With Android, nearly everything is customizable. However, you may have experienced difficulty removing the persistent Google Search Bar. No matter where you look, you won’t find the ability to remove this feature. Prior to the release of Google Now, this wasn’t the case. However, with the tight integration of Google Now, the stock home screen does not allow for the removal of that search widget.

There are a couple of ways that you can get rid of that persistent search bar. The first method (and the one I recommend) is to use a third-party home screen launcher (such as Nova Launcher, which is my favorite). Nearly all third-party home screen launchers will allow you to remove the Google Search bar — or at least allow you to move it or lock it to a single home screen page (unlike the persistent bar that is pinned to all home screen pages).

If you happen to prefer the default Android home screen but still want to rid your device of that search bar, you can do this. There is, however, a major caveat to ridding the home screen of the Google Search bar — shutting off Google Search integration. This means that you’ll no longer be able to use “Okay, Google Now,” and all the data you’ve collected using the search will be deleted. But if you are insistent on ridding your device of that pesky search bar, and you aren’t willing to go the alternative launcher route, here’s how you disable the Google Search functionality.

  1. Open the Settings on your device
  2. Locate and tap the application manager (this may either be called Apps or Applications or App Manager)
  3. Swipe to the All tab
  4. Locate and tap Google Search
  5. Tap the Disable button (Figure A)
  6. Tap OK to dismiss the warning
  7. If prompted, tap OK to replace the app with the factory version

Figure A

Disabling Google Search on a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo.

At this point, the persistent search bar will be gone. Even if you look through the available widgets, you won’t find the search bar.

Should you change your mind, you can re-enable Google Search. However, the process of enabling it isn’t as simple as going back through the process outlined above and tapping Enable. If you go back into the All listing of applications, you won’t find Google Search listed. Instead follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play store on your device
  2. Search for Google Search
  3. Locate and tap the entry
  4. Tap the Enable button (Figure B)
  5. Tap Open
  6. Walk through the Get Google Now wizard

Figure B

Re-enabling Google Search on your device.

At this point, the Google Search bar will have reappeared, and you’re back where you started.

You may not like that persistent Google Search bar, but it serves a vital function to how you interact with your device. If you want to retain the integrated search but would prefer to have back the screen real estate, find a third-party home screen launcher that suits your needs. Win-win all around.

Have you found the perfect Android home screen launcher? If so, which one? Share your favorite in the discussion thread below.