How to set different label for launcher rather than activity title?

The question:

This question has been asked before – but with no satisfying answer at all! So I’m trying it again.

I want to give my application launcher icon (the one that is displayed on the startscreen!) a different, shorter caption. It seems the launcher takes its label from the mainfest section about the main activity’s label, as here:

<activity android:name="MainActivity" android:label="@string/app_short_name">
    <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
    <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />

I already changed the original reference to my app’s name @string/app_name to a different, shorter string resource here.

BUT – big BUT: this also of course changes this activity’s default title! And I did not want that to happen, there’s enough space for a long application name! Setting the long title again in onCreate using the setTitle(int) method does no good either, because the short name will be visible to the user for a short time, but long enough to notice!

And – please don’t answer my question by refering to a custom titlebar… I do not want to go that long way, just because of a stupid string title! It’s a pain to draw a custom title bar for so little effect!

Is there no easy way to just give the launcher a different string to display?
Thanks for your answers!

Edit: One more reason why having a custom titlebar is a pain is that it will not look like the default titlebar, I would have to explicitly do things to make it look alike on each device! And that can’t be a solution if, after all, I don’t want a different appearance!

The Solutions:

Below are the methods you can try. The first solution is probably the best. Try others if the first one doesn’t work. Senior developers aren’t just copying/pasting – they read the methods carefully & apply them wisely to each case.

Method 1

Apparently <intent-filter> can have a label attribute. If it’s absent the label is inherited from the parent component (either Activity or Application). So using this, you can set a label for the launcher icon, while still having the Activity with it’s own title.

Note that, while this works on emulators, it might not work on real devices, because it depends on the launcher implementation that is used.

  <intent-filter android:label="@string/app_name">
    <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
    <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />

Side Note: <intent-filter> can also have an icon attribute, but
inexplicably it does not override the icon specified in the
Activity. This may be important to you if you plan to use the native
ActionBar in SDK 11+, which uses Icon and Logo specified on the

Added Info: The label is being inherited from Activity and not the Application.

        android:theme="@style/AppTheme" >

            android:label="@string/app_long_name" >
                <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
                <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />

In this case, app_long_name will be displayed with launcher icon, if we do not put label inside as mentioned above.

Method 2

I was looking for the same thing and here’s what worked for me.

<activity android:name="MainActivity" android:label="@string/app_short_name">
    <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
    <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />

This will give a short name to your application launcher icon.

To add a larger name to the application bar you just have to add:


to your main activity java file.

Method 3

Solution of Mark Renouf fails to me (using Nexus 4 and Android 4.4). It fails when using shortcuts, shortcuts use the main activity label instead of the app name. I saw some apps like GMail and Google Keep that works fine. But when you open them, I notice its like a moment between the title is blank and the title appears (which seems better than the app name flashing before setting the title using setTitle()).

So here is the best solution I found:

Create a style where the ActionBar does not show the title/label:

<style name="NoActionBarTitle" parent="android:Theme.Holo.Light.DarkActionBar">
    <item name="android:actionBarStyle">@style/NoActionBarTitle.ActionBar</item>

<style name="NoActionBarTitle.ActionBar" parent="@android:style/Widget.Holo.ActionBar">
    <item name="android:displayOptions">showHome|useLogo</item>

I’m using a navigation drawer and using a logo (because I use a logo and an icon for my app). You can use whatever but don’t use showTitle. Then in the AndroidManifest.xml, set the theme for the MainActivity:

        <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />

Then, in the onCreate() method of the MainActivity, set the title of your Action Bar:


After it, you can call:


Tricky but worth.

Method 4

This probably won’t satisfy what you want to do, but have you thought about creating a splash screen that displays very briefly (with the default title) and then launches your new actual “main” activity with the title of your choosing using the setTitle(int) method? I have not tried this to see if it works but that might create a pleasant work around that does not show of the less than seamless nature of what you are trying to achieve.

Method 5

For anyone using Support / Appcompat Toolbar via the setSupportActionBar() method, the Activity title can be set in Toolbar XML:


This will override application and activity labels set in the manifest.

Method 6

I found a workaround for this problem

In manifest.xml

Write your app’s name in the android:label of the launcher(main) activity.

This will make the label of your main activity same as that of the app label.

Then, in the onCreate() function of your Launcher(main) activity write this statement

if (getSupportActionBar() != null) {
            getSupportActionBar().setTitle("main activity label");

Here write the label that you want to give to your Launcher(main) activity.

Method 7

You can do something like this:

public class FooBar extends Activity {
    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        // change title
        getWindow().setFeatureInt(Window.FEATURE_CUSTOM_TITLE, R.layout.my_title);

You’ll have to create a custom layout to hold the title. It could be as simple as (called my_title.xml in this case):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  android:text="foo bar"/>

In your AndroidManifest.xml file you just have to set the title for the app, which is what is going to be shown in the launcher icon. For your activity you don’t need to set a title there.

Method 8

The launcher actually shows android:label and android:icon for activity(ies) that declare

    <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
    <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />

so application label is of no use.

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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