Android is an amazing thing, not least because manufacturers get it for free. But Google isn’t giving away Android out of the goodness of its heart. Android has an ulterior motive, and that motive is to keep as many people as possible using Google services. There’s no better illustration of that than the omnipresent Google Search bar on every Android home screen, which Google really really really really really wants you to use. But what if you would rather not have a big search bar plastered across the middle of your phone? Here’s how to remove the Google Search bar from your Android home screen.
Why Google doesn’t want you to remove the Google Search bar
It’s partly because Google wants you to use Google Search, but it’s also because of Google Now: because Google Now is such an important part of recent Android releases, Google wants you to use it as much as possible. Taking the Google Search bar and its microphone button off the home screen might affect that.
Why would you want to remove the Google Search bar anyway?
The most common reason is on-screen real estate: that bar takes up a lot of room that could be put to better use by displaying app icons or more of your Nyan Cat wallpaper.
How to remove the Google Search bar with a custom launcher
This is by far the easiest way of getting rid of the Google Search bar: simply find yourself a handsome custom launcher such as Nova Launcher or Apex Launcher and you can completely customize Android to look and work the way you want it to - including removing the Google Search bar from your home screen.
Third party custom launchers are brilliant things, and Nova and Apex aren’t the only ones out there. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the best Android launchers available, and we’re pretty sure at least one of them will excite and delight you.
Removing the Google Search bar by disabling Google Search
This option has obvious consequences: if you disable Google Search integration on your Android device, you won’t be able to use Google Search for things such as Google Now. It also deletes your saved search data, so if you change your mind and resurrect Google Search it’ll take a while before the personalization reaches the accuracy you were used to. Still want to do it? Here’s how.
Go into SettingsGo to Apps / Applications / App Manager (the name depends on your device)
Swipe to All
Scroll to Google Search and tap on it
Tap on Disable
Tap on OK when it asks if you’re sure
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It’s worth noting that there have been widespread reports of this method causing problems on stock Android devices, such as Nexuses, so try this one at your own risk.
How to get the Google Search bar back once you’ve removed it
You’d think that re-enabling Google Search would just be a matter of going into Apps, finding Google Search and clicking an Enable button. Nope! It’s a bit more complicated than that, because when you disable Google Search it vanishes from the app listing. To bring it back, you’ll need to head for the Google Play store, search for Google Search and then tap on the Enable button (there’s no install button because it’s already on your device, albeit hiding).
How to remove the Google Search bar by rooting your Android device
This won’t come as a surprise: if you root your phone you can remove the Google Search bar. If you don’t already know about rooting, it’s when you grant yourself complete control over your phone - at the root level. A rooted Android is almost infinitely customizable, and once you’ve rooted your device almost any custom ROM will let you uninstall the Google Search app.
Worried that rooting will void the warranty on your device? Don’t be: we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to root your Android device without voiding the warranty, and you’ll find it here.
Have you removed Google Search from your home screen? Did the process cause problems on your Nexus, or was it smooth on your Samsung? Share your experience in the comments!