App Categorization

Some of Niagara Launcher's features require additional information about apps, like their category, similar apps, or similar app icons. This information is difficult to obtain and usually requires computational power and lots of data. That is why we store this data on our servers instead of filling your phone with large databases you might not fully utilize. This means some features require us to send an app's identifier (often referred to as package name) to our servers.


We know some of you might be uncomfortable sending data about your apps to our servers, and we respect that. This is why we are trying to be as transparent as possible and only use this kind of data where absolutely necessary. In addition, we want to stress that any data sent to our servers is entirely anonymized and will not be linked to your identity in any way.

We want to ensure you know when you need to enable app categorization to use a particular feature. That's why we have added a custom permission you will need to grant before any of the features listed below send any data at all.

The cool thing about having a custom permission is that you can stop all of Niagara's features from using app categorization with one toggle, which you can find here:

Niagara Settings 🡪 Advanced 🡪 Analytics 🡪 App Categorization

Disabling app categorization will also disable all dependent features alongside it.

Improving the categorization algorithm

To improve our app categorization algorithm, we keep track of certain user actions (but only if you have general usage analytics enabled). For example, a user with a third-party icon pack selects icon B for one of their apps, app A. If many users do this, we will start recommending others to use icon B for app A. This way, our features using app categorization will continue to get better.

The app categorization permission is disconnected from the usual analytics. So, you can enable app categorization without the general Firebase-based usage analytics. If you have general usage analytics disabled, the app categorization switches to a read-only mode, which means we don't use your categorization requests to expand our category and similar app data sets. To turn off usage statistics go to:

Niagara Settings 🡪 Advanced 🡪 Analytics 🡪 Share error and usage reports

Features using App Categorization

Below, you will find a list of Niagara features using app categorization and how exactly they use it as well as what they use it for:

Icon Assistant

Icon Assistant autocorrecting missing icons after applying an icon pack

We use app categorization to deliver icon recommendations for hundreds of thousands of apps.

Here's how it works: Say you want to retrieve icon suggestions for your favorite clock app. Niagara Launcher forwards the request to one of our servers alongside the app's identifier, and the server verifies that you have unlocked Niagara Pro since the icon suggestion feature is exclusive to Niagara Pro users. Our algorithm processes your request and sends back similar app icons for your clock app without storing any data that could identify who made the request.

However, we may use the app's identifier to learn about new apps, which will, in turn, improve the algorithm for everyone. If you would rather not expose the package name, for example, for unreleased apps or internal test versions, you can disable “Share error and usage reports” in Niagara Launcher's settings. Then the server will not keep any information at all. It'll only return similar app icons but won't contribute to improving the algorithm, which may result in more uncategorized apps.

Our suggestion algorithm also improves over time: If you have enabled Icon Assistant and individually change an app icon, e.g., you apply a suggestion, we let the algorithm know, so it learns what suggestions are the best. Once again, we don’t log  who changed the icon; we remove all data from your request that could identify you.

We only use the data to improve the Icon Assistant or for aggregated public statistics.

Anycons Family

As you might know, there are countless apps, so many in fact, that icon pack creators can not realistically design icons for all apps. This can lead to inconsistent-looking home screens and an overall busy look.

So what if we design icons for the most often-used apps and a bunch of icons for specific categories of apps instead? This way, as long as we know an app's category, we can always give it a fitting icon, putting an end to Swiss-cheese-looking setups.

That is precisely what our Anycons Family does. When applying one of these icon packs, we check for each app whether we have an individual icon for it. If we do, all is well, but if we do not, we ask our servers about it. They will then try to determine the app's category and tell us. Back on your device, we can apply fitting icons to all apps!

However, our app categorization isn't perfect. You might find a much more fitting icon for an app, so when you change icons individually, we take note and improve future categorizations for you and others.

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