6 tips for the Galaxy S8's new launcher

Samsung made some significant changes to navigating the Galaxy S8's interface. Here's what you need to know.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read
Watch this: Is the Samsung Galaxy S8 the fastest phone right now?

Samsung's Galaxy S8 ships with some software tweaks that will force diehard Samsung users to relearn common tasks, such as opening the app drawer. Let's take a look at some of the changes, and in some cases, how to revert to the Samsung's old ways.

Notice the apps button is gone?

Jason Cipriani/CNET

You can bring it back, but you may not want to in the end. With the apps button removed, you can add an extra app to the dock on your Galaxy S8.

If having five icons in the dock just isn't your speed, add the Apps Button back with a long-press on the home screen and then tap Home screen settings > Apps Button > Show Apps Button.

Keep in mind, adding the Apps Button back to the dock does not disable the ability to swipe up or down on a home screen to open the app drawer.

A swipe is all you need

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Instead of the apps button, Samsung now uses a swipe up or down on any home screen to open the app drawer. In the app drawer, a horizontal swipe will cycle through pages of installed apps. A vertical swipe will take you back to the home screen.

Once you adjust to the new method, it becomes second nature. Trust us.

iOS converts, this one is for you

Jason Cipriani/CNET

For those switching from an iPhone to Android, welcome! Adjusting to having apps in an app drawer, with shortcuts on a home screen can be confusing.

For the first time, Samsung is giving users the option to ditch an app drawer and lay it all out on the home screen.

Long-press on the home screen, tap Home screen settings > Home screen layout > Home screen only.

An alert will show up, letting you know your current layout will vanish, never to return.

Managing apps

Jason Cipriani/CNET

For as long as I can remember, Android handled the management of apps with a long-press on the app icon then dragging it to a label at the top of the screen; whether it was to remove the app from the home screen, uninstall it, or some other task.

With the Galaxy S8, Samsung has changed how you manage apps.

Long-press on an app and a small card with the same actions, plus a couple of extra, will pop up. For system apps, the list of options may include moving it to the home screen, remove a shortcut, or disable the app. For third-party apps, the same options are present, but disable is replaced by uninstall.

So long Flipboard

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Previously, the spot to the left of your home screen has been reserved for news app Flipboard. That's now gone, replaced with Bixby Home.

Bixby Home contains a series of cards, curated using various methods, including who you contact at specific times, news updates, step totals, and so on.

With a dedicated button to launch Bixby, is there a need to have it on the home screen as well? A short press of the button will start Bixby Home, regardless of what screen you're using. (Holding in the Bixby button for a brief moment will, eventually, launch Bixby Voice.)

Disable Bixby Home's presence on the home screen with a long-press on your home screen, swipe to the right until you find Bixby Home, and move the switch to the Off position.

Auto-align icons

Jason Cipriani/CNET

The ability to place app icons wherever you want on a home screen has always been a feature touted by Android fans as superior to iOS's strict layout requirements.

With the Galaxy S8, Samsung is giving you the best of both worlds in a sense. You can still place app icons wherever you please, or you can auto-align icons on a specific home screen.

Long-press on a home screen, then tap on either align button at the top or bottom of the screen. Naturally, the button corresponds with where the app icons will be moved on your behalf.