Microsoft Launches Major Update to Arrow Launcher for Android

Microsoft Launches Major Update to Arrow Launcher for Android

Microsoft last night launched a new version of its Arrow Launcher for Android which it describes as its “biggest release yet.”

As you might recall, I’m a big fan of Arrow Launcher. This solution replaces the stock Android launcher, or home screen, and is a key component of a Microsoft fan’s Android experience.

Microsoft first launched Arrow Launcher in late 2015 and has updated it at a rapid clip since, adding many improvement and features based on feedback. Arrow Launcher 2.0 arrived in July 2016 with Office 365 commercial compatibility and improved performance, and version 2.2, also a major release, sported much-improved customization. A 2.3 release from September provided further refinements.

For Arrow Launcher 3.0, Microsoft is touting the following new features:

New Utility screen. A new Utility screen lets you pin utility cards as individual pages, and customize them as you wish. This replaces the Google Now screen on Android phones, and you access it the same way, by swiping to the right.

Apps screen scrolling. You can now configure the Apps screen to scroll vertically or horizontally.

Major performance improvements. According to Microsoft, Arrow Launcher is now 10 percent faster than before and uses 15 percent less battery, and 20 percent less memory.

I’ve switched my Google Pixel XL over to Arrow Launcher and will be using this as my home screen experience again moving forward. That new Utility screen will be a big focus, of course.

Arrow Launcher 3.0 is now available for free from the Google Play Store. It is available worldwide and is translated into all major languages, Microsoft says.


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Conversation 24 comments

  • KidClayton

    24 February, 2017 - 11:11 am

    <p>Is there a chance that this will become the future of WP? </p>

  • maethorechannen

    Premium Member
    24 February, 2017 - 11:18 am

    <p>I hope they figure out to integrate it with Cortana, so there'd be Cortana cards on the utility screen. Especially now that the Google Now Launcher is going away.</p>

  • Vitor Canova Weingaertner

    24 February, 2017 - 11:35 am

    <p>I've been using it about a month and pretty much love it.</p><p><br></p><p>Unfortunately with this latest update when I try to place a shortcut on home screen it refuses because there is no space in the top.</p><p><br></p><p>Anyone else.</p>

    • jbuccola

      24 February, 2017 - 12:28 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#70571"><em>In reply to Vitor Canova Weingaertner:</em></a></blockquote><p>Sub-optimal use of real estate is unfortunately part of the deal with the Arrow launcher.</p>

  • scd147

    Premium Member
    24 February, 2017 - 11:43 am

    <p>It wasn't bad, but I stopped using it when I realized updates would sometimes reset all of the defaults, including the lock. In effect, at anytime, my phone lock would be disabled. Always looking to revisit it though. If they fix this, maybe next they'll fix the calendar syncing issue with the Outlook app.</p>

  • dwolfman

    24 February, 2017 - 11:54 am

    <p>Anyone know if this supports multiple home screens? Currently using the Holo Launcher one (free version), since I can set up about as many scrollable home screens as I want.</p>

  • Bsobotta

    24 February, 2017 - 12:03 pm

    <p>Yep. Love it. This update just makes it better.</p>

  • jmeiii75

    Premium Member
    24 February, 2017 - 12:10 pm

    <p>I have been using Action Launcher for quite awhile now. Arrow has always intrigued me, but I had never felt the need to make the switch. This update and Paul's article did it. Love it so far. the utility screen is great. I'm going to live with it for awhile</p>

  • jjaegers

    24 February, 2017 - 12:21 pm

    <p>I am a long time Windows Phone user that switched to Android and I am working on a new launcher that brings some of the functionality of live tiles to Android! It's called RevoLauncher and it uses the notification system in Android to populate live tile content… I have been using it myself for about 4 months and have gotten it to a point where it is pretty stable and ready for an Alpha test… I setup a site for it at and it will be a free app (at least for now) once it's released on the store.&nbsp;I have struggled to find a launcher that made me OK with using Android after coming from Windows Phone for so many years and the ones that were like Windows Phone were just trying to mimic the look and not much of the function… I wish MS would release something like this… Arrow is cool but it just feels way more like a standard&nbsp;Android launcher than a MS/Windows thing. Here is a screen cap of the launcher as or now: <a href="; target="_blank"></a&gt; </p><p><br></p><p><img src=""></p&gt;

    • Otto Gunter

      24 February, 2017 - 1:49 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#70747"><em>In reply to jjaegers:</em></a>&nbsp;This looks great! I'm sticking with my Lumia 830 for now – I'm not a big phone app user – but I'd be delighted if it worked on my Android tablet. Good luck, you have a winner here…</blockquote><p><br></p>

    • MixedFarmer75

      Premium Member
      09 March, 2017 - 9:30 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#70747"><em>In reply to jjaegers:</em></a></blockquote><p>Looks great. If it works well I'd pay for it.</p><p><br></p>

  • illuminated

    24 February, 2017 - 12:54 pm

    <p>Microsoft should just kill WP and have its own fork of Android. Maybe it would be cheaper just to send $50 to all remaining WP users and tell them to get Android or iOS phones. Then MS can stop worrying about UWP, drop ARM support and start winding down desktop OS business. Enterprises still need windows and can pay for OS but consumers can live with their phones and pay for them with their data. </p>

    • ben55124

      Premium Member
      24 February, 2017 - 2:21 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#71065"><em>In reply to illuminated:</em></a></blockquote><p>No one wants a fork of android. Forks don't get google play services and that's what people want. Amazon has been somewhat able to eke out an excuse for its fire OS devices, but it failed in phones. MS gets to tread water for awhile. Things like this launcher gives their android devs something to do while the execs ponder the future.</p>

    • Sebastian Ambrose Hilton

      26 February, 2017 - 12:28 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#71065">In reply to illuminated:</a></em></blockquote><p>Microsoft has a good system but at this point I would like to see more customizing options including allowing launchers, .exe support, icons, and option to add Android support like what sailfish does</p>

  • RonV42

    Premium Member
    24 February, 2017 - 1:06 pm

    <p>I just started to use this launcher a week ago&nbsp;when I got the Moto G4 from Amazon.&nbsp; It's fast, works well, and provides all the features that lets me&nbsp;know what I used last and who I commonly communicate with along with Wunderlist for tasks.&nbsp; Now if I can just find a way to get rid of the Google app stealing my Bluetooth headset button and assign it to bing or Cortana.</p>

  • wolters

    Premium Member
    24 February, 2017 - 1:16 pm

    <p>I go between Arrow and Nova on my Moto Z Force. But I am returning to Arrow once again. At first I liked the vertical app screen but then I had problems scrolling down when I had widgets which would also scroll vertically. This new release is very nice though if I use my Pixel, I still prefer the native, clean Android launcher. </p><p><br></p><p>One thing Arrow screams to have…Cortana Integration. Put it somewhere…perhaps utility screen. Not that a widget can't do the same but I'd expect a little more Cortana in Arrow. </p>

  • arunphilip

    24 February, 2017 - 1:46 pm

    <p>OK Paul, what's the story with the broken door knob? Second story I've seen that message in a screenshot and my curiosity is piqued! </p>

  • StephenCWLL

    24 February, 2017 - 3:40 pm

    <p>Just installed it for first time.</p><p><br></p><p>Hmmmmmm.</p><p><br></p><p>I'm not blown away. Love having bing wallpaper and the extra bottom icons room and quick settings.</p><p><br></p><p>It's doing some very strange scaling with widgets. Also can't find much use for the pages. I hear there was a widget page before. That i would have loved.</p>

    • charms55

      Premium Member
      24 February, 2017 - 8:54 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#74298"><em>In reply to StephenCWLL:</em></a><em> there is still a widget page and others can be re-ordered and added and deleted. Like Paul, I am a huge fan of this and Picturesque Lock screen, also from Microsoft. As for widget issues, I am not impressed by many, but that is on any launcher. I have tried some more flashy launchers and even went back to the stock Nexus launcher. I always come back to Arrow. And I actually love the horizontal scrolling. If you are moving from IPhone, it should be a touch of home for you.</em></blockquote><p><br></p>

      • StephenCWLL

        25 February, 2017 - 9:41 am

        <blockquote><a href="#76606"><em>In reply to charms55:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Where is this widget page in new version? </p>

  • Bats

    25 February, 2017 - 7:49 am

    <p>Last time I tried Arrow, it was a memory hog.</p>

  • Sebastian Ambrose Hilton

    26 February, 2017 - 12:25 am

    <p>Why exactly can't we have this on Windows mobile and just introduce icons like on the desktop and a taskbar. We could still have live tiles as an "option"</p>

  • webguynj

    Premium Member
    27 February, 2017 - 12:08 pm

    <p>What does Microsoft get out of having a launcher on Android – Why waste a single hour or dollar on this?</p>


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