Even after installing a custom launcher in Android 4.4 Kit Kat, you are still left with a Google search widget that is now a permanent fixture taking up precious screen space. Here’s how to get rid of it.
The Google Search bar has traditionally been a widget on the Android home screen, easily removed just like any other widget, but with the development of Android 4.4 Kit Kat came an all new home screen and app launcher that is powered by Google Now.
As Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo points out: “Google Search isn’t just integrated into the home screen, it is the home screen. Everything you see on the home screen—the wallpaper, the icons, the widgets, and the app drawer—are all drawn by the Google Search app.”
Users who enjoy a higher level of customization may notice that even after installing a custom launcher you are still left with a Google search widget that is no longer removed by the trusty long press. It’s now a permanent fixture taking up precious screen space.
If you are looking for a way to remove the Google Now search bar from your custom launcher home screen, you can disable Google Search all together by following these steps:
Note: In this example, we are using a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 with Apex Launcher.
Step 1: Nagivate to Settings > General > Application Manager > All Applications. In the giant list of applications, find and tap on Google Search to enter the App info.
Step 2: Tap on the “Turn Off” button, this option may also be labeled “disable app” or similar.
Step 3: You will be warned that turning off this app may cause errors in any other apps that rely on Google Search functionality. Hit OK, and now that pesky search bar should now be out of your way.
If you ever decide you can’t live without Google Search, you can always restore it by following the same steps used to disable it. The only difference is in step two you will navigate to the “Turned off Applications” instead of “All Applications.”
The best part is, this method works for more than just Google Search. Disabling apps is a great way to remove annoying bloatware without rooting your device (even though disabling an app doesn’t actually remove it from the system, but it does keep it from running in the background).