Creating a custom look-and-feel across Android Enterprise fully managed devices

This week is all about Android Enterprise fully managed devices. More specifically, this week is all about creating a single look-and-feel across all Android Enterprise fully managed devices by using the Microsoft Launcher app. Similar to working with Android Enterprise dedicated devices and using the Managed Home Screen app. The Microsoft Launcher app provides many configuration options that can be configured by using an app configuration policy. That in combination with the recently introduced feature to configure the Microsoft Launcher app as the default launcher, enables the administrator to create a custom look-and-feel across all Android Enterprise fully managed devices. In this post I’ll show how to add the Microsoft Launcher app, how to configure the Microsoft Launcher app and how to configure the default launcher app. All the required actions for configuring a custom look-and-feel across all Android Enterprise fully managed devices. I’ll end this post by showing the end-user experience.

Configure a custom look-and-feel across Android Enterprise fully managed devices

Let’s start with the steps that are specific to creating a custom look-and-feel across Android Enterprise fully managed devices. For that I will assume that the enrollment of Android Enterprise fully managed devices is already configured and I’ll focus on the steps that are specifically related to configuring that custom look-and-feel. Those steps are: 1) adding the Microsoft Launcher app, 2) creating a custom look-and-feel for the Microsoft Launcher app, and 3) configuring the Microsoft Launcher app as the default launcher. More details of these steps are described below.

Add the Microsoft Launcher app

The first step, in creating a custom look-and-feel across all Android Enterprise fully managed devices, is to add the Microsoft Launcher app as an app to Microsoft Intune and to assign it to the required users or devices. The Microsoft Launcher app can be set to a specific background and can be configured as the custom launcher on Android Enterprise fully managed devices. The following seven steps walk through the simple process of adding the Microsoft Launcher app as a Managed Google Play store app.

  1. Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal and navigate to Apps > Android to open the Android | Android apps page
  2. On the Android | Android apps, click Add to open the Select app type page
  3. On the Select app type page, select Managed Google Play app as the App type and click Select to open the Managed Google Play store
  4. In the Managed Google Play store, search for the Microsoft Launcher app, select the app and click Approve to open the Microsoft Launcher permissions dialog
  5. On the Microsoft Launcher permissions dialog, click Approve to switch to the Notifications tab
  6. On the Notifications tab, select Keep approved when app requests new permissions and click Done to return to the Managed Google Play store
  7. Back in the Managed Google Play store, click Sync to create apps that are added in Managed Google Play when the sync completes

Configure a custom look-and-feel for the Microsoft Launcher app

The second step, in creating a custom look-and-feel across all Android Enterprise fully managed devices, is to create an app configuration policy for the Microsoft Launcher app that is assigned to the required users or devices. The app configuration policy can be used to configure a custom look-and-feel for the Microsoft Launcher app. The custom look-and-feel in the Microsoft Launcher app can be used to configure a custom look-and-feel across the Android Enterprise fully managed devices. The following steps walk through the process of configuring the Microsoft Launcher app to at least show a custom background across the Android Enterprise fully managed devices. That will help with recognizing company devices.

  1. Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal and navigate to Apps > App configuration policies to open the Apps | App configuration policies page
  2. On the Apps | App configuration policies, click Add > Managed devices to open the Create app configuration policy wizard
  3. On the Basics page, provide the following information and click Next
  • Name: Provide a valid name for the app configuration policy
  • Description: (Optionally) Provide a valid description for the app configuration policy
  • Device enrollment type: Managed devices (already greyed out based on the initially selection)
  • Platform: Select Android Enterprise
  • Profile type: Select Device Owner Only
  • Targeted app: Select Microsoft Launcher
  1. a) On the Settings page, configure any additional required permissions by clicking Add as shown below in Figure 1.
  1. b) Also on the Settings page, perform the actual app configuration settings to set a custom device wallpaper in the Microsoft Launcher app by clicking Add and creating something similar as shown below in Figure 2.
  1. On the Scope tags page, configuring any required scope tags and click Next
  2. On the Assignments page, configure the required assignment that contains the applicable users or devices and click Next
  3. On the Review + create page, click Create

Configure the Microsoft Launcher app as the default launcher

The last step, in creating a custom look-and-feel across all Android Enterprise fully managed devices, is to create a device restrictions policy for configuring the default launcher that is assigned to the required users or devices. The device restrictions policy can be used to configure the Microsoft Launcher app as the default launcher on Android Enterprise fully managed devices. The following steps walk through the process of configuring the Microsoft Launcher app as the default launcher on the Android Enterprise fully managed devices.

  1. Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal and navigate to Devices > Android > Configuration profiles to open the Android | Configuration profiles page
  2. On the Android | Configuration profiles, click Create profile to open the Create a profile page
  3. On the Create a profile page, select the following information and click Create to open the Device restrictions wizard
  • Platform: Android Enterprise
  • Profile: Device restrictions
  1. On the Basics page, provide a valid name and (optionally) description for the device restriction policy and click Next
  2. On the Configuration settings page, configure at least the following settings in the Device restrictions sections (as shown in Figure 1) and click Next
  • Enrollment profile type: Fully managed
  • Make Microsoft Launcher the default launcher: Enabled
  1. On the Scope tags page, configuring any required scope tags and click Next
  2. On the Assignments page, configure the required assignment that contains the applicable users or devices and click Next
  3. On the Review + create page, click Create

End-user experience

Now let’s end this post by having a look at the end-user experience. This post was mainly focussed on creating a custom look-and-feel across all Android Enterprise fully managed devices by configuring a custom device wallpaper. The result of that configuration and the experience for the end-user, is shown on the right in Figure 4.

It’s good to know that this is just an example of the possibilities that are currently available via the Microsoft Launcher app as a custom launcher. Besides this basic, but most notable adjustment, the Microsoft Launcher app also provides configurations options for more adjustments, like the following:

  • Grid Size – The administrator can define the grid size for apps to be positioned on the home screen.
  • Feed – The administrator can enable the launcher feed on the device when the user swipes to the right on the home screen.
  • Search Bar – The administrator can specify the placement of search bar on the home screen.
  • Dock Mode – The administrator can enable the dock on the device when the user swipes to the right on the home screen.
  • Home Screen Apps – The administrator can define the set of apps that are visible on the home screen from amongst the apps installed on the device. 
  • Home Screen App Order – The administrator can specify the app order on the home screen
  • Home Screen Web Links – The administrator can pin websites to the home screen as quick launch icon.

More information

For more information about configuring the Microsoft Launcher app and configuring the default launcher, refer to the following articles:

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