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Applying a New Launcher on Your Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 uses the TouchWiz user interface template. You can change this template, called a launcher, by installing one from the Google Play Store. Eric Butow, author of My Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, shows how to find, install, and use a launcher on your Galaxy Tab S2.
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The Galaxy Tab S2 uses the default TouchWiz user interface template, called a launcher, to help you interact with your tablet. However, plenty of other launchers are available to use in place of the TouchWiz launcher, with each launcher providing its own distinct look and feel. Many of these launchers are also optimized for tablet devices.

In this article, we’ll take a look at one of these launchers: Action Launcher 3 from Digital Ashes was lauded on Google Play’s “Best Apps of 2015 in the U.S.” list. Best of all, Action Launcher 3 is free!

The Tab S2 doesn’t delete the TouchWiz launcher when you install a new launcher, so this article also shows you how to switch back to the TouchWiz launcher.

Finding and Installing a Launcher

Begin shopping for a launcher by tapping the Google Play Store icon on the main Home screen. Within the Google Play Store screen, tap the Google Play field at the top of the screen (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 The Google Play field appears at the top of the Google Play Store screen.

Launchers are available for Android smartphones as well as Android tablets, so when you search for launchers in the Google Play Store, you need to be specific about the type of launcher you want to find. Type launcher tablet using the keyboard; when the text launcher tablet appears in the Google Play field, tap the Search key on the right side of the keyboard (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure 2 The Search key appears on the right side of the keyboard.

Swipe up and down, if necessary, to look through the resulting listings for the launcher you want. For this example, look for the Action Launcher 3 app. When you find the app’s tile (see Figure 3), tap on it.

Figure 3

Figure 3 Tap on the Action Launcher 3 tile (center right).

The launcher’s product screen appears after you tap on the tile. Swipe up and down on this screen to get more information about the app, including reviews and screenshots. When you’re ready to install the app, tap the Install button shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4

Figure 4 The green Install button is at center right on this information screen.

Tap Accept in the pop-up window to give Action Launcher 3 access to your tablet data, including your photo, multimedia, and other files. Once the Google Play Store finishes installing the new launcher on your Tab 2, open Action Launcher 3 by tapping the green Open button on the screen.

Using Your New Launcher

When you first open the Action Launcher 3 app, you’re asked to accept the Digital Ashes terms and privacy policy; tap the OK button. If you want to import your icons and folders from your old Home screens, tap Import. For this example, I’ll tap Start Fresh, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5

Figure 5 The Welcome screen contains the Import and Start Fresh links.

In the Check Out What’s New! window shown in Figure 6, you can choose to upgrade to Action Launcher Plus ($4.99) by tapping Upgrade to Plus at the bottom of the screen. For this example, close the window by tapping Done.

Figure 6

Figure 6 The Done option appears at lower right in the window.

The Action Launcher 3 Home screen appears, displaying the Google box at the top of the screen and a row of icons at the bottom.

To launch an app, tap the white Apps icon in the middle of the row of icons (see Figure 7).

Figure 7

Figure 7 The Apps icon is a white circle containing six smaller circles.

You can view all the app icons by swiping up and down in the Apps screen shown in Figure 8. Search for an app by tapping the Find Apps field at the top of the screen and then typing the name of the app you want. As you type, the Apps screen shows the app icons most closely matching your search term(s). When you find the app you want, tap the app’s tile to launch the app.

Figure 8

Figure 8 Your most recently used apps appear in the top row of app icons.

Selecting a Launcher

Return to the Home screen by pressing the Home button. In the Select Launcher window shown in Figure 9, tap TouchWiz Home if you want to return to the TouchWiz launcher. If you want to use the TouchWiz launcher only once, tap Just Once. If you want to use the launcher all the time, tap Always.

Figure 9

Figure 9 If you decide you don’t want to change the launcher after all, tap the Back touch button to close the window.

If you launch an app such as Google Chrome on the Home screen (refer to Figure 7), you can tap the Recent Apps touch button to launch it again. (The Recent Apps screen looks the same in Action Launcher 3 and TouchWiz.)

Close all apps by tapping Close All at the bottom of the screen. The Select Launcher window reappears (refer to Figure 9).

If you return to the TouchWiz launcher, you see the main Home screen as you left it before you opened Action Launcher 3, with one change: The Action Launcher 3 icon now appears on the Home screen (see Figure 10).

Figure 10

Figure 10 The Action Launcher 3 icon appears above the Video icon.

Now you can switch to Action Launcher 3 without having to select the launcher in the Select Launcher window. Just tap the Action Launcher 3 icon.

Setting the Default Launcher

If you decided to use Action Launcher 3 all the time, and then later you change your mind, it’s easy to return to the TouchWiz launcher. Tap the Apps icon at the bottom of the screen (refer to Figure 7), swipe upward to view the rest of the apps, and then tap the Settings icon (see Figure 11).

Figure 11

Figure 11 Here, the Settings app icon is in the middle of the fourth row of icons.

On the Settings screen, tap the Applications setting in the settings list on the left side of the screen. Within the Applications settings list on the right side of the screen, tap Default Applications. In the Default Applications settings list (see Figure 12), tap Home.

Figure 12

Figure 12 The Home option appears at the top of the Default Applications settings list on the right side of the screen.

Within the Home settings list on the right side of the screen, tap the button to the left of the launcher you want to use as the default, as shown in Figure 13. Next, press the Home button to begin using the new launcher.

Figure 13

Figure 13 The default TouchWiz Home launcher appears at the top of the Home settings list.

Uninstalling a Launcher

If you no longer want to use a launcher you’ve installed, you can uninstall the launcher from your Tab S2. Tap the trashcan icon to the right of the launcher name (refer to Figure 13).

After you tap the trashcan icon, the Uninstall App window appears, informing you that the launcher will be uninstalled. Uninstall the launcher by tapping Uninstall in the window. The launcher disappears from the Home settings list.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to add a launcher, you can download, install, and experiment with multiple launchers until you find the right launcher(s) for you. Many launchers are free, so go ahead and shop in the Google Play Store and download the launcher(s) you want to try on your Galaxy Tab S2.

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