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How To Remove White Background From App Drawer In Android 5.0 Lollipop

Posted Nov 25, 2014 by Nick Vogt
In Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google introduced a white background to the app drawer screens. This follows their material design philosophy, but may be too bright for some of us.

There is no setting to switch app drawer themes or get KitKat's dark semi-transparent background back, but you can change this by installing a different launcher app.

This guide was written with stock/near-stock Android devices in mind, like the Nexus 5.


Installing a Launcher


Installing a different launcher might seem like a daunting task, but it is just as easy as installing any other app.

Step 1
Go to the Google Play Store and install a highly-rated launcher. My recommendation is Nova Launcher.

Step 2
Once installed, you can switch to a different launcher when you tap the home button.

Android Launcher

When you switch launchers, your home screen and app drawer will look different. Each launcher has a different take on how they look. Nova Launcher can be configured similar to KitKat, but you can customize it to suit your preference.

Each launcher is also isolated from each other, so if you change a bunch of shortcuts, icons, and widgets around in one launcher, it does not affect the others. If you switch back to the "Google Now Launcher" (the stock one) it won't be affected by any Play Store launchers you installed.

Step 3
If you decide to stick with a certain launcher, tap the home button again while using that launcher, and then tap "Always":

Android Launcher


App Drawer Background Setting in Nova


If you've gone with Nova Launcher, here is the setting to remove the app drawer white background. Go into "Nova Settings" and tap "App & widget drawers":

Android Nova Settings

Then tap the slider to turn "Card background" off:

Android Nova Settings

Now there should be no card background in the app drawer. You can also experiment with other settings, including different color and transparency backgrounds.


How to Switch Back


If you've made a custom launcher your default launcher and want to switch back to the stock one, the easiest way is to simply uninstall the custom launcher. But if you want to switch back to stock and keep your custom launcher available, follow these steps:

Go into your app drawer and there will be a new icon in there called Google Now Launcher. This is your default launcher and the icon only shows up when you're using a custom launcher.

Android Launcher

Tap it and you will be shown a screen informing you that you're currently using a different launcher, and that you have to clear its default settings. Tap "Settings":

Android Launcher

Now you're on the App Info page for your custom launcher. Scroll down and click "Clear Defaults":

Android Launcher

Now when you hit the home button, you will once again be presented with the screen to select your launcher, and you can switch launchers.


Before and After Screenshots


Here are some screenshots showing how I've configured Nova Launcher differently than the stock launcher.

Android Stock vs Nova Launcher
Desktop (Home): Removed persistent search bar, increased grid size, sub-grid positioning, removed labels, removed page indicator (white dot):


Android Stock vs Nova Launcher
App Drawer: Removed white card background, increased grid size, removed page indicator (white dot):
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