Microsoft keeps making improvements to its Launcher for Android, and today, beta testers are getting the chance to try version 5.5 with a few new features and improvements. The latest release also includes the slightly redesigned icon we reported on a few days ago.
The biggest changes in this version include the ability to choose a shape for your icons, which the launcher will apply to everything in your app list, as well as the ability to hide your app dock. Hiding it means it won't be visible on the screen unless you swipe up to open it. Here's the full changelog from Microsoft:
- Adaptive Icons- Have the same look for your app icons with multiple shape choices.
- Hidden Dock- The hidden dock is back. You can set the dock to be hidden and still access your apps and widgets.
- Tasks card syncing is now faster for MSA and work/school accounts.
- Experience adjustments for accessing shortcuts when the home screen is locked.
- Get notification badges for calling and messaging apps without setting Microsoft Launcher as your default assistant. For more accurate badges, set Launcher as your default assistant.
Beyond what's mentioned in the changelog, Microsoft seems to have made noticeable changes to the iconography of the app, including the quick actions available in the dock, or the voice command button in the search bar. While this is new on our test device, Microsoft did test some UI changes in version 5.4, but they were limited in availability, so it could just be that this change is more broadly available.
If you haven't yet, you can download Microsoft Launcher for Android from the Play Store, where you can also sign up for the beta version to get updates like this a little sooner. Otherwise, the new release should make its way to the general public sometime soon.