It was only a few weeks ago that I extolled the wonders of Evie Launcher. Since then, Evie has undergone major updates, and it’s now my default Android home screen launcher.

The app’s changes took me by surprise. I was using my phone one day when I noticed something wasn’t right–a particular feature of Evie stopped working. I restarted the OnePlus 3, assuming it could have been a cache issue. When that failed me, I opted to dump the saved cache on my device. Again, no dice.

It wasn’t until I checked the Google Play Store that I learned Evie had upgraded and brought along with the update some subtle, but serious, changes. I’ll highlight those changes and possibly woo you over to the Evie way of life.

SEE: Android Security Bulletin January 2017: What you need to know (TechRepublic)

Say buh bye sidebar

The feature that tipped me off to the change was the missing sidebar. No matter how many times I swiped, the sidebar wouldn’t appear. This was a big deal, as I had grown accustomed to that feature. Swiping right, from the left edge, made for incredibly easy one-handed operation.

However, the developers and many users found an issue with Evie’s sidebar when multiple pages were used on the home screen. To that end, they dropped the sidebar in favor of an App Drawer that is closer to the Android stock.

To gain access to the drawer, all you have to do is swipe up on the screen. The trick is, you must start the swipe above the home screen button–if you start the swipe at the home screen button, nothing will happen.

Once the Evie App Drawer is open (Figure A), you can view and launch your apps from the grid or list view, or tap and drag a launcher to the home screen.

Figure A

The powerful search feature

The search feature is one of the most powerful tools in Evie; it allows you to search for anything–whether it’s local or not. There are now three ways you can get to the search function:

  • tap the Search bar at the top of the home screen; or
  • tap the home button; or
  • swipe down from below the Search bar.

It’s quite clear Evie’s developers want you to use the search feature…with good reason. The Evie search function makes interacting with your device incredibly efficient, so having multiple routes to that efficiency makes perfect sense.

If you don’t prefer to tap the home button to open search, you can disable this by going into Evie’s Settings, tapping Gestures, and disabling Home Button To Search (Figure B). Note: Disabling the home button for the Evie search does not enable the stock Android action of opening the App Drawer. Once you’ve disabled it, the home button will only work to return you to the home screen and for launching Google Now (with a long-press).

Figure B

You might be wondering where to find the Evie Settings. Prior to the removal of the sidebar, the Settings app was easy to locate, but now you must go to the search feature and search for Evie Settings (Figure C).

Figure C

An alternative to getting to Evie Settings is by long-pressing a blank spot on the home screen and then tapping Settings (Figure D).

Figure D

All the changes in Evie’s latest update

  • Faster and better-designed app drawer
  • Live wallpaper support
  • Stock Android home screen management
  • Dock with custom grid
  • Unread badges support
  • Folders that are faster and can adapt to your home screen grid
  • Widgets redesign, which includes visual previews and organized by app
  • Backup and restore functionality
  • Double Tap To Lock
  • Removable icon labels

The change that will alter how you use Evie the most is the move from the sidebar to the App Drawer. The most important aspect of Evie is the search function, and that hasn’t changed one bit.

Evie is one of the most efficient Android interfaces, and it makes locating your apps and data very simple. Need to locate a contact? Tap the search bar and start typing the person’s name. Want to open an app? Type the name of the app. Ready to search Google? Type in the search phrase. It’s all there, at the tip of your fingers.

Give Evie a try

I was surprised that a home screen launcher could usurp my longtime favorite Nova Launcher as my daily driver, but Evie did just that.

Evie’s simplicity, clean design, and efficiency makes for an interface that’s sure to speed up your interaction with Android. And with today’s busy work life, who doesn’t want that?