Recognise this? That's the Google Search bar, and on some Android phones it is set to appear at the top of every home screen, taking up room you'd rather give to app shortcuts. Also see: Best custom Android UIs

There are a couple of quick and easy ways to remove the Google Search bar, and we'd advise starting with the most obvious: tap and hold the search bar, and see if you can drag it to a remove button at the top of the screen.

Unfortunately, if the phone came like that out the box, this probably isn't going to fix your problem. Here are some alternative fixes.

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Disable the Google app

The second easiest way to remove the search bar is to disable the Google app. However, it's not ideal because that space doesn't then become available for app shortcuts. It also stops Google Now working, so use this method only if you want to remove the search bar for aesthetic reasons.

Disable Google App

• Open Settings

• Select Apps

• Choose Google App

• Tap Disable

• Tap Disable App when prompted

Use a custom launcher

A better alternative is to install a custom launcher, which allows you to customise the way your Android home screen looks and works without removing any functionality from the phone.

There are literally thousands of free launcher apps, many of which can be found in Google Play. (We'd recommend sticking to only those launchers for security reasons.)

Simply go to the Play Store and install the launcher you most like the look of. There are paid-for and free launchers.

Here's Nova Launcher in action:

Remove Google Search Bar Android - Nova Launcher

• Open Google Play

• Search for Nova Launcher

• Select the app and click Install

• Once the installation has finished click Open

• If you've used Nova Launcher before you may have a backup you'd like to select, otherwise choose Skip

• Tap the Nova Launcher icon on your home screen to switch to that interface

• Now when you tap and hold the Google search bar you will be given options to resize, remove or edit it. Should you remove it this space can be used for apps

Edit Google Search Bar

• You can set Nova Launcher as the default launcher app in Settings, Apps, App Settings (click the cog icon), Home app

Read next: Best Android phones and Best Android tablets 2017

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