There was a time when all my frequently used apps and contacts were neatly stacked and accessible just one tap away, either by using gestures, extra dock page or using the traditional home screen shortcuts and widgets.
These days, however, the average number of apps and contacts we all need to access on a regular basis has increased many folds, and simply relying on an organized home screen isn’t very pragmatic. Spring cleaning helps, but if you don’t want to invest time tidying up and organizing your home screen and launcher shortcuts every now and then, here are a few Universal search apps and widgets that could help you access all apps and shortcuts with a few keystrokes.
Fast Finder (download) is perhaps the fastest way to find anything on your Android phone. It gathers all related information in one place including your apps, contacts, videos, and even junk files. You can also directly interact with search results (say, call or message a phone contact) by tapping the relevant icons.
To access it quickly:
– You can add the app widget as a search bar on any of your home screen
– Place the app tile in your quick settings if you are running Android Nougat +
– Assign a launcher gesture to the fast finder app (double tap, swipe up, etc.)
Once you open the app, you can type any keyword and access apps, contacts, music, videos or any other file in a jiffy.
Sesame Shortcuts on Nova Launcher
Nova launcher is one of the best Android launchers and also the one that gets updated with new cool features very frequently. If you are a minimalist, it can also be customized to look and behave like the stock Google launcher.
Using Sesame shortcuts on Nova Launcher (Beta), you can add and search for custom shortcuts, contacts, and more, directly from your app drawer ( the same way you’d search for an app).
To start with you will need to download:
Sesame shortcuts: The app gives 14-day free trial, and after the trial period you can either pay or endure gentle payment reminders.
Now grant Sesame shortcuts accessibility and other permissions and toggle it on for the Nova launcher. You can also add custom shortcuts for other apps like Evernote, Netflix, Spotify and more. And when you long press on the respective app icons on the home screen you can directly access these app shortcuts.
Once you are done, just type whatever you are looking for in your App search bar.
Google Search in Apps or Voice commands
If you are a basic user and don’t find yourself juggling between a ton of apps, you can simply use the Google Search bar widget, which is by default present on all Android phones to directly access contacts, installed apps, Gmail and other Google services data.
You can use the Google bar to search through your app data, contacts, and other Google services like Gmail directly.
You will, however, have to scroll down past search results to reach relevant shortcuts. Also, tap on ‘search in app’ option for extensive search results as shown in the second image.
You could also say Ok Google and use voice commands like ‘Call XYZ’ or Open ABC to directly open apps, message contacts, or to place a call.