Google Pixel UI

Google Pixel UI
Android "Oreo" 8.0 home screen with Pixel Launcher
Developer Google
Written in Java (UI), C (Core), C++
OS family Android, Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source with proprietary components
Initial release October 4, 2016 (2016-10-04)
Latest release 8.0.0 / August 24, 2017 (2017-08-24)
Latest preview 8.1.0 / October 25, 2017 (2017-10-25)
Available in Multilingual
Update method Firmware over-the-air
Kernel type Monolithic (modified Linux kernel)
Default user interface Graphical
License Apache License 2.0 GNU GPL 2.0 for the Linux Kernel modifications

Google Pixel UI is an Android skin used for the Google Pixel line of smartphone and tablet computer, and developed by Google.[1][2]

Unlike the Nexus phones, which Google shipped with "stock" Android, the Pixel UI that came with the first generation Pixel phones were slightly modified compared to "stock" Android. Currently, Pixel UI and its home launcher are available on Pixel family devices only. (However, third party modifications allow non Pixel smartphones to install the Pixel Launcher with Google Now feed integration)[3]


During the launch of Android 4.x "Ice Cream Sandwich", Google had started to replace some of the stock Android apps with Google apps, including the stock Android music apps with Google Play Music, and Android browser with Google Chrome. By the launch of Android 4.4.x "KitKat", most of the stock Android apps had been replaced with Google apps, such as the stock Android gallery being replaced with Google Photos and etc.[4] This also includes the Android home launcher being replaced with the Google Now Launcher, allowing users to access to their Google Now feed more conveniently.[5] However, the rest of the UI was still similar to stock Android, including the settings menu and toggles buttons colors.[6]

Google officially launched the Pixel Launcher and Pixel UI together the Pixel phones; unlike the Google Now Launcher which allowed non Nexus phones to install, the Pixel Launcher was only available on the Pixel phones. Most Android smartphones including Nexus phones are not compatible with the launcher.[7] Some of the modifications Google had done to differentiate Pixel UI with stock Android included the setting toggle's buttons colors, and 24/7 online support which allowed the user to get direct support from Google's customer support.[8]

Version history

Version Android Version Release date Highlight
Pixel UI "7.1.1" Android 7.x "Nougat" October 20, 2016 Initial release
Pixel UI "8.1.0" Android 8.x "Oreo" October 19, 2017 Updated UI
Pixel UI "9-4836503" Android 9.x "Pie" August 6, 2018 Updated UI

Devices running Pixel Launcher and Pixel UI


  1. "Pixel Launcher". Google. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  2. "Pixel – The First Phone by Google". Google. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  3. "Rootless Pixel 2 Launcher with Google Now page working". paphonb – XDA-Developers. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  4. "Google's iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  5. "In Android 4.4, Google Now is finally part of your home screen". Android Central. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  6. "Android 7.1.1 in pictures: Nexus versus Pixel". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  7. "Goodbye Google Now Launcher, hello Pixel Launcher". TechRepublic. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  8. "The Pixel's secret weapon: 24/7 support". Android Central. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
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