Why use SPMC as the default launcher?
This section explains how to replace the default Android TV Launcher (Leanback Launcher) with SPMC. This can be done without rooting the SHIELD.
Setting SPMC as the default launcher means that the SHIELD will boot directly into SPMC when you turn it on, and the normal Android TV user interface will not be started. If you launch another app from SPMC and then press the “Home” button on your remote, you will return to SPMC as this is now the default launcher.
As SPMC is much more customizable than Leanback Launcher you will be able to set up your SHIELD so that it only presents the apps and features you want to use and in a user interface that is easy to use.
Replacing the default launcher does require a bit of work. You will need to install an Android tool on your PC and connect your PC to the SHIELD with a USB cable. If you do not want to go through this trouble, then as an alternative you can set up a simple autostart of SPMC when you turn on the SHIELD by following this guide:
This autostart method will not replace the default launcher, so Leanback Launcher will still be loaded and you will go back to that launcher when you press the “Home” button.
If you do want to set SPMC as the default launcher, you can follow the steps described below. You can also change back to Leanback Launcher again if you change your mind later, so no need to worry.
First install a shortcut to Android settings in SPMC
Before you replace the default launcher it is important to have a way to get to the Android settings from within SPMC. The easiest way to achieve this is to download this app:
It’s a simply shortcut app that opens the Android TV settings when launched. Download the app and transfer it to the SHIELD using the methods described in the “Basics” section. Then install the app on the SHIELD, add it to favorites in SPMC and use this to create a shortcut in SPMC:
Enable debug mode on the SHIELD
Next step is to enable debug mode on the SHIELD. This allows you to connect to the SHIELD from your PC over USB using the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) tool.
To enable debug mode go into “Settings” and to the “About” section. Move down to the “Build” line and click this line 10 times in a row. This will enable the developer options. Then go into the developer options and enable USB debugging:
Install ADB on your PC
Now you need a PC with the ADB tool installed. For this example I will use a Windows PC. You need to download the Android SDK and then use the SDK Manager to download the platform tools:
Use ADB to disable Leanback Launcher on the SHIELD
Now you are ready to send commands from your PC to the SHIELD. Connect your PC to the SHIELD with a USB cable. Windows should say that the SHIELD has been detected. Go into a command prompt to the folder with the Android SDK. Use the “adb” tool to run the following command:
adb shell pm hide com.google.android.leanbacklauncher
This will hide the Leanback Launcher on the SHIELD making it switch the default launcher to SPMC:
If you want to enable Leanback Launcher again you need to send this command to the SHIELD:
adb shell pm unhide com.google.android.leanbacklauncher