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How Easily Can You Turn a Google Pixel into an Apple iPhone?

A photo of the copycat iOS 16 launcher on the Pixel 5 next to the actual thing on an iPhone 14 Pro

Photo: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

There is no shortage of apps in the Play Store that help Android looks like an iPhone. But many of them either depict older versions of iOS or haven’t had a significant software update in years. I discovered a developer who seems devoted to figuring out the task of aesthetically converting Android into iOS. The first of the apps is called Launcher iOS 16. It is precisely what you think: a launcher with iOS 16-like flavorings.

Once you install the app to your Android device, you can set it as a default launcher or set it up for the times when you want to switch into faux iOS mode. Most of the customization happens from the main page of the launcher app. You can adjust the app grid, customize which widgets to add to the front page, and adjust the intensity of the blur and animations throughout the interface. There’s even an option for a parallax wallpaper effect, and you can change specific icons to their iOS-specific counterparts. For instance, the Google News app carries the branding for Apple News instead.

While all this sounds neat, there are caveats to note about this particular app: while it gets the aesthetics down, it is not the most fluid experience. Trying to drag and place icons around the Home screen is pretty annoying, and it’s nothing like the experience on iOS. The widgets are also somewhat limited. If you opt for any built-in Android ones to play around with, their Google-designed Material You aesthetic doesn’t match the rest of the faux iOS 16.

Launcher iOS 16 is also teeming with ads. Almost any click performed inside the app will bring up an ad, which is frustrating when attempting a minor tweak. I would gladly pay for the option to remove the advertisements, because I’m a big believer in supporting the developer community, but it isn’t offered anywhere.

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