The latest Smart Launcher update brings themed icons to any Android phone

One of the main advantages of Android is the extensive customization options. People on Android devices can change the default text, themes, or even the default launcher, choosing from some of the best in the business. While Nova Launcher often makes headlines as the most popular third-party Android launcher, Smart start has also emerged as a popular name in the segment. The latest developer update now adds a feature that even stock Android phones like the Pixel 7 still don’t fully support: themed app icons for unsupported apps.

It turned out that Google was working on its own implementation of the forced app icon theme with Android 13 QPR2 Beta 2 earlier this year. But as we discovered a couple of months ago courtesy of Mishaal Rahman, this implementation is far from perfect right now. So, if you are still struggling to make all your app icons fit the system theme, the upcoming Smart Launcher version 6.3 update is a decent option to check out.

The developers say the new update will start rolling out in the summer of 2023, with no specific date given. But since summer has technically begun, we shouldn’t be too far away from the launch of version 6.3 of Smart Launcher. 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 developers haven’t enabled support yet.

Our favorite aspect here is that themed icons can come to just about any Android device using the upcoming update to this custom launcher. The Smart Launcher team shared a file tweets to drive the point home, by highlighting a Google Pixel 2 XL on Android 11 with themed app icons.

Smart Start v6-3-Pixel 2XL

Here is the entire Smart Launcher v6.3 changelog:

  • Introducing the new Weather Widget, a multi-page widget that displays the forecast for today, the next few hours, and the next few days.
  • Smart Launcher now offers full support for themed icons. You will find a new icon pack called “Theme Icons” in the Icon Appearance settings.
  • Unlike Pixel Launcher, the themed icon look will be applied to any icon installed on your device, even those that don’t have a themed icon natively.
  • Calendar Event Search: Search and find any event in your calendar within the next 365 days.
  • App links 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 later, 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 with the update, although they are listed under experimental features. If you still want to give it a try, go to the app’s Preferences menu and long-press Version information to enable or disable the “Theme Widgets” option in the developer options menu. Meanwhile, users can also hide contacts from their search page, while hidden contacts would see “their visibility greatly reduced”, with the team adding that they won’t appear as suggestions or in the list after another contact.

A bug has also been eliminated with version 6.3 of the launcher, relating in particular to the filtering of contacts on the search page based on frequency. Finally, this update brings Smart Launcher to Android API level 33, a requirement of the Google Play Store for app developers.

Until Google offers a viable solution on its own, third-party launchers like Smart Launcher, Lawnchair, and others will continue to fill the space with their own offerings. Luckily, the list of apps that support themed icons is constantly growing. We’ve found many third-party apps supporting 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 may be well on its way to delivering a more polished themed app icon experience with the fall release of Android 14, which recently picked up its fourth beta.

Thank you: Mishaal

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