I’ve seen a lot of people, quite rightly, complain about the way some device makers customize the stock version of Android for the sake of difference. While some manufacturers like Motorola and, more recently, none are nailing down the UI game by offering a good level of customization with minimal tweaks, there are still a lot of big players that push apps and services heavily with their UI. But you don’t have to put up with the look of your phone manufacturer’s Android version.
One of the best things about Android is how flexible it is, and it all starts with the ability to customize your home screen setup. It takes a little work, but you can get a completely unique look that will make your phone stand out. I personally install several customization apps on all my Android phones that I can use as part of my job to make sure I always have unique and fresh looking phones. Three of these apps, in particular, are installed on all of my phones, and I think you should have them, too.
It may seem strange to have an entire app dedicated to a basic task like choosing your home screen wallpaper, but it’s important to get the process started. That’s because the wallpaper will be the background behind the widgets and icons, and it’ll be the first thing that catches your eye. You also want the wallpaper to match the overall style or look you’re going for with your customization, so you don’t want to sleep on it.
You can always search for wallpapers online or get them from Google, but I love having a dedicated app on my phone whenever I want a new setup. Backdrops is a free app that gives you access to a huge photo library. One of the best things about this particular app is that it allows you to browse wallpapers based on category or even tags. You can also search for the wallpaper by its name, so if you know the name of a specific wallpaper from someone, you can find it easily. Backdrops also gives you the option to save the wallpaper to your phone for later or use it directly from the app.
The free version of the app provides almost everything you need, provided you don’t mind being shown a few ads occasionally.
KWGT Kustom Widget Maker allows you to create amazing home screen widgets, you may have heard about it. KWGT has been around for as long as I can remember, but it still works. Contrary to what the name of this particular app suggests, you can also use it to load premade widgets on your smartphone. KWGT also still has a great community of millions of users who create and share their own custom widgets. You can find a lot of great KWGT widget packs in the Google Play Store as well.
I’ve been using widgets from different widget packs like Juno, Koda, and Fusion, but you can always find the ones you like that work best for your setup. One of the best things about KWGT is that it allows you to take elements from different widgets and create a custom one. You can even customize those widgets in advance and modify them to your liking. The app also allows you to save your custom widgets, so you can always come back later.
KWGT is a free app, but you will need to pay for a Pro Key to access some useful customization options. It’s a one-time fee, and it’s well worth the money since it offers such great value.
Panel: Home screen settings
So, you’ve selected a wallpaper, chosen the appropriate widgets… now what? Well, you want to put it together in a way that looks and feels good. You’ll have to put your creative hat on to really customize it and make it truly unique. I used to spend a lot of time repeatedly customizing different elements to get the look just right, but now I turn to the massive Android customization community for help and inspiration. This is where Palette comes into the picture.
The color palette is your one-stop shop for finding custom home screen settings. Not only can you use this particular app for inspiration, but you can also find all the information you need about a particular setting, including the wallpaper, icon pack, and widgets used. You’ll find direct links to each asset used in a particular setup, or even a full backup file in case you need to copy a setup onto your phone. It’s like browsing r/androidthemes on Reddit, except you can access all the assets with a click of a button on Palette instead of having to dig deep into a thread.
Palette is available to download for free, but you’ll need to pay a one-time fee to access some premium features, including the option to download backup files for settings that are displayed in the app.
This is a detour, guys! There are of course other ways to customize your home screen on Android phones. There are many other tools such as icon packsAnd the launchers, and more you can try on to get the look you want. Android has evolved a lot over the years, and there are more ways to customize your home screen setup than ever before. So go ahead and start creating a new home screen setup on your Android phone.
Tell us some of your favorite apps and ways to customize the home screen on Android. Feel free to leave them in the comments below!
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