Open Letter to Designers and Developers of Bliss Launcher

Why did you iOSify my Android?

Wait, let me back up a bit.

Beautiful user-first smartphones now come in a three-hit-combo that is the Fairphone, /e/OS, and Bliss Launcher. There are so many things done right in that combo, that it has restored my faith in FOSS.

That said, there’ a reason people chose Android over iOS, they want to make it their own. Our phone should open to the information and things we need, not a list of apps to scroll through. Home screens need to be customizable, with apps and widgets positioned where we want them, on whatever page we want. Give us edge-to-edge widgets. Give us an app drawer, and home screens that we control.

Want to go above and beyond? Make a better way to organize those screens that a horizontal scroll.

Certainly, many people prefer to not have to think about configuring their device, and want things to be intuitive. In that regard, you’ve nailed it. But Android fans tend to want to really make it their own, which is hard to do when the UI emulates much from iOS. If I wanted iOS, I would buy an Apple.

Please, please, bring the customizability back within this ecosystem. You’ve done great things for privacy, and there are a lot of awesome features in Bliss that I really want to keep. I’d be happy if it was an option that defaults to the current behavior. But please don’t iOSify my Android.

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Good news on the way

Suite du sujet Murena & /e/OS roadmap for 2023 and beyond :


Just install a different launcher / homescreen app. LawnChair, OpenLauncher are good non-iOSified examples.

I really dislike Bliss, but this ‘iOSified’ launcher is part of @GaelDuval’s original vision for /e/OS (along with other UI ‘improvements’ that have - luckily - fallen by the wayside). The great thing about Android-based OSs is that, if there’s something about your ROM you don’t like, you can usually find an alternative app that does it the way you do like.

We are promised an improved, updated Bliss launcher sometime, which may be an improvement over the current version, but in the meantime, if you don’t like it, use something different :slight_smile:

PS I’ve never seen much evidence that Bliss was ever actually ‘designed’ (or specified for that matter), much beyond saying “How about making a launcher that looks like iOS?” :wink:


Customisability is in the choice of the launcher itself already, as with every Android OS.

The /e/OS powers that be choose their own Bliss launcher, which does what they want it to do and looks how they want it to look, and there are users who really like it that way.
You are free to choose and install a different launcher anytime just as @petefoth suggested.


I think Bliss launcher is quite successful at achieving it’s initial goal. I have seen a lot of not very tech-savvy users very confused by concepts like the App Drawer.

Therefore I’m inclined to agree with the sentiment that it might be better for a power user to just use a different launcher for customization than to try and develop Bliss into something that it was never meant to be.

I think it’s a myth that people choose between iPhone or Android because of customizability. That may be true for the users of this forum, but my impression is that most people who buy Android devices just want a reasonably cheap phone that works.

Personally, I’m quite happy with the Launcher with the exception of the following shortcomings:

  • It has inherited the restriction to automatically close gaps in the grid from iOS
  • The thresholds for when icons move, change page etc. are much less refined than on “real iOS”, so moving an icon onto another page without it running away, skipping over a few and so on can be a challenge
  • The current implementation blocks access to the popup menu of the apps that shows after a long-press on most launchers. So to my understanding, it’s not possible to reach app properties, shortcuts like “compose new message” etc.

The Bliss launcher main screen with all the icons spread across was a deliberate choice. Ever tried explaining how to use a smartphone to a non technical person? Try explaing how to access notifications, swipe down to see the messages, or swipe up to see all the applications and see how it goes. I have tried explaining these steps over the phone with some of my older relatives and failed miserably. Finally had to call up some of my younger cousins to go over to their house and show them how it is done. The all icons on the main screen does irritate some of Android fans but it is actually easy for non technical folks to understand.
As far as IOS is concerned, in India the iPhone users are a very small group. Personally I have never used and guess seen an iPhone only one or twice. The beauty of android is you can install a launcher or application of your choice and use it as the default. No one is forcing you to stick with the default applications. While the team is making changes to the Launcher code, I believe the basic design with ‘all icons on the screen’ will remain. /e/OS has always been targetted at the non technical user.

On the horizontal scroll vs verticall scroll argument. If I remember correctly this horizontal scroll came with Pie but was not implemented on /e/OS initially. I clearly remember one of our regular user raised an issue in Gitlab and was very angry why it was not working on /e/OS. In fact he eventually left the forum and stopped using /e/OS. The non availabilty of the horizontal scroll was one of the reasons! Not sure we will ever be able to please everyone. But then you do not need to do that with Android. If you are using /e/OS and do not like a specific application you can select an app of your choice and use it.


I fully agree here. I’m more or less happy with bliss, except for the three points listed here.
The way this mostly impacts me is as follows:

  • Moving icons closer to your thumb rather than filling the page from the top would be great
  • the banking app I use has a currency converter which on the Google Pixel launcher can be reached by long-pressing the icon but apparently on bliss just plain isn’t reachable at all

Widgets would be nice to have but I kind of don’t miss them much because most of them aren’t actually all that useful. Somehow no one bothered to develop widgets that are actually practical to have on the home screen?

I like Bliss. Coming from an iPhone it made /e/ very satisfying to use.


Solved I know, but I’ve been using Simple Launcher since its recent f-droid update. Seems quite pretty and robust so far, and I think it ticks most of the boxes @wyrdnexus wanted right now. I’ll give the new Bliss a go when it lands, though!

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