How to Get Android 4.4 KitKat Launcher On Your Android Smartphone

Last week Google finally announced Android 4.4 KitKat, and along with it was the brand new Nexus 5 smartphone, running a revamped home launcher and a brand new experience for Android users. We know many of you are eagerly waiting for KitKat to arrive for your Nexus devices, but for those who’d rather not wait we have the “experience” available now.

For those running devices that aren’t a Nexus, the wait for Android 4.4 KitKat will be pretty long as manufacturers get their skins updated for the new OS, and as a result, many might be waiting up to 3 months or longer before they receive it. However, those crafty folks over at XDA Developers pulled the KitKat Launcher and it’s now available for all. Below is a quick how to for those looking to give it a try today, instead of once an update arrives.

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 1.26.26 PM

Pulled from the LG Nexus 5, Google’s Home Launcher brings the entire look, feel, and Google Now experience to your device with ease. You’ll need to be on Android 4.1 or above, download a few key applications which are easy to sideload and install on your device, and then you’ll be up in no time.

Instructions

In order to get the Android 4.4 KitKat Launcher up and running you’ll need to download and install the three files below. We recommend doing this right from your Android device, so you can easily tap each download from the “Downloads” app on your phone and install each file directly over the current ones. You’ll be adding the Launcher (Google Home), replacing Google Now, and updating to the latest Google Play Services. All three are needed for the launcher to work correctly.

Download

KitKat Launcher

Google Now

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Google Play Services

Now before you click and install each one of these new application after you download them, you’ll need to enable your phone to install apps from unknown sources. Basically, this means you’ll allow apps to be sideloaded, instead of directly installed from the Google Play Store. It’s simple, and safe. Head into settings, then depending on device you’ll need to find the “Security” option. Select security and scroll down to “Unknown Sources” and check that box. This will enable installation of apps from unknown sources.

Check the box, then proceed to install Google Play Services from above, Google Now, then the KitKat Launcher which is also shown as Google Home.

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Once you’ve enabled unknown sources and installed all three files from the download links above, you’re all set and ready to go. From here you’ll enjoy the latest Google Home Launcher. A quick swipe to the left and Google Now opens, and adding new homescreen pages is as simply as dragging an app to another page. Now add all your favorite weather and sports widgets, and you’re set.

Some have started Google Voice (Now) having issues and crashing. Users are directed to head into Google Now and change the default language to something other than English, then back to English to solve the odd issue.

Read: Nexus 5 Unboxing Video

For those not willing to download unknown files and risk causing issues to their device (don’t blame us) we’re expecting Google to update these apps and make them available in the Play Store eventually, but there’s no promise of that at this time. Remember if you hit home and select the default launcher instead of the new one, you can always reset this back to default in settings > Applications > and find the launcher.

Enjoy!

Comments

  1. Ibrahim says

    Cool the new launcher looks great. I installed it on the Nexus 4 but the bars are still black and not translucent. Oh well…

  2. Tony says

    I can’t get my google voice to work…I changed the language twice and still crashes on my GS4…any ideas???

    • Ibrahim says

      It didn’t work for me at first then the next day it started working. Strange. Though I noticed it thrashes the battery so I turned off the feature.

  3. Cristo says

    Work great, except that the shortcuts for apps stored on the SD card disappear after each reboot… Any solution?

  4. Christopher Jefferson (Chris) says

    The Google play services app will NOT install on my 2012 nexus 7. I am running a ROM. It’s PSX 4.3.1. The other files I install fine. Also. My N4 installed fine but Google now had major issues. It was running a ROM called vanir ROM. Its 4.3.1 too. I can’t say for sure but could this be a tegra 3 issue causing install problems? Wish goiglke would get off ttheir asses and ota 4.4! Or at least the Google launcher.

    • Ibrahim says

      Yeah I had that problem as well. What worked for me is uninstall the previous Google Play Services (it will just uninstall the updates back to version 3.1) then kill the app if it’s still running and install the new Play Service.

  5. James Welbes says

    everytime I hit home, and select the new launcher, it says unfortunately google search has stopped working. any fix?

    i cleared data on launcher, play store, and search. no fix.

    • Ibrahim says

      Go to your apps on the old launcher and launch Google Settings. Change the default language on Google Search and see if you still have the same problem.

      • Guilherme says

        I have the same problem! I tried to change my default language, but it didn’t work. Any other fix idea?

        • Ibrahim says

          Hey Guilherme. Follow the link to the XDA Forum in the article. In the first post on the forum you’ll find text in blue that gives you an extra file to solve some fierce close (FC) issues. Hope it works for you.

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