Customizing Android

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Smartphones these days are the most personal device we use these days. Most of the things we do throughout our day are on our smartphones, from working to connecting with friends and even relaxing after a busy workday.

So, making your smartphone personalized and customized to your liking is important. You want your smartphone to feel like home.

In this article, I will be going through some easy ways to customize your android experience. We will particularly be focusing on android smartphones in this article.  We will go through most of the common things you can change about your android smartphone and also recommend a few applications to help you get the most out of your customizing experience.

Customizing your lock screen

The lock screen on your android smartphone is the first thing you see every time you pick up your phone. The common things you will see on your default lock screen are the time & date, weather data, your cellular network signal strength, and the latest notifications, etc.

But your lock screen doesn’t have to be this way. You can make it take like anything you want. The most common thing people change about their lock screen is their wallpapers. You can set a new wallpaper for your lock screen. You can also change what kind of notifications show up on the lock screen from the menu.

If you have an android smartphone with an OLED screen, then you can set up an always-on display on your smartphone. Always on display can display things like a clock or an artsy display even when the rest of the screen is turned off. But only smartphones with OLED screens can do this because they can turn the individual pixel on and off. If companies let regular IPS display smartphones do this, then the displays would burn out for being on all the time.

You can even download applications from the Google Play store like Solo Locker or Fireflies lock screen to visually change your Lock screen.

Replacing your Home Screen

Your home screen is where most of the action happens. This is where all of your most important applications and widgets are located. Whenever you close an application or are looking to open a new one, you have to go through the home screen.

Since it is such a commonly used space, it is important to make it personalized for yourself. You can customize your home screen in two ways:

Without using a launcher

You can customize how your home screen looks and feels without using any external tools. But you are limited this way. On Android smartphones, just hold any part of the screen for a little while, and you will enter the customization mode.

Now you can rearrange the icons for your applications. Move around widgets for things like time and weather. Some people also like to group applications into a bunch. You can do this by dragging one icon onto another, and they will be grouped together. It can be helpful to group applications this way, like keeping all your social media applications in one group.

But without using a launcher, there isn’t much else you can do. The home screen user interface and overall, everything else design-wise will look the same.

With using a launcher

Launchers are great tools if you want to take more control over the appearance of your smartphone. You can pretty much change anything about your home screen with a launcher. Things like your application dashboard, or the navigations icons and the icons themselves.

Launchers are really powerful tools that let you either customize your home screen from scratch or let you pick from thousands of premade templates and add your own touches to them.

Some popular launchers are the NOVA launcher and the Hyperion launcher. You can download launchers directly from the Google Play store and start browsing through their selections right away.

Downloading new wallpaper

Changing wallpaper is one of the simplest things you can do to customize your android experience. You can pretty much set any image as wallpaper.

You can personalize both your home screen and your lock screen with a personal picture. But a lot of people prefer to use 3rd party applications or websites to download wallpapers. Wallpaper can be a picture of anything like a beautiful landscape or a cityscape.

There are hundreds of applications on the Google Play store for finding wallpapers. The two I personally like are Walli and Zedge. Walli has more independent creators and photographers creating exciting new wallpapers. Zedge, on the other hand, also has independent artists, but you can also find a lot of wallpapers from pop culture like TV shows, movies, and video games.

Changing icons with an Icon Pack

The default shape and size of the icons on your android smartphone depend upon what exact brand of smartphone you are using. Since different brands have different operating systems that are basically reskinned of Google Android system. So, the look of your phone can vary from one android to the other.

Icons packs are basically a reskin of how each of your icons looks. They can change the color, shape, and size of each icon. Usually, all icon packs are set on a particular theme. Like some icon packs have a steampunk theme, while others follow simple black and white theme.

Google Pixel phones are popular for their stock android experience. In fact, a lot of people love Google Pixel’s stock android icon packs. I myself use an icon pack that converts all my icons into stock android icons.

You can use launchers to implement an icon pack on your phone. Just download the launcher of your liking and then look for the icon pack you like. And if you don’t want to use a launcher, there are even applications just to change icons. You can find hundreds of different icons packs this way as well.

Adding a new keyboard

For me personally, this is the first thing I always customize for myself when I get a new phone. The keyboard is a crucial part of the smartphone experience.

The keyboard is almost always out since a lot of stuff you do on your android smartphone requires typing.

I personally like to use Gboard. It is a custom keyboard made by google. I like this keyboard because the spacing on each key is perfect and can be adjusted if you don’t like it. You can also change the theme of the keyboard to different colors.  You can even set multiple keyboards for other languages and can switch them on the fly.

Gboard has this interesting typing feature called glide typing. Where you can slide from one letter to the other very fast without taking your finger off the screen. And then google recognizes the word when you stop gliding. This can greatly increase your one hand typing speed. There are a lot of other great functionality features on Gboard as well, so do check it out if you aren’t using it already.

Adding new widgets to your home screen

Widgets add life to your Android experience. Imagine things like time bars and weather widgets or your music player widgets. They offer both functionality and aesthetics. You can customize your widgets by holding them down on the screen until the home screen customization menu pops up. Here you can go into widget selection and see what kind of widgets you already have.

Once you have a widget you like, simply select that widget, and drag on onto your home screen. You can also move widgets around and enlarge them when the customization menu is active.

You will notice that you don’t have an extensive collection of widgets by default. But don’t worry; you can download a plethora of widgets from the Google Play Store. Some applications also come with their own widgets as well.

Change Default Applications

Changing default applications can be for both functionality and aesthetic reasons. For example, most android smartphones are set to their own proprietary internet browsers to serve as the default internet browser. But I personally change that the default browser to google chrome.

Similarly, you can change default applications for things like calling, texting, listening to music, playing videos, and opening PDF files, etc. You can do this by going into setting and then into set default application. You can clear any previous defaults and set another application in its place.

Customizing your sound notifications

Adding your own personal touch to the sound notification can make your phone feel like it is unique to you. You can change things incoming call or text ringtones directly from the settings application. You can even set different ringtones for different people, so you can simply tell by the sound of the phone who is calling.

Other sound notifications can also be changed. All you need is an audio file of the sound you want to set, and you are good to go.

Concluding Remarks

Customizing your android smartphone is essential. So, you can always open your phone to a familiar and exciting experience. The smartphone is the most personal device you own, so it is about time you made an effort to make your device truly your own.

You don’t have to settle for the boring experience that was pre-loaded by the smartphone manufacturer for you.