Google is going to take the wraps off of Android N this coming spring but it’s possible that the newest version of Google’s mobile operating system will remove a longtime feature: The app drawer. In case you’re not familiar with the app drawer, it’s the icon on the bottom of your Android device’s display that you can click to access all the applications on your device, not just the ones that are on your home screen.
The app draw icon typically looks like this:
If you look at the beginning of this video that Google released over the weekend to show off Google Maps’ capabilities, you’ll notice that it features a Nexus 6P home screen that doesn’t contain an app drawer:
— Google Maps (@googlemaps) February 26, 2016
Droid Life comments that this isn’t definitive proof that the app drawer is going away, although we have been hearing rumors about Google dumping it in the next version of Android for a while now.
“It has been rumored off and on for a couple of months that the next version of Android may not have an app drawer,” Droid Life explains. “Assuming this video isn’t just a bad mock-up that wasn’t meant to confuse the world, yet is, then we could be looking into the future here.”
The reaction to the potential removal of the app drawer in the Android fan community has been decidedly mixed. While some have pointed out that removing the app drawer will just force people to create separate folders for different apps just as iPhone users do, others say they would miss this differentiating feature.
“Why fix (screw up) something that’s not broken Google??” asks one fan in a thread on /r/Android that popped up over the weekend.
“I will be extremely upset if they force me to keep all my apps on a homescreen,” said another.
At any rate, this is all still a rumor so I wouldn’t be too worried about the app drawer’s fate just yet. And besides, most Android users will have to wait a long time to get Android N anyway, so they’ll get to enjoy the app drawer for at least another year or two even if it gets removed in the new software.