Nova Launcher beta update brings transparent notification bar and nav buttons on Android 4.4+


nova launcher beta

Android 4.4’s new Google Experience Launcher brought us a very subtle, yet nice user interface change that gave the phone a really clean look. I’m talking about transparency in the navigation area and the notification bar. It’s not going to make or break your experience, but it’d be nice if custom launchers could enjoy that same visual fidelity. Thankfully, one of them now does.

I’m talking about Nova Launcher, one of the most well-known and widely used home-screen replacement apps currently sitting in the Google Play Store. A new beta update has come out that will allow users on Android 4.4 — or any phone that supports transparency in the navigation bar (see the list below) — to get transparent status and navigation bars.

Here’s a list of phones these new features should work on:

  • Samsung Galaxy S3 (on Android 4.3)
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Sony Xperia Z
  • Motorola Moto X
  • HTC One (rooted)
  • Any Android 4.4 device (Nexus 5)

Beyond that, this update also brings an option that will enable the new-style page indicator for the home screen and the new apps drawer icon. Wondering how to get into the beta? It’s simple: join this Google+ community, then head here to opt-in to the beta. From there, you should soon see an update for Nova Launcher in the Google Play Store.

It’s worth a spin if you aren’t a fan of the Google Experience Launcher but want that added bit of transparency. If you happen to be able to get transparent UI elements on phones other than the ones listed below, be sure to drop a line in the comments section and let us know!

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. What? No support for Galaxy Note 3? (sigh)

    1. Doesn’t matter, Nova Launcher Prime already supports transparent status bar. I know because I currently have it on my Note 3 and am using a transparent status bar. In fact, I had it on my Note 8.0 tablet, even prior to it ever showing up on the Nexus 5, so that customization isn’t really “new” news to me.

      1. Same here.

      2. I have prime too but it doesn’t give you the new 4.4 home screen transition or the app drawer. Seems to work on my Verizon Note 3, so I don’t know what all the confusion is.

        1. Yeah, I am not sure why there is any confusion.Only thing I can think is it is because older phones might not have supported initially? The mention of the transparent notification bar was really odd me.

  2. transparent notification bar has been available on nova for a while. it just tells you in the setting for it that it may work on your phone out it may not. It works on my Note 3 no problem and I haven’t updated yet.

    1. Very excited to get the Note 3 on AT&T, as soon as my contract w/ VZW is up next month.

      How’s the reception w/ Note 3? Wifi and mobile? Thanks.

    2. Where is the setting?

    3. Excuse my ignorance but where is it? I’m on a GS3 on CM10.2 and can’t find it/never seen it. (not trolling, I just wanna be able to enable it)

    4. Wait what?
      There is no transparent notification bar option, at least not on my HTC One

      1. Nova Settings> Look and Feel> second from the bottom option

        At least, that is where it is on my S4 with Nova Prime.

        1. For me that just says “Show Notification Bar” and if I uncheck it (on my Nexus 7, since my Nexus 5 isn’t shipping until December D: ), all it does is hide my notification bar completely, it doesn’t display it transparently :-

          1. Same. Maybe he thinks transparent means you cannot see it at all.

          2. Nope, transparency is pretty self explanatory. :)

          3. I definitely don’t have that. Only thing I have under show notification is hide clock. Lucky.

          4. I have another option right under the show notification setting to make it transparent. It has a message about the phone/rom needs to support it but I’m on stock (but rooted) touchwiz on my S4. It’s been there ever since I’ve had the phone. I haven’t even done the recent beta update yet. I’m pretty sure I had this setting on my galaxy nexus (also rooted) as well.

          5. that’s weird, on my Nexus 7 I enabled the beta and everything and all it shows is “Show Notification Bar” and “Hide Clock” here’s a screenshot:

          6. Weird.

          7. Thanks for sharing the screenshot so I can see how it’s supposed to look. I’m sure for some reason it’s not showing up at all on my N7 maybe because it’s a tablet? Either that, or something weird about it being a rooted vanilla N7 means it’s not compatible? :- Either way, it’s cool, I’ll just have to wait patiently until Google rolls out 4.4 for the N7, then I’m sure it’ll work. :-)

          8. I don’t have it on Note 2 either, our devices must not be compatible.

          9. Keyword “Nova Prime”. Stop being cheap and pay for the doggone app, I’m sure you use it plenty.

  3. meh.. i like the ICS style better

  4. Apex has had the transparent notification bar for quite awhile now.

  5. I’ve been trying, but can’t get to like this new launcher. EXCEPT for the transparent notification bar. That’s something I’ve always wanted. (Or semi-transparent. Whatever.) But the rest!!! It should’ve stayed ICS. : ( Even the permanent Google search bar – in ICS – looked better than Jellybean – and now… Still getting the Nexus 5 though. : D

    1. Even for a beautiful stock Nexus the first app is Nova for me. Toss the permanent search bar and actually reclaim that space for full desktop grid use instead of just disabling it, make everything punchier (I really like the fastest animation setting) and I couldn’t live without gesture controls now. For anyone who loves stock it’s a good way to get even more transparency.

  6. F***ing AT&T keeping me on 4.1.2. I want that transparent status bar.

    1. 4.3 is suppose to be available Wednesday

      1. Nope, didn’t happen. Still stuck on 4.1.2

  7. This feature has been working on my S4 with Nova for quite a while.

  8. Wow… the G2 gets no love I see… all good, I get transparent notifications and nav buttons with xposed… #bawse

  9. And yet, still no KitKat in site for Nexus users.

    1. Yeah. And GPE HTC One is supposed to be getting KitKat by next week. i’ll be damned if they get KitKat before we Nexus users.

      1. I recall reading it’s meant to be this week. I’ll be disappointed in Google if we don’t have it in the next few days. I understand they modify it to work on the Nexus 4 but that doesn’t mean they had weeks to prepare before the N5 even came out.

  10. I have the LG G2 and it works for me.

    1. How? 4.4 ROM?

    2. Transparent notification & nav bars with Nova Prime?

  11. What’s it about the Nexus 4 that these features aren’t available on it?

    1. “users on Android 4.4”

      Two words. Kit. Kat.

      1. “users on Android 4.4”

        Two words. Kit. Kat.


        Did you read all the other words in the list of devices for which this feature is supported? That is, do you realise there are a bunch of devices that don’t have Kit Kat now and yet have access?

        What’s so different about the ROM of the Nexus 4 compared to the ROMs of those devices?

      2. “users on Android 4.4”
        Two words. Kit. Kat.


        Did you read all the other words in the list of devices for which this feature is supported? That is, do you realise there are a bunch of devices that don’t have stock Kit Kat now and yet have access?

        What’s so different about any Kit Kat based ROM of the Nexus 4 compared to the Kit Kat based ROMs of those devices?

  12. Working perfectly on my Note 3

  13. Works fine on note 3

  14. Works flawlessly on the Galaxy Note 3 running 4.3 sans root. I’m also using the Kitkat experience theme and 4.4 Google search apk to get the full experience …. “OK Google” :)

  15. I’m on a Moto X with Nova prime and do not have this option

    1. Did you or anyone else ever get this to work on your Moto X? I cant get it to take effect.

  16. I don’t see it on my g2 or new nexus 7

  17. no transparent status bar on my device :( but in miui i have transparent status bar already

  18. I’ve had that on my S3 with Nova for quite some time. Running on top of the MOAR ROM (for Sprint phones only).

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