Unlauncher – freedom from distractions
As a GrapheneOS user, I've witnessed minimalism from the get-go. It's been a refreshing experience to be completely honest. The difference between the stock OS and GrapheneOS lies mostly in improved security and privacy in case of the latter. But, as I soon learned, it's also about its minimal approach. You might have heard or read something along the lines “fewer apps mean smaller attack surface”. And I completely agree with this sentiment. However, this isn't what I wanted to highlight today. The minimalist in me actually enjoys the sparse number of apps. More than that, these apps are quite bare-bones to begin with, which means fewer distractions for the end user. They won't try to pull you in. Ok, I've gotta admit, sometimes I wish they looked nicer, had brighter colours and had the 'wow effect'. But then I remember: I don't want to be slave to my smartphone. It's supposed to be a tool, like any other. This realisation is also why I started to look for minimalist launchers or home screens.
Over the years I've become a fan of minimalistic design. User interface should be utilitarian and allow me to get things done. For some time I was under the spell of the Light Phone 2. I even got one but soon discovered it was way underpowered for my needs. Still, the whole principle of a phone being just a tool stayed with me. So I began the process of 'decluttering' my digital spaces. You know, standard stuff like uninstalling apps I no longer needed, etc. There was just one element that didn't fit the puzzle: the home screen. So I performed a quick search. I typed 'launcher' on F-Droid. I figured I would start with simple, privacy respecting launchers. I installed several of them but one stood out: Unlauncher. It's an extremely simple and lightweight launcher for Android devices. In short, it transforms your smartphone into a feature phone. All Unlauncher does is present a list of up to 6 apps / tools and the rest stays hidden below. You can of course access all of your apps with a swipe up. There are shortcuts for dialer, settings and camera. If you wish, you can even disable them. The latest version offers several colour themes and can set the wallpaper based on the selected theme. Like I said, it's very, very simple and minimalist.
I realise that minimalism is not everybody's jam. But if you're like me and you want to simplify your device(s), give Unlauncher a try. The only side-effect you might notice after a few days of usage is less screen time for your eyeballs. But is it really something you should worry about?
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