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Microsoft Launcher picks up custom icon gestures, Android O support, and more

Following a couple of weeks in the oven with beta testers, Microsoft is shipping out another new set of features for Microsoft Launcher on Android. Included in the latest update are custom gesture controls for app icons, full Android O support, updates to the relatively new family card, and more.

The most notable of these additions is the new gesture controls for apps. Microsoft Launcher users will now be able to swipe up from icons to perform custom actions. To set the action you want to associate with the gesture, you can tap and hold on an icon to see a new option to add an action to be associated with the gesture. Once you've set things up, you'll be able to swipe up on the icon or folder to take whatever action you've chosen.

Other bits tagging along in this update are web filtering for the family card, alphabetical sorting for folders in the app drawer, and general UI and animation improvements. Here's a look at the full release notes:

  • Folder and app icon gestures (swipe to open or click to launch).
  • Choose how to use the last row of expanded dock: Apps, pinned contacts, folders, search bar or widgets;
  • Parents can enable web filtering through the Family card.
  • Folders in the app drawer are now sorted alphabetically.
  • UI improvements: Animation adjustments; blur effect as an option; App badges in the app drawer;
  • Fully support Android 8.0 and remove support for 4.0.X and 4.1

If you're already using Microsoft Launcher, you can grab all of these features now via the latest update on Google Play.

See at Google Play (opens in new tab)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to

  • I'm not sure I'll use the swipe gestures, but I'm very happy I can change the last row of the dock. That annoyed me with the default being basically the same things I can already get by swiping down from the top of the screen. It did not feel intuitive on the dock to me.
  • Has anyone actually gotten Cortana to read SMS in the car?
  • Not Cortana, but "ReadItToMe" got really close. It can be configured like cortana to be on all the time or triggered by a device. In my 2012 Escape, it does read and I can reply to sms messages, but only if I am listening in on a Bluetooth audio source. The other mode of cutting into any other source like cortana did only works the first time you set it up, broke the next day. Might be a limitation of my car.
  • Did you get into the Cortana Beta? I opted in a few days ago, but cannot tell if I've been accepted?
  • Yes, I have been in it for a while. In the Play Store towards the bottom of the listing for Cortana you will see the section for opting out of the beta if you are in it.
  • Nice find!
  • I use android auto when in the car to read my texts. Used other systems but this one seems the best all round at the moment for reading texts and also stopping your phone going off with emails ext when driving. Only grip is the Google music add in for it is limited and it dose not pickup my radio app but dose for the BBC one
  • This IS REALLY something I miss from my old phone. I don't listen to audio using Bluetooth, so going through the audio cable is needed.
  • Can we still not use the long press icon shortcuts if We lock the home screen icons?
  • I just installed and loving it, tbh....!
  • Looks like they've removed the custom gesture feature with the latest update, assumedly because it doesn't work well with the custom gestures for the Surface Duo.