Why LG dropped the G5’s app drawer, and why it doesn’t matter

G5's upgrades more than make up for the missing app drawer. Photo: LG

G5’s upgrades more than make up for the missing app drawer. Photo: LG

LG’s new G5 ships with a new launcher that lacks an app drawer, meaning every title you download from Google Play ends up on your home screen. There’s a rumor that claims Google will take the same step with its Android N upgrade later this year.

Here’s why that decision makes sense, and why it doesn’t matter to existing Android users.

The app drawer has long been one of Android’s defining features — one of the many that separates it from iOS. For long-time users who are familiar with it and the advantages it brings, that differentiator a good thing. For anyone else, it’s not.

For iPhone users thinking about ditching iOS, which LG will be hoping to attract with the much-improved G5, the app drawer is another hurdle to overcome — another nuance you must try to adapt to — when switching platforms.

It probably seems like an insignificant hurdle to you if you’re reading an Android blog like this one, but it’s one that’s big enough to dissuade potential switchers when they walk into a store, pick up the G5, and can’t find any of its apps.

It’s enough to make people think, “Android is too different. I don’t like it.”

So, it makes sense to prevent that by eliminating the app drawer. It’s a simple change that could have a big impact, and for existing Android users, it’s not going to change anything. This is likely the same reason why Google is experimenting with Android N builds that don’t have one.

If you’re upgrading to the G5 from the G4 — or another Android smartphone — having all your apps on the home screen is an added convenience. They’re easier to find, easier to organize, and easier to remove if you no longer use them.

And if you like the advantages an app drawer brings, you’ll know there are countless third-party launchers in Google Play — many of which are very, very good — that will bring it back, and add additional functionality you don’t get with the G5’s stock launcher.

LG has also included a setting that lets you switch to an “EasyHome” launcher that does include an app drawer — as demonstrated in the video below from XDA Developers.

Don’t let the missing app drawer dissuade you from buying the G5, then. There are plenty of options for those who want it back, and the many improvements this refresh brings far outweigh the one unpopular and mostly insignificant change.