Android 101: Change the look and feel of your device in just a few simple steps
Sep 24, 2013 6:16 AM –
Welcome to the latest Android 101 in our series of easy-to-follow tutorials which are ideal for new Android users. In this article, we are going to take a little look at customization. While your device will come with a stock or native skin (as it looks out of the box), the levels of personalisation available in Android is extraordinary. While iPhone users get to change their wallpaper, you can really go to town on the entire look and feel of your Android!
Step 1: Download a new launcher
To begin with, your launcher probably needs to change. For example, the stock Android launcher (below) is elegant and user friendly, but it lacks many options you can find elsewhere. Most ‘native’ launchers are much the same in terms of their limitations.
There are dozens and dozens of great launchers available in the Google Play Store, but arguably the most powerful in terms of customization are Nova Launcher and Apex Launcher. Both are actually quite similar, but for this tutorial we will be using Apex Launcher. You can get it from the Google Play Store for free, although a paid for version features extra functionality.
Step 2: Find some themes
Once you have your launcher installed, you can first try out some themes. If you simply search ‘Apex Launcher Themes’, hundreds will come up almost immediately. There’s a good split of paid for themes and free ones so definitely explore and see what kind of thing you might like. Find some you want to try and download them. If stuck, go here first.
Step 3: Set themes
The themes will usually change the screen icons, the skin of the user interface, the lettering font and the wallpaper. Immediately, your device will look very different indeed. To do this, find the Apex settings screen and tap on ‘Theme settings’. This will look like this:
Once you have opened up the Theme settings, the themes you have downloaded will appear here, like this:
Here, the default theme is selected, but as you can see, you can pick and choose a whole theme, or tick the elements you like. Some themes include all the features (icon pack, skin, wallpaper and font), while some have less. As mentioned, definitely explore the Google Play Store for more. When you choose a theme, you’ll see a screen like this:
Click apply and your theme will change to something like this:
As you can see, icons have changed, as has the wallpaper. As you explore your new-look Android, you’ll notice the different font and overall skin. If you want to, you can go back to the theme settings and change whichever element you like.
Step 4: Transition effects
Another way you can give your device a different ‘feel’ is by adjusting the screen transition settings. This means that, when you scroll from side to side, the pages are presented in different styles. Apex Launcher comes with an assortment of different transition effects. Here’s one, mid-scroll:
These transitions can a very different, or if you want, 3D element to exploring your phone, which looks pretty cool. To change this setting, return to your Apex settings, Homescreen settings, followed by Transition effect. Try them out, they all look very different. Other launchers will offer more transitions effects too.
Step 5: Add some cool widgets
To finish off your devices new look, why not try some widgets? For example, go to the Google Play Store and search for ‘clock widgets’. Again you’ll get a wide variety of different widgets to try, some paid but many free. We wrote a full tutorial on how to add widgets to your homescreen, so definitely check that out if you’re unsure.
Some widgets have settings. For example, Pixel Art clock has a settings interface like this:
From here you should be able to customise the colours of the clock and a whole lot more. Once set up and installed, the widget might look something like this:
There are numerous different widgets you can try; from calendars and shortcuts to weather widgets, news widgets and lots more.
Your homescreen will now look and feel quite different to the normal stock experience. The joy of Android is the ability to completely personalise your user experience. It’s up to you and it has never been easier to customise your device.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, explore some of the other launcher settings you might find. For a huge range of examples of what Android is capable of, be sure to visit mycolorscreen.com. Additionally, mycolorscreen also have a great YouTube channel which will guide you through how to create truly stunning homescreens.
Now, I’m no expert like those guys, but here’s a small gallery of some of the ways I’ve customised my own homescreens with different devices.
So, in just a few simple steps, you can completely change the look and feel of your Android device. As ever, I hope this has been useful. If you want to share any of your favourite themes, widgets or customisation apps, please feel free to do so in the comments below. Also, if you have any tutorial requests for future Android 101 articles, please let us know.
Tags: Android 101
, Custom Android Home Screen
, Customize Home Screen
Categorised in: Android Advice, Featured, News