Get the most out of Nova Launcher: Customizing the Dock (Contest Included)

Nova Launcher is an app that millions of people use and it’s full of tons of features and options that allow the user to do so much customization to their devices when it comes to their homescreens, docks at the bottom of the screen, gestures and even icons. The list is nearly endless and while a lot of people know about these features and options and how to use them, there are still a lot of folks out there that don’t know. We’re also going to be holding a contest at the end of the post to give away some license key codes worth $5 each so make sure to check that out before you close the tab!

In our previous version of this post we talked about changing icon sizes and a few other things you can do with the icons. Today we’re going to talk about the dock on the homescreen. While most of you know what the dock is and how it works, there are a lot of folks that don’t know what all you are capable of doing with this little gem that sits at the bottom of your homescreen, if you choose to display it of course.

One thing to note is that you should have both Nova Launcher and Nova Launcher Prime installed. Some features are only available in the paid version of Nova Launcher Prime. It’s only $4.99 in the Google Play Store currently and in my opinion it’s totally worth every penny. You can find it here: Nova Launcher Prime and you can find the free version here: Nova Launcher.

Nova Launcher Dock Image 1

Activating the Dock

By default the dock in Nova Launcher is set to be active, but in case it’s not, or you accidentally turn it off, it’s very simple to turn it back on. Just go into Nova Settings -> Dock and on the top right of the next screen flip the little toggle switch to the right so that it’s blue. Once you do that, or if it’s already done, you will have all sorts of new options to play around with.

I’m going to quickly mention Icon Layout and not go into details about that section and the options within it since that was discussed in the previous version of this post that you can read here: Get the most out of Nova Launcher. Everything in that post pertains to the Icon Layout section underneath the Dock settings. Only difference is that it applies to the icons on the dock instead of the homescreen.

Nova Launcher Dock Image 2

Dock Background

The dock background option is full of features and choices for you to highly customize your dock pretty much how you want it to appear. Some of these options are the shape of the dock background such as custom images, transparency or even Nova Dock style apps from the Play Store.

So let’s start with the shape of the background of the dock itself. By default, Nova Launcher comes with four shapes you can choose from. You can select Platform, Rectangle, Rounded or Arc. Below I’m going to describe each one briefly and then show you a screenshot with a preview of each one.

Platform: This makes the dock icons appear as if they are sitting on a platform with a 3D style look to it to give it a bit of depth.

Rectangle: This is just a rectangle shape that fills the entire width of the dock and your icons sit right on top of that.

Rounded: The rounded dock background doesn’t quite fill up the entire width of the screen and it has rounded corners. You can see the homescreen wallpaper around the left and right sides of the rounded dock background.

Arc: This dock background takes up the entire width of the dock but has a little arc to it so it’s not just a flat looking image behind your icons.

Next up is the Content section and this is where things get a little bit more fun in my opinion. It’s where the creativity can really come into play. I’m talking about custom images, images from supported Nova Docks apps that I mentioned above or just custom colors for your dock background.

Tint: This allows you to choose the color of the dock background if you want just a custom, solid color for the dock without any custom image. It will use whatever selection you chose from the four above and just simply color the dock that color. There are 19 pre-defined colors once you click on the Tint button or you can click on the three dots and pick any color you want using the color slider.

Image: When you click on Image you get a list of all sorts of stuff possibly. For me, I get Gallery Apps which allows me to choose any of my photo type apps such as Quick Pic, Google Photos, Dropbox and much more to choose images from to use on the dock. If you have supported apps such as Nova Docks by Samer Zayer installed, it will give you that option as well. Or some custom icon packs bundled in backgrounds to use with the dock on Nova Launcher, so those might be listed as well. Last but not least, there is a even a link to get more themes from the Google Store and I have to tell you, there’s all sorts of good stuff to be found by clicking that link.

Next up is the Transparency option which is a fun little option to play with if you like that kind of thing. For me, when I have a custom image set for my dock background, I like to have my transparency set to about 50%. That way I don’t see just a solid color for the dock background yet I can still make out what color it is as well as partially see my homescreen wallpaper through the dock background.

Now that we’ve customized the dock background, let’s wrap it this up with the other things that you can set for the dock within Nova Launcher.

You can have multiple dock pages, which means you can swipe left/right to access more docks that you’ve set up. This is very similar to how homescreens are done. You can have just one dock page or you can have up to a total of five dock pages.

On each dock page, on a mobile phone, you can have up to 7 icons across the width of the dock. You can also have as few as one icon per dock if you so choose. If you go with the option of 7 and you have 5 dock pages, that means you can have up to 35 icons across the bottom of the screen on the dock that you can swipe left/right to access rather quickly.

Then throw in the fact that you can of course create folders which contain multiple numbers of apps within them and place those on your dock as well. So the possibilities are quite endless when it comes to the amount of icons that can be placed on a dock or on multiple docks.

One neat little option that has been included for the dock is the Infinite Scroll option. What this does is allow you to continuously scroll between all of your dock pages. If it’s turned off, when you reach the last dock page on the left or right, you can’t scroll any further. If this option is turned on, then you just keep scrolling and scrolling.

Width and Height Padding are just options for how much padding(blank space) there is between the icons on the dock and the left and right sides of the screen as well as between the icons and the bottom of the screen and any widgets or icons above the dock.

Advance Settings

At the bottom of the screen when you go to Nova Settings -> Dock you will see Advance which you can expand to give you 3 more options. You will see Dock As Overlay, Automatically Close and Remember Position. Below I’ll describe what each of these do and how they work exactly.

Dock As Overlay: This option lets your dock appear as if it’s over top of the desktop itself. So ultimately if you have this option set, you can have icons or widgets below it and the dock will always be on top of those when it’s active.

Automatically Close: This option tells the dock to automatically close once you launch an app from the dock itself. In other words, it completely deactivates the dock so for it to appear again you would need to go into Nova Settings -> Dock and turn it back on. The other option would be if you have gestures setup such as a swipe up gesture to show the dock, then you could avoid the step above to turn it back on. To activate the Automatically Close option you have to have Dock As Overlay activated first.

Remember Position: This is an interesting little feature that many people don’t know what it does or exactly how it works which is one of the reasons why I am doing this post to teach people new things about Nova Launcher. How this works is only if you have 2 or more dock pages set in the option mentioned above.

By default if you have more than one dock page and you click on an app to open it from the dock and then you return to your homescreen, the dock will always revert back to the default dock, or dock number one, so to speak. But let’s say you scroll over to dock 3 and you want it to always stay there instead of forcing you to scroll back to that dock again the next time you are on the homescreen, then you will want to activate this feature. So when you click on an app on the third dock page, and you go back to your homescreen, the same dock page is still visible at that time.

Final Thoughts

There is so much more that you can do with Nova Launcher, but this was just the first little tip and how-to of many to come. Stay tuned to the follow up to this post as we take a look at folders and what you can do with them as well as gestures and what kind of awesome things you do with those.

If anyone out there has any issues, questions or suggestions, please feel free to email Nova Launcher support via [email protected] at any time. You would actually be getting a response from me personally as I handle support for Nova Launcher as I just recently joined the team working directly with Kevin Barry, the creator and developer behind Nova Launcher.

The Giveaway/Contest

As mentioned in the beginning, AndroidGuys has teamed up with TeslaCoilSW, the makers of Nova Launcher/Nova Launcher Prime, to do a little bit of a giveaway for some license key codes for Nova Launcher Prime. Each license is worth $5 and we’re going to give away 10 license codes. That’s one for ten lucky individuals so there’s a few to be had here.

[alert color=”green”]The contest is as easy as leaving a comment below and just tell us whatever you want, be it your favorite movie, favorite past-time, favorite cartoon character or just to simply tell us how awesome we are. Once you leave a comment, you are automatically entered to win one of ten license key codes for Nova Launcher Prime. All we ask is that when you do leave your comment, you sign into Disqus with a valid email address as that is how we will be contacting the ten lucky winners. Very important that you use a valid email.

The contest will start immediately and will end on Sunday, December 6th, at 11:59pm EST. We will then draw ten lucky winners and contact them to claim their prize on Wednesday December 9th. Don’t delay, leave us a comment and get ready for a chance to win today![/alert]

Google Play Store: Nova Launcher
Google Play Store: Nova Launcher Prime
  • Quan van der Knokke

    Wow, I’m the first to comment! My favourite past-time is reading, my favourite cartoon character is probably Donald Duck, and you’re most definitely awesome. Also, my back is itching.

  • kbiel

    My favorite movie is Bladerunner, every cut, even with the Harrison Ford voice over.

  • Firelight

    Favorite movie is Tombstone.
    “I’ll be your huckleberry.”
    “It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.”

    Favorite cartoon character is Daffy Duck followed by The Noid.

  • george

    This was nice reading, really, didn’t know all this existed. I use Nova free version for years

  • BillJude56

    I have only one statement to make: Curly Howard Is the funniest man who’s ever lived.

  • loom

    You guys are awesome! As Nova Launcher is too!! Hehe

  • sanchit murarka

    My favourite show and character is arrow
    You have the best launcher !
    Have been using Nova Launcher as i my Default Launcher !
    Thinking to buy the Prime Version
    Let me know if i win !
    ThankYou !

  • Lee Garber

    Hey thanks for the awesome away. I have always wanted to try nova prime to see what the fuss is about. Hopefully I win a license. Also thanks for all the tips on how to use nova. My favourite movie at the moment would be Guardians of the Galaxy. Of all the marvel movies it was just so well put together with an awesome sound track and it was bloody funny.

    • Lee Garber

      Awesome giveaway that should say…

      • Lee Garber

        Funnily enough there is nova corps and nova prime in guardians of the galaxy… Hahaha ?

  • Vidit Jain

    Finally! A nova giveaway… It’s been my launcher of choice for years now.

  • Vincent Campbell

    I’ve always loved Nova. In fact, it’s the first thing I install on any new device. Was actually looking at shelling out the $5 for prime this weekend when I got paid, but I guess I’ll hold out to see if I win.

    Also to the author, I also have a Moto X Pure (although on my trusty Nexus 7 2013 right now) and will be keeping a hold of it until the Huawei Mate8 gets released next year (octocore, 4GB ram, lots of storage space, ahhhhhhhhhh)

  • Gabe

    Hi Android Guys!
    Favorite past-time: watching sports
    Favorite character: Cookie Monster
    And I’ve always wanted Nova Launcher Prime on my OnePlus One!

  • Entry

  • jody esvelt

    I have never used nova. Just installed it and I am way happy. Thank you!

  • Eduard Tănase

    Nova it’s the best launcher on Google play store. Smooth, easy to customise no bugs and I’m using it for a few years now. Thanks, Teslacoil.

  • Ryan Vaz

    You guys rock. Nova is just wat I need.

  • Daniel Simard

    Nice article, loved the cover you give to Nova Launcher. Tried a couple of them already but always comeback to Nova

  • Mark Neumiller

    I think nova launcher is fantastic and I love how much personality it gives your phone. you GUYS ARE AWESOME. PS. check your midichlorians…. I’m pretty sure you guys are jedis.

  • Asim

    I have recently jumped to the android bandwagon and let me tell you so far i am enjoying it. Reason is it keeps me busy with what i want from my device and how i want it, therefore opening me to the world of possibilities. I own a note 5 and at first i was a little reluctant to root it but then i plunged into the wonderful community of xda got my device rooted and now i have my phone customized to my likings interms of looks, apps, and tons of other customization to my systems behavior. I tried the nova launcher free version and i totally agree with the fact that the prime version is worth every penny. Hence i am here to try my luck. Happy hunting.

  • deepanshu

    What i want : World peace and end of terrorism.

  • Michael Salvhus

    Played with Nova and a couple others still figuring out how best to use it. Nothing has all I want it seems.

  • Brad Maguill

    Giants still have a chance

  • Kraig

    Narrowed my decision to Nova and Apex. You guys are the greatest.

  • Harris Pap

    Nova is a great launcher

  • Joshua Graye

    Can’t wait the see Krampus.

  • Stephanichi

    Finals week is terrible.

  • David

    Love this Nova series – great to encourage looking beyond the default launcher

  • Pratik Singhal

    My inspiration is Steve Jobs

  • David Figueroa

    Lookin forward to trying Nova.. I’ve tried tried a ton off launchers and they all see to be something

  • Dev

    Using Google launcher. Would like to try Nova!

  • I love nova launcher.Im into weather apps and with all the screens I could really load on the widgets.My hobbies are astronomy and meteorology

  • Hackhound

    I’m an Apex Launcher user. Woo me away with a free code.

  • Dan

    I’m not Rachel from Card Holder Services.

  • Andrew AtWork

    You guys rock!!!! So much info….thanks.

  • Ian Lowe

    I don’t have an a lot to say at the moment this will be the first time to try a launcher

  • praba karan

    I like Nova launcher because its too smooth and fast compare touch wiz in my s5

  • To

    My p**** is 5.5 inches. (phone ahah)

  • Kevin Sharpe

    gherkins & ice-cream: now that’s a dessert worth biting

  • Wislley Frauner

    I like to always stay on top of issues of technology, do English course and in my free time I usually play a little customizing my Android.

    A movie – Transformers

  • Ahnaf Ahmed

    You guys are awesome!

  • deboo

    Currently on Action Launcher 3.
    It’s okay but not as good as Nova.

    But I had no choice, as after recent updates, I have been unable to apply custom patches to the app via Lucky Patcher. So instead, I’m running AL3 Pro, thanks to Xposed & InApp and LVL Emulation

    So now you know why I need a license.

  • Fernando Lemos

    Thanks for the contest!

  • Wislley Frauner

    Has left the outcome of the winners?

  • Hitesh

    Very informative article…