have the option to add the widgets in dock. Like Bluetooth, wifi, brightness etc like the stable version. 
  • Under search settings, selecting where you want the search bar (top, bottom etc) does not force the search bar to lock in to the area selected
  • It would be nice to have a search settings option pop up when Tapping and holding on the search bar.
  • Multi select is missing when tapping and holding an icon. Multi select makes it so much easier to create folders quickly. 
  • The ability to individually format icons is missing in the alpha build.
  • The ability to add swipe and tap actions to folders is missing as well. Very useful feature. 
Occasional Visitor

Seems pretty smooth. 

 

No option for selecting Bing live wallpapers though that I can see. Only One Time Wallpaper option. 

 

Is the option to hide apps in the app drawer gone, or am I just overlooking it?

 

Great work. Been a fan since Arrow.

Occasional Contributor

@HotCakeX Thanks for reporting. I've just forwarded your issue to sticky notes experts on our team, and we'll investigate. Keep the feedback coming!

Occasional Contributor

@Exfat Thanks for trying the preview app! We are working hard to light up more experiences in upcoming updates. Keep the feedback coming.

Occasional Contributor

@Chef31684 Appreciate your detailed notes and using nearly all aspects of the app! We are working to light up more experiences. Stay tuned for upcoming updates! 

Occasional Contributor

@seven58o thanks for being a Microsoft Launcher fan! The hidden apps feature is in progress with some nice design improvements. Stay tuned for future updates. Keep the feedback coming our way.

Visitor
I really like the interface, pretty neat. What I really miss is the compatibility with the new navigation gesture of android 10
Occasional Visitor

Seems like the alpha is missing a few features available in the previous version of the launcher:

 

- while adding widgets it seems the variety of widget options  has been reduced.   i.e. - There are widget options that I used to have on the previous version of the launcher that have disappeared on the alpha version.  (Different sizes of widgets for instance)

- I also don't have the ability to resize and adjust padding on the widgets ---When adding multiple icons to a folder the apps are not sorted alphabetically... in fact I'm not sure what sort order they are in,it making it extremely difficult to find apps

Frequent Contributor

It says early access programme is full on play store

Frequent Visitor

Inking on sticky notes is "jagged" using note stylus, and a little rough, but it works. Keep up the good work!

 

Occasional Visitor

I can't reteive the backup made using  the previous version

 

Occasional Contributor
Tablet support please!
Honored Contributor

@PaulP1635I'm not surprised, because the code is different and everything is almost built from the ground up so it's normal the backups are incompatible at this point. plus there are many features missing so a backup of the previous launcher wouldn't be much useful :)

Honored Contributor

@Marc_Sjust out of curiosity, what happens when you try to install it on an Android tablet? it shows an error?

Microsoft

@mark , Tablet should be supported already, feel free to try it on a tablet.

@PaulP1635 , the backup restore feature is not available in the new alpha version yet. 

@Toddgutierrez we are still fine tune the Sticky Notes card, good to know you like it. 

@Maan2003 stay tuned for the vacant

@Favsob yes, there are still several feature missing in this Alpha version.

 @losaro glad you like it, Android 10 gesture is not open to 3rd party Launchers yet.

keep the feedback coming in, also feel free to ping us a post on our reddit community: https://www.reddit.com/r/microsoftlauncher/ 

 

 

 
Senior Member

Started using the preview as my main launcher a few days ago, I'm liking it and understand it's early days but just a few things I miss from the other version and things I've noticed.

 

Not having the vertical scroll option for home screen.

 

Not being able to edit individual app icons

 

The "M" and "W" in the alphabetical app drawer are cut off slightly

 

Adding a widget to the glance page, for me I added Google Calendar, and resizing it only works temporarily before it resorts back to its original size, possibly after restarting but not sure. 

New Contributor

Hello guys!

A suggestion for the new versions. How about, instead of adapting the colors of the icons when the user chooses the option to "leave the icons in the same shape", leave everyone with a white background?
Leave everyone in the same shape, but don't change the background color... some icons simply change completely when this option is applied. The dominant color of the icon becomes the background color and with this the format practically disappears, mixed with the background color. Leave the white background, as in microsoft or google apps.
So they're going to create a visual identity...

Occasional Contributor

I love the simplicity (with a steep relearning curve) of this newer launcher. Sadly Microsoft is approaching this wrong. Instead of getting the good stuff from the old launcher and porting it to the new design of the new launcher, they started from scratch.

Take for example, the bing wallpaper.

I understand the need for just two screens, but why give a blank vanila screen as the only other option? Why do you assume everyone wants that standard android homescreen? I love the timelines and feeds screen but the other screen is useless quite frankly.

On the old app we had as many as 8 screens to choose from! Why not bring back all those screens as options so that a user can pick which two they want?

You brought back the settings problem. Every time I update, the app, it forgets that it is the default launcher! The older version even in beta never had that problem.

For goodness sake, please learn about code reuse. You are the same company! This is going to become the onenote for Windows vs onenote 2019 debacle all over again! Get with the program. Learn design thinking. Find out what worked before and port it over.

Just because the new launcher now has landscape means it has a completely different codebase? That just shows me how bad your coders are not how difficult the app is. 

Senior Member

Also noticed that the last digit on the clock widget sometimes disappears for a little while.

 

And yes the launcher forgetting its default status is a little irritating 

Microsoft

@Tomlikescars , we are evaluating the user feedback on feature parity of V6 and V5, stay tuned. thanks for your feedback

@ggomes thanks for the suggestion, there is no change on the adaptive icon feature compare to V5, but your suggestion will be considered, thanks. 

@James Makumbi , can you have a screen shot about your 8 screen and blank vanilla screen suggestion ? for default launcher issue, we will investigate. 

@Tomlikescars , for the default launcher settings issue, can you share the device model and the android version? 

New Contributor

from the feed clicking on calendar entry doesnt load outlook

no wallpaper icon to change background

not getting notification badges for messages (other apps work fine)

Senior Member

@Gorden_Lin The default launcher issue happens on my Pixel 4XL running Android 10

Occasional Contributor

@Gorden_Lin 

Screenshot_20200124-102330.png

This is the screen selection of the previous version of launcher. Note the wide selection of preconfigured screens.

Screenshot_20200124-113125.png

Then note the travesty above where there are no screens. We can stick to two displays but let us have the functionality from the old version. 

Occasional Contributor

my timezone is CET +1 (Amsterdam). I use the 24 time notation. In the agenda feed time notation is 12. Is there a way to change this to 24h notation?

Occasional Contributor

@Gorden_Lin wrote:

Android 10 gesture is not open to 3rd party Launchers yet.


Actually, the latest Android 10 updates now do enable gestures for 3rd party launchers like Action Launcher, Nova, and Lawnchair. Practically no phones have the updates besides of the Google Pixel and OnePlus (according to comments on this AndroidPolice article), but it would be great if while Microsoft Launcher is doing a major update with a revamped codebase anyway, they ensure the interaction flow is compatible with Android 10 gestures once they're more widely rolled out. 

 

From my web searches, it appears a big issue with making 3rd party launchers compatible with gestures is that they have to add integration to the Recents view (the zoomed out app-switching view), as the launcher now controls what icons appear there. I hope the launcher can also control what search bar appears there, but can't find any info about that specifically. Also, it sounds like Google's implementation is still buggy, so maybe if Microsoft gets involved now they can help Google make the right decisions about what features the implementation needs to support. 

Occasional Contributor

Glad to see this update! I haven't been involved in awhile because despite following the Microsoft Launcher Beta Announcements page, I eventually forgot to keep checking because I got email notifications. I honestly subconsciously figured the Microsoft Launcher team had stopped responding to feedback, just because I never got any notifications.

 

Looking again closer now, I just discovered a "Subscribe" option in a dropdown arrow on that page, so maybe I'll get email notifications now about new posts? I'll have to wait and see I guess, my fingers are crossed... 

clipboard_image_1.png

Occasional Contributor

Some feedback from my initial install on my Samsung Galaxy S10e:

 

Likes

  • Dark Mode automatically activated, which presumably matched my phone theme setting
  • Dark Mode actually uses a lot of black so it's less blinding at night and saves more battery on my OLED screen, and looks awesome :stareyes:
  • Lots of features already even though it's a reworked codebase which presumably was a ton of work
  • Overall works very well for an alpha release
  • You guys keep seeking community feedback, despite the inevitable harsh comments, personal attacks, and inevitable vitriol :facepalm:

Areas for Improvement

  • Onboarding process
    • Allow importing icons/layout from old Microsoft Launcher (I assume you already planned this, but mentioning it for completeness)
    • "Pick your favorite apps" screen should list recently-used apps or alphabetize them, or add a "sort" button so I can pick how they're shown. On my phone, there appears to be no rhyme or reason to what apps it's showing me or in what order. For example, the Samsung Internet app and SAP Concur apps are near the top of the options, but I haven't used either one in months. And I use the Microsoft To Do app and Telegram app daily, but neither appears as an option until nearly the bottom of the list. 
  • Widgets
    • Many widgets aren't working at all for me even after a reboot
      • Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft To Do β, MyFitnessPal, and FireFox widgets all say "Sorry, there was a problem loading this widget." After a reboot some seem to start loading correctly and show some info, but after a few seconds they all change back to this error message. 
      • Default weather+clock widget, Bing and Vivaldi search bar widgets, and Bing rewards widgets seem to work okay.
    • After shrinking search bar widget, I can no longer resize it back to take up the full width of screen
      • I only have this problem when "Settings > Home screen > Icon layout and size > Show home screen padding" is disabled. So I think the issue is that when this option is on, users cannot drag far enough towards the edge of the screen to trigger the widget resize operation.
    • Also, currently there's no longer a selection for "+ padding" or "- padding" when long-clicking a widget. This is different from the option in settings for "Show home screen padding" which I also use. The "+/- padding" selection allowed me to make widgets expand to touch each other and expand to touch the very far left and right edges of the screen, maximizing screen real estate which is especially helpful for widgets like the Outlook and To Do apps, where the extra width lets you see another whole word in an appointment or task.
  • App drawer
    • Appears this can only be accessed if know to swipe up on home screen. I'm used to having a separate icon for this, and wouldn't have even known it existed without seeing it in the settings screen. 
    • When setting the Display Layout to "Alphabetical list", it would be nice if clicking a letter on the left opened a popup where I can click the desired letter of the alphabet to jump to. This matches a handy shortcut from the old Windows Phone app drawer :cool:
  • Folders on the homescreen
    • If I accidentally click a folder and want to close the folder popup view, I have to click on a blank spot on my homescreen. Unfortunately, I filled up all the blank spots on my homescreen with app icons, so I can't close the popup without clicking an app on the homescreen which then launches. On the old launcher, clicking anywhere on the homescreen outside the folder, or on a blank spot within the folder both cause the popup to disappear.
  • Settings
    • Dark theme
      • I personally miss the transparent theme which lets me see more of my wallpaper behind folders and in the "all apps" screen
      • Would be cool if could set different themes for different times, i.e. transparent theme during day and dark theme 7p-6a.
    • Home Screen > Allow Sub Grid
      • Changing option requires restarting the launcher immediately. If I accidentally clicked it and want to undo, then I have to restart launcher, go back into the settings to click it again, restart launcher again, and go back to settings again to play around with the other options. It would help if changing these types of settings affected a sort of generic layout preview like is shown at the top of the "Icon layout and size" screen, and if we just saw a popup notice when clicking a setting that requires a restart, rather than immediately requiring the restart
    • Home Screen > Icon layout and size
      • What does "Show single label" option do? I don't see it causing any change
    • Search > Search bar > Search bar placement
      • There's no longer an option to make search bar appear in the placed area (e.g. "Show on top") on all home app screens. Now this setting affects only the search bar on the primary home screen
Microsoft

@gemidriver , thanks for the comments,  the first one I've already filed to test team to verify if it is a bug. wallpaper feature is still finishing. the last one, please makes sure you grant Launcher the system notification service permission, you can check out the settings page for notification in Launcher. 

Microsoft

@James Makumbi ic your point, the feature page feature is not finished yet, stay tuned. 

Microsoft

@rob_de_rijk thanks, escalated to test team for this issue.

Microsoft

@Nukmicah thanks for your info, we will consider this in our development process. and we've also set up a community in reddit, which is in parallel to Microsoft TechCommunity forum, feel free to register both. 

Microsoft

@Nukmicah thanks for your detail feedback regarding to the preview version. 

  • thanks for your encouragement, we are rely on beta users like you to make our product better and improve the experience future
  • for FRE app pick up, we have the similar feedback, we'll see how we can improve here. 
  • for widgets, I've escalate the several issues mentioned in your first bullet point to test team for repro. the padding feature is still in discussion though.
  • we removed app drawer icon in this version, still in progress of collecting user feedback on this. for the alphabetic design change, will discuss with design team.
  • folder dismiss and sub grid suggestion are very good caught, thanks for pointing out, we will evaluate. 
  • "show single label" might be "show single line of label", it switch to enable one line or two line of app title display, the wording scan is not finished yet. stay tuned. 
  • in this version to make search bar placement align with widget, we consolidate the search bar and search bar widget into one. 
Senior Member

Running the preview launcher on a Google Pixel 3 with Android 10. Overall the launcher is performing well for an Alpha version. One issue that I have is that notification badges will not show for both Messages and Outlook. All other apps display badges correctly. I have confirmed that Launcher has system notifications on, also have confirmed that both Messages and Outlook have notifications and notification dots enabled. Thank you and keep up the good work!

Occasional Visitor

Gave it a spritz myself, I won't be using as my main launcher until either I can import my old MS Launcher settings and layouts, or have time to fluff about with it manually one by one, I did rather a large amount of tweaking so it'll take some time.

 

What I do like the idea of, is landscape, so I am eager for some easier way to port in old launcher settings, and tweak to fit a landscape, as a note10+ user, that sticky note thing sounds might tempting and useful.

New Contributor

@Gorden_Lin 

i have allowed all i can for launcher in permissions

what else do you mean by this?

please makes sure you grant Launcher the system notification service permission, you can check out the settings page for notification in Launcher. 

 

any details, or screenshots?

Frequent Contributor

In the current production version, there seems to be a limit on how many calendars you can sync  I sync 5. One Live, one Exchange and 3 Office 365 calendars. 

Microsoft

@Robert78P @gemidriver , the issue reported for the notification is well received, discuss with developer on further investigation. 

@SosiKokeilu the importing of v5 setting will be in the final version. 

@RG_Durishin good to see you again:), I did not aware the limitation on total calendars user can sync. I can double check on this. 

Visitor

Great work on this new launcher. I have been submitting Feedback through the app. 

 

When will an update be released?

Deleted
Not applicable

@Gorden_Lin @weizhong_xue   

Really like the Preview launcher so far, hoping an update will be released soon.  Keep up the good work.

 

I believe these have been reported but just in case:

- Initial install of launcher requires multiple attempts to set it as default launcher and/or restart phone for it to "stick". Using Pixel 3 XL.

- After restart my Glance feed customizations are lost. The order of my cards and cards I had hidden are reset to defaults.

- Sticky notes not syncing

- Hoping "Continue on PC" and "Restart Launcher" features re-added soon :)

- Wish list - I would love to see an option where apps that appear on home screen or dock are suppressed/hidden from app drawer (similar to Action Launcher).

 

Senior Member

Thank you for the preview opportunity. However, here are my few observations:

1) No daily Bing wallpaper refresh.

2) The news feed has stopped refreshing.

3) The dock should be reworked.

Senior Member

Hi there,

Isnt à preview of an app suppose to be actualized regulary? I mean, more than a bêta, or a full version ...

Nothing new since January 16 is a little disappointing :(

Microsoft

@Shidiwen the new version  was delayed a bit and we are working on that, stay tuned. 

@eryzky thanks for the feedback, the wallpaper feature is not finished yet, the dock was redesigned to simplify the overall structure, let us know your feedback on it. news feed should not stop refreshing, is it stop refresh for a while or for all the time?

@Deleted the restart feed issue/default launcher seems like a bug we will take a look, feature set in Preview version is not mapping to existing PlayStore version and we will adjust feature set base on user feedback along the way.

@j0urn3y thanks for your patient and stay tuned for the new update. 

Senior Member

Awesome :) Can't wait!

Always loved the Bing wallpaper everyday, waiting for its comeback on Preview because even the Bing app didnt help me with that :)

Regular Visitor

Pretty good so far. Things I am missing or have noticed. Needs a different way to access the launcher settings. Currently have to swipe two pages over to press and hold an empty space. Really liked the people widget as a speed dial/text for my favorites. Needs the option to edit icons and icon text. Some widgets have width and height adjustment while my moto time an weather only has width. I really like the larger/easier to read fonts on the cards. The dock icon size does not really match the homepage icon size like the previous version. Love ms launcher been using since arrow. Keep up the good work. 

Senior Member

@Gorden_Lin, the news and glance feeds work as soon as I launch MS launcher preview. But they stopped refreshing after a while all together making forcing me to go back to the regular MS launcher.