How to Customise Your Android Device

Google-Android-Graffiti

One of the standout features of owning a Droid over an iPhone (or dare I say a Windows Phone?) is the amount of customisation options at your fingertips.

This is not a beginners guide. You’re a geek so I’m not going to tell you how to change a damn ringtone, this post is to show you how to do the sexy stuff, like a boss.

What do I mean by customisation? As I said I’m not talking about ringtones, or wallpapers (although important) – I’m talking about a complete visual makeover. To do this you will first need a launcher, which is effectively a desktop for your phone. Different launchers have different functionality but most will allow to change the entire look and feel of the phone and allow you to use a majority of third party apps and widgets.

If you’re concerned about a launcher slowing your phone down, don’t be, a lot of users actually say that a good launcher can improve performance!

To begin with get your ass over to the Play store and download these apps:

-          Nova Launcher (the most popular launcher but there are others)

-          UCCW (for widgets; Zooper is also good)

-          Go Keyboard

-          Wallpapers HD

These are the basics, which will allow you to download and use the vast majority of icon packs, themes, etc.

Let’s Begin Customising your Android

To begin with select the Nova Settings app (or other) and ensure it’s set as your default launcher. If your phone keeps diverting back to the stock Android launcher go the Nova app in your app menu, select it, scroll down and press “clear defaults” then go back to the Homescreen.

It’s worth having a look through the launcher settings and having a play. There’s a lot you can do from here – from optimising your Droid for performance/visuals to changing the colour scheme of your phone.
Nexus ScreenShot

Wallpapers

The most obvious, and easiest, way to change the appearance of your phone is to download a nice, crisp wallpaper. Wallpapers HD has some good ones, as does Backgrounds HD.

Icons

Other than the wallpaper, Icons are a great way to give your Homescreen a facelift. There are dozens of icon packs in the Play store, many of which are free to download.

Some good ones I’ve found include: Holler, Phoney, Dainty, and Nexus Circle/Square.

The Icons seen in the screenshot are from a pack called “Metrostation”.

Widgets

To create a widget long hold on the area that you want the widget to sit, select widgets, scroll down to your widget maker (e.g. UCCW/Zooper) and select the size you want.

As with the icons there’s a huge array of widgets in the Play Store so go exploring. Most of the functionality centres around time, date, weather and battery life but there are a lot of really unique widgets, especially if you’re willing to pay.

If you don’t mind spending a few quid then check out Beautiful Widgets. Zooper comes with a few nice clock widgets as standard. If you’re feeling really adventurous then you can even create your own…

The widget seen in the screenshot is a UCCW widget called LinesClockFree.

Keyboard

Nice and easy one to end with. Download Go Keyboard from the play store and then download the theme that fits your setup. There are loads of Go Keyboard themes to play with. For the screen above I like the look and feel of the Go Keyboard White Theme.

Feel inspired to Pimp your Phone?

Hopefully I’ve given you enough here to go and have a play for yourself (not with). In truth you really need to have a go yourself and learn as you go. If you do get stuck there are loads of useful guides on YouTube and some of the Google+ Communities are really helpful. The Nexus community in particular is packed full of geeks.

For a video tutorial, check out this guy, who goes through his setup using the majority of tools mentioned in this post.

Author Description

Joe Ford

Google Geek who gets in trouble for spending more time on his Nexus than with his girlfriend (non-fictional). Lover of tech and long films with shit endings.

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