Nova Launcher is a highly customizable home screen manager and one of the best alternatives to Google pixel launcher. Nova launcher aims at adopting features from the stock Google pixel launcher and providing more customization options which are not available on Pixel launcher. 
Google had adopted a new look in its Pixel launcher, adding the popular search bar in the dock section of it recent update and many other features, some of which hasn’t been included in Nova launcher

What’s New In Nova Launcher 5.5-beta 3?

  • The search bar in the dock (Nova Settings – Dock – Search bar in the dock – Above or Below Icons)
  • Android 8.1 style popup menu (Nova Settings – Look and Feel – Popup menu – Blocks)
  • Adaptive icon animations during drag and drop
  • Improved speed of applying a new adaptive icon shape or icon theme
  • Lots of under the hood fixes and optimizations

Nova launcher has also brought many Oreo features like the block pop-up menu style and drop target(shows the position of an icon when dragging from one point to the other). This beta 3 version of Nova launcher-5.5 may be unstable due to the current beta state. You can choose to wait until the final release of the app and then update from PlayStore. But, if you wish to try out the new features of Nova launcher now, sign up to become a beta tester in PlayStore and then update your app.

How to make Nova launcher look like Pixel 2 launcher

1. Setting up in “Desktop” Settings

The first option in Nova launcher settings is the best “Desktop” settings. We’re going to tweak this option to disable the app label, adjust padding and turn off page indicator to give it Pixel 2 launcher feel. In Nova launcher “Desktop” settings, apply the following.
  • Desktop Grid: Change this to 5 rows by 4 columns. Tap “Done.”
  • Icon Layout: Change the size to 120% and disable the “Label” option.
  • Width Padding: Set this to “Medium.”
  • Height Padding: Set this to “Medium.”
  • Search Bar Style: Select the white oval (i.e. the first option under “Bar Style”). Scroll down to “Logo Style” and select the coloured “G” logo.
  • Scroll Effect: Set this to “Simple”. Then tap “Done”.
  • Page Indicator: Set this to “None.”

2. Customising App & Widget Drawers

Head to App & widget drawer which is the second option in Nova Launcher Settings. We’re going to enable the “Swipe up” gesture to open the app drawer as seen in Pixel 2 launcher. Navigate to the App & widget drawer menu and change the following…
  • Drawer App Grid: Set to your desired, depending on your screen res but to make it simple use 5 rows by 5 columns. 
  • Icon Layout: Change the size to 120% and set the Label to “Condensed.” Tick the bar to turn on “Single Line.”
  • Frequently Used Apps: Toggle this On.
  • App Drawer: Set this to “Vertical.”
  • Card Background: Turn this off.
  • Swipe to Open: Toggle this On.
  • Swipe Indicator: Toggle this On.
  • Background: Make this white and set the Transparency to 0%. 
  • Enable Fast Scrollbar: Toggle this On.
  • Scroll Accent Color: Set it to teal (it’s the first option in the fourth row).
  • Search Bar: Toggle this On.
  • Scroll Effect: Set this to “Simple.” Then tap “Done.”

3. Tweaking Dock Settings

Now, in the dock settings we’ll be adding Pixel docked search bar features and make our home screen look a lot more like Pixel.

 

  • Dock Background: Set the “Transparency” to 100%
  • Dock pages should be set at 1
  • Search bar in the dock: place below icons

4. Adding Pixel Folders

One of the features of Pixel launcher I like a lot is the grid folder. We can equally get a pixel like look by settings the folder properties in Nova launcher folder section as below.
  • Folder Preview: Set this to “Grid.”
  • Folder Background: Set this to “Pixel Launcher.”
  • Background: Set this to white, with a Transparency of 0%.
  • Icon Layout: Change the size to 120% and change the Label to “Condensed.”. Tick the bar to turn on “Single Line.”

5. Styling the Look & Feel

In the Look & feel section, we’ll be doing some tweaks. This section of the app actually deals with styling your icons…
  • Adaptive Icons: Toggle this On.
  • Adaptive Icon Shape: Set this to “Rounded” (Default).
  • Mask Legacy Icon: Toggle this On.
  • Pop-up menu style: Block 8.1 Oreo
  • Drop target: enable
If you’re not running lollipop and above, then the above option won’t be available. So, alternatively, you can use Pixel icon pack to get the rounded icons. Once you’ve installed pixel icon pack, head into the “Look & Feel” menu in Nova settings and do as below…
  • Icon Theme: Choose “Pixel Icon Pack.”

6. Apply dots in Notification Badge

Lastly, we’ll be adding Oreo style notification bar. On Nova settings, the main page, scroll down and select Notifications. You’ll find three options but we’re concerned about the dots.
  • Change The Style: Set this to “Dots.”
  • Position and Size: Select your preferred position and set the size to large.
Useful Tips: In the settings option, locate night mode and then enable it. Set the mode to automatic and enable all options below(folder, icon, drawer etc)
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