The App Drawer might be going away in Android N
Android and iOS differ in one very noticeable way in terms of their interfaces: Android has an App Drawer that lets users keep apps tucked away and off their home screens. But now a recent video of Google Maps has Android users upset because the App Drawer seems to be missing from Android N.
Is Google finally going to remove the App Drawer from Android?
Kellex reports for Droid Life:
Yesterday, Google posted a tweet through the Google Maps Twitter account that has Android enthusiasts going a big nuts, all because the video included shows a Nexus 6P without an app drawer. Seriously, lots of people are freaking out because this phone doesn’t have an app drawer. I don’t know that I’m ready to freak out just yet without knowing the full story, but it is worth talking about.
Why are people making a big deal of this? For a couple of reasons. First, it has been rumored off and on for a couple of months that the next version of Android may not have an app drawer. Assuming this video isn’t just a bad mock-up that wasn’t meant to confuse the world, yet is, then we could be looking into the future here.
Second, Android has had an app drawer since day one, so potentially killing it off in favor of Apple’s really shitty app jukebox approach where all of your installed apps get spammed onto home screens, is a big deal. It would be terrible, if I’m being honest. The app drawer has always provided a form of organization that was used to easily jump into specific apps. In fact, the app drawer that arrived around the time of Marshmallow, that included recently used apps at the top, search, vertical scrolling, and quick scrolling between letters is an awesome implementation of the app drawer.
If Google is killing the app drawer as we know it, hopefully, they have something else in store that will help you quickly get to the apps you need without just scrolling through pages of apps on your home screen or by forcing you into foldering it all up. Maybe the app experience will become contextual or based on favorites or most used or recently used. Maybe there will be a swipe-out panel of some sort.
As you might imagine, the article on Droid Life spawned a large thread in the comments section. Android users there were not shy about sharing their thoughts about Google possibly removing the App Drawer in Android N:
Mcdonsco: "Please Google, don't ditch the app drawer! That's what I hate most about iOS, endless app icons across the home screens!"
New Guy: "The Apple home screen is an eye-sore. I'm very OCD when it comes to my home screen and think I'd scream if I had to deal with 100 icons splayed over it. Dear God, do not let this happen..."
Captain Invisible: "Those two things are not necessarily the same. IF Google ditches the app drawer, they could have a better way to organize your apps, than with an app drawer, where every single icon (even icons for keyboards...) is shoved in. If the OS gets smarter, and hides the stuff you have no use for, it would IMO be a better solution, if the implementation is done right."
Mr Sonic Boom: "I personally have the home button assigned to the app draw. I would love it if google went that route."
Great Dude: "The problem here is that an app drawer won't exist not even by swiping. Thank god for having launchers. Still I hope Google would still have the drawer."
Joe: "Maybe Google's going with edge gestures to open the drawer too. That's what Nova launcher (as you've said), Ubuntu Touch and Sailfish OS do. Despite phablets being the norm nowadays, their screens are still relatively small compared to PCs."
Alberteezy: "The only thing what I do hate when Google does changes is they don't leave the old options. For example why remove swipe up to google now? Why not give me an option if I want to slide up or swipe left. Same if the app drawer ends up removed. Give me an option if I want it removed or not. This does worry me a bit since I think it's the G5 that no longer has and app drawer and the Nextbit phone as well. 'Be Together, Not The Same'"
Thaddeus Brown: "Really....people are freaking out over this? With custom launchers and hell even gesture controls you'll be able to make your pretty little Android do what ever it is you want it to do haha. I already don't use a app drawer icon and just double tap the home screen to launch it."
GeekListTV: "Don't see the big deal, just because it doesn't have a app drawer doesn't make if a "iOS Clone". I can name 1000 things that even without a app drawer that Android does and has over iOS."
Duke69111: "Android getting rid of the app drawer is a horrible idea in my opinion."
Sholling: "The loss of the app drawer is a major reason why I chose to go with an S7 over a G5. I like using folders (especially LG's implementation in the G4) but I don't want to have to spend the first day my new phone organizing my apps. I just want to get it up and running with my essential apps making it usable and then dot all the "I"s and cross all the "T"s with my other apps as time allows and an app drawer makes that easy. It's also hard to select and use widgets without an app drawer and I use widgets."