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Pretend your old Android phone is a Pixel 2 with this free lookalike launcher

Pixel 2 Launcher

Your Android phone might not ever get an update to Android 8.0 Oreo, but that doesn’t mean it has to be stuck in the past. There’s an app that will now make your Android phone look a lot like Google’s Pixel 2 phone. And the best part is that it’s easy to install, as it doesn’t require rooting your phone.

However, you should know that the Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.0 isn’t available in the Google Play store, which means you’ll have to sideload it. Naturally, that goes against the most basic way of protecting yourself against malware and shady Android apps, avoiding unofficial app sources.

The developer behind Rootless Pixel Launcher put a lot of effort into mimicking the Pixel 2 user interface and adapting it for various Android versions. Just check out the changelog at the link above, and you’ll immediately understand what I’m talking about. In other words, this sure looks like the work of a person you can trust, if you’re still worried about the security implications of installing unofficial apps. Not to mention that we’re looking at version 3.0 of the application.

That said, it’s up to you to decide whether to trust the app that turns any Android handset into a Pixel 2 lookalike.

If you want to install it, you’ll first need to enable Unknown Sources inside the Security section of the Settings app. Once that’s done, check this Reddit thread which gives you all the necessary information to install it, including a changelog for various Android versions that are supported.

The app is basically a launcher that will replace your current one. Built on Google’s AOSP for Android 8.1, the launcher works on devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later. That means you can install the app even on Android phones that have received the Oreo update, not just older models. It also works on Pixel phones if you want to give it a try. It’s slightly different than the real thing from Google.

The app offers Pixel 2 UI design and features, including Google Now feed, dynamic themes and app icons, and “At a Glance” support to name a few. On top of that, the developer added various custom tricks for almost every Android release that can run the launcher.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.