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(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

You've just installed the new beta of Google's Digital Wellbeing app on your Google Pixel or Pixel 2. But the app itself doesn't appear on your home screen or in your app drawer. How do you find it and launch it? A new utility called Pixel Shortcuts can help.

Designed by Chris Lacy -- the developer of the Action Launcher screen replacement app -- Pixel Shortcuts tries to make it easier to find and access installed apps that for one reason or another don't automatically pop up on the home screen or other obvious locations. The app is designed to help you more quickly access Google's new Digital Wellbeing app on Android 9 Pie on Pixel phones, but it also works with other Android launchers on Android Pie, including Pixel Launcher, Android Launcher, and Samsung Experience Home.

SEE: Organize your Android phone's home screen

Finding a specific app on your Android device can be a challenge. Some apps appear on your home screen and in the app drawer. Some appear only in the app drawer. And others are buried deep in the Android settings screen or some other hard-to-reach location. An app such as Pixel Shortcuts aims to save you time and effort by putting such apps front and center.

The Digital Wellbeing app, which shows you which apps you use the most and how much time you spend using them, won't officially be released until later in the year. The app is currently in beta but is available only for owners of a Google Pixel phone. Those who qualify can sign up for the beta release. The Pixel Shortcuts app doesn't install the Digital Wellbeing app on your phone; for that, you still need to request the beta. After you do install it, you can find Digital Wellbeing in Settings.

Despite the name, you can use Pixel Shortcuts on non-Pixel Android phones. Which apps you can add to your home screen or app drawer vary based on your model phone.

For now, Pixel Shortcuts supports four key apps:

  • Digital Wellbeing for Pixel phones
  • Pixel Launcher for Pixel phones
  • Samsung Experience Home for Samsung phones
  • The stock Android launcher for all Android phones.

But the developer invites you to "hit him up" on Twitter if you have others apps that you'd like to see added to the lineup.

How to use Pixel Shortcuts

After downloading and installing Pixel Shortcuts from Google Play, launch the app. You'll see that it uses a cards interface similar to Google Now.

The first card you'll see is one to add a shortcut to Pixel Launcher to the app drawer and/or home screen. If you don't already have Action Launcher and would like to try that out, tap on the button to Get Action Launcher.

Next, if you have the Digital Wellbeing app, Pixel Shortcuts will allow you to place it on your home screen or in your app drawer. And finally, on a Samsung phone you'll have the option to also add a shortcut for the Samsung Home app to the home screen or app drawer.

For more information about Pixel Shortcuts, check out the handy FAQ.

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Takeaways

  1. With Pixel Shortcuts, you can add hard-to-find apps to your home screen and app drawer.
  2. Pixel Shortcuts supports the beta of the new Digital Wellbeing app, but you still need to first get the Wellbeing app through Google's beta sign-up program.

Also see

Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."