If you ask me why is Android such a popular Mobile Operating System, then I’d probably say because of the level of customization it has to offer.
Certainly, there are also other reasons behind its popularity but customization is the major one.
You can possibly modify every bit of your android OS. From your lock screen to navigation bar. Everything.
You can have a completely different user interface altogether.
Sounds cool, right?
But if you are thinking that android customization requires technical knowledge or is very cumbersome, then you are wrong.
It is easy and simple.
Here in this post, I am going to list down the best apps to help you in your customization. And along with apps, I will also name a few custom ROMs, which are best in this business.
Shall we begin?
Alright! Sit tight!
Custom Lock Screen
The lock screen is the first thing that you see when you hit the power button.
A lock screen is there not just to have a quick glance over your notifications but you can do a lot more things right from your there.
If you are bored of your current lock screen then you can customize it as per your likes. And not only that, you can even do a whole lot more things which were not possible on your old lock screen.
The best apps to customize your lock screen are:
Next Lock Screen
Honestly, this was the first name which came into my mind while I was trying to answer ‘Which are the best lock screen customization apps?’.
Next Lock Screen by Microsoft Corporation is an elegant lock screen replacement. Its simplicity and functionalities make it one of the best in the business.
Next Lock Screen has an inbuilt app launcher which lets you launch your favorite apps right from your lock screen. The more you use it, it will start learning your app usage pattern and present you your favorite apps based on your location (Home/Work).
It also displays the weather, your upcoming events, quick access buttons and controls for the music player.
Apart from displaying notifications, the app lets you call or text your favorite contacts from the lock screen itself.
Download Next Lock Screen from here.
CM Locker is one of the highest rated lock screen apps on the play store.
Apart from tweaking your lock screen, it also adds an extra level of security to your device. It offers features like app lock and intruder selfie which clicks photos whenever someone tries to unlock your device using a wrong password.
Another center of attraction of this app is its varied collection of themes and wallpapers.
You can get access to latest news, weather forecasts and music controller. It has an iOS-like quick control panel which gives you access to quick settings and more.
Other features are daily wallpaper changer and Anti-Theft Protection, which lets you remotely lock and locate your device in case it ever goes missing.
Download CM Locker by clicking here.
Echo Notification Lockscreen
Echo Notification Lockscreen is known for its minimalistic design. It is simple, elegant and looks beautiful.
The most outstanding feature of this app is its ability to group notifications under different categories like Priority, Social or Work.
If you have a notification from Facebook, then Echo will automatically place it under the Social category. Or if you’ve received an e-mail, it is auto grouped under the category Work.
There is another interesting feature called as ‘Snooze’, which is basically a notification reminder. You can snooze a particular notification to a later time or to a particular place.
You can get Echo Notification Lockscreen by clicking here.
After you are done customizing your lock screen, it’s time for the wallpapers.
Wallpapers speak a lot about your taste. And as far as device’s wallpaper is concerned, we all have different taste.
Some like it loud, some like it simple. Some like it plain and some like it colorful.
You have a vast list of categories to choose from. There are abstract, texture, landscape, cityscape, solid-colored and a whole lot more.
And there are a good number of apps from where you can get them.
The best wallpaper apps for android are:
Wallpapers (by Google inc.)
I’ve been using ‘Wallpapers’ ever since I came to know about it. I am in love with it and I am sure you’d like it too.
The app’s user interface is pretty straightforward. Once you open the app, you’ll be presented with different categories to choose from.
It has 7 different categories – Art (this was added recently), Earth, Landscapes, Cityscapes, Life, Textures and Solid Colours. It also lets you choose from your gallery, default wallpapers and the default live wallpapers.
The best thing about this app is that Google keeps on updating the app with new wallpapers on a regular basis.
Another nifty bit of feature of Wallpapers is ‘Daily Wallpaper’. A new wallpaper for a new day. All you gotta do is to select which category of wallpapers you prefer and you are done.
Download Wallpapers from the Google Play Store by clicking here.
Muzei Live Wallpaper
Do you like art? If yes, then Muzei Live Wallpaper is the app for you.
It refreshes your wallpaper daily with a famous work of art to delight your eyes.
But having an artwork as your wallpaper has its own downside as well. Sometimes due to the vibrant colors of the art, the app icons and texts become unreadable.
To fix the above problem, Muzei blurs every image so that all the texts and app icons are clearly visible. If you double tap anywhere on the wallpaper it switches to the original image and back to the blurred image.
Within the app, you can control the amount of blur, dimming and even the greyscale of the wallpaper.
Another feature which makes Muzei an outstanding app is that it can be used with other apps also.
You can even set the wallpaper to change every hour or every day or every 3 days.
You can download Muzei Live Wallpaper from here.
Backgrounds HD (Wallpapers)
The main USP of Backgrounds HD (Wallpapers) is its vast collection of beautiful high-definition wallpapers. And this collection is updated very frequently with some more beautiful wallpapers.
The app lets you filter wallpapers on the basis of Recent uploads, Daily Popular, Weekly Popular, Monthly Popular and All Time Popular.
You can even select wallpapers from a particular category. There are more than 40 different categories.
You are free to download your favorite wallpapers or share it with your friends on different social media platforms.
It lets you upload your own wallpaper and become an artist. You can follow your favorite artist and their latest upload will show up in your feeds. But, you need to sign in with either Google or your Facebook Account to access this feature.
You can grab Backgrounds HD (Wallpapers) from the Google Play Store by clicking here.
Launchers are the ultimate solution to android customization. You can change pretty much everything about your device’s user interface.
Launchers give you the power to modify each and every aspect of the user interface of your device.
These launchers not only modifies your home screen but also enhances the very android experience, where you control everything.
And the best thing about it is that you don’t need to have a rooted phone to use them.
The Best Launchers for Android are:
Undoubtedly, Nova Launcher is the best Launcher currently available in the Google Play Store.
With tons of tweaks and customizations to offer, no wonder why it is being used by millions.
The level of customization is pretty high as it includes icon pack support, the ability to manipulate animations, customizing the look and feel of app icons. You can even customize the app drawer, the dock and the folders.
With Nova Launcher, the sky is the limit for customization.
You can even backup and import the launcher settings in case you ever decide to change your device.
Another thing about this app worth mentioning is how frequently it gets updated. New features are added on a very consistent basis. This makes Nova Launcher highly recommended.
You can get your hands-on Nova Launcher by clicking here.
Action Launcher 3
The best alternative for Nova Launcher is Action Launcher 3.
There are several (other) features which make the app more distinctive.
It has a feature called ‘Shutters’, which reveals the app’s widget whenever you swipe on the app icon. No need to have a separate widget.
Other interesting features are Quickpage (reveals a widget of your choice when swiped left on the home screen) and Quicktheme ( theme color changes according to the color of wallpaper).
You can import settings from your old launcher and apply them onto Action Launcher 3 and even lets you take backup of your settings to be restored if you change your device.
You can download Action Launcher 3 from here.
If you feel overwhelmed by Nova and Action, then Evie Launcher is the launcher you might like.
Evie Launcher is a minimalistic-yet-powerful launcher with a bucket of customization options.
To be honest, evie is not as powerful as nova launcher and action launcher, but it delivers an awesome android experience like a boss.
The major plus point of evie launcher is that it is completely free. In the case of Nova and Action launcher, you need to pay to use some of the features but that’s not the case with evie launcher.
You can download Evie Launcher by clicking here.
Customizing icons is the main core of android customization.
You might think how those tiny icons can make any subtle difference? But trust me, it takes android customization to a whole a new level.
A right pack of icons in tow with the perfect wallpaper can change the entire look of your device’s home screen. Therefore, having the perfect icon pack is essential.
Here are the best icon packs available in the Play Store:
Min – Icon Pack
Min is a ‘Min’imilastic icon pack. If you have a special place in your heart for monochrome, then this icon pack is a must for you.
It has over 1500 icons and supports most of the popular launchers like Nova, Action Launcher 3, Go Launcher etc.
Apart from the icons, it also offers a few wallpapers which nicely compliments with the icons.
You can even request icons for your favorite app or game in case you don’t find any suitable icon.
You can get Min – Icon Pack from the Google Play Store by clicking here.
Polycon – Icon Pack
If you love vibrant colors and material design, then look no further than Polycon – Icon Pack.
Polycon offers beautiful and colorful icons to jazz up your home screen and app drawer.
It has more than 800 material-designed icons. Along with icons, it has a nice collection (small, though) of high-definition wallpapers that go very well with the icons.
You can request an icon for any app and it supports almost all the popular launchers in the play store.
You can download Polycon – Icon Pack from here.
Glim – Free Flat Icon Pack
Glim Icon Pack consists of beautifully designed flat icons.
There are 15-20 different color variants for most of the popular apps.
Other features of Glim are – a collection of high-definition wallpapers, dynamic calendar support and a smart icon request tool.
Just like every other icon packs, Glim also supports a majority of popular launchers.
The app also has a paid version with more icons.
You can download Glim Icon Pack from the Play Store by clicking here.
Fonts play a significant role in the overall feel of the Operating System.
Changing fonts spices up your phone’s user interface and it gives an extra edge to customization.
Apart from Samsung, most of the OEMs do not let you play with the system’s fonts.
However, on a rooted phone, it is fairly easy to change fonts.
(Move on to next section in case you don’t have a Samsung device and are not willing to root your phone.)
iFont (Expert of Fonts)
iFont is absolutely no brainer. It does what it should and does it very well.
iFont has a good collection of stylized fonts. The user interface is pretty simple.
Once you launch the app, you’ll be greeted with the recommended list of fonts. Swipe to the right and tap on ‘Font All’. There you’ll see a long list of available fonts to download.
It also has fonts for a number of languages like French, Spanish, Russian and many more.
Once you’ve selected a font, simply tap on it, tap on download and then tap on ‘Set’. And you’re done.
It is worth mentioning that if you have a device, other than Samsung, then you need have root access in order to install a font.
You can download iFont from here.
iFont’s user interface is very lame, you’ll all agree.
That’s not the case with FontFix. It follows the material design guidelines.
But I am sure that you are least concerned with the user interface of the app, rather you are concerned with what it has to offer.
To begin with, FontFix has over 4,000 fonts! And moreover, some of the popular fonts have their different variants as well.
Believe it or not, I like the way the app previews a font. When you hit the ‘+’ button, it comes up with a comparison between your current font and the font which you are about to install.
You can get FontFix from here.
Almost half of the usage time of smartphone is spent on using keyboards. Texting, posting and searching.
In fact, keyboards are the most important part of our android.
Therefore, it’s pointless to not think about it when we are talking about android customization.
The best keyboard for android are:
Millions of people are using SwiftKey and you should use too.
With so many interesting features, you won’t be left with any reason for not using SwiftKey.
SwiftKey uses artificial intelligence to learn about your writing style. And works really great.
This A.I powered system makes the predictive text correct most of the time.
It has the usual swipe-to-type dubbed as SwiftKey flow.
It supports over 150 languages and over 70+ themes for you to choose from.
As you keep on using SwiftKey, it will come up with some fun stats like your typing heatmap, which category of words you use the most, which emoji you use most, how many words you’ve flowed and how many meters you’ve flowed.
GBoard – the Google Keyboard
GBoard is fairly new as compared to other keyboards but still it makes the other keyboard apps run for their money.
Google has completely nailed it with GBoard.
With a few customizations and Google’s own touch, GBoard is certainly one of the best keyboards of all time.
The keyboard has Google search in-built. You can Google search anything right from your keyboard and share the results with your friends.
It also supports Google translate. (Translate on the go!)
It supports over 120 languages and swipe-to-type (Glide typing).
Other notable features are GIF search and voice typing.
You can download GBoard – the Google Keyboard app from the Play Store by clicking here.
Fleksy + GIF Keyboard
If you are looking for some beautiful themes for your keyboard, then fleksy is the app for you.
Although it has only around 40 themes but they all are beautiful.
What makes fleksy different from others is its support for extensions. There are different extensions like hotkeys, editor, invisible keyboard, shortcuts, fire pop and more.
I found shortcuts to be really effective. You can add a shortcut as in OMG for Oh my God. Then everytime you type OMG, Fleksy will automatically turn it to Oh my God.
It also allows you to find and send GIFs and supports 42 languages.
You can download Fleksy + GIF Keyboard from here.
By sounds, I mean Ringtones and Notification Tones.
Our ringtone speaks volumes about our own personality. Some like soft ringtones, some like loud ringtones whereas there are some who doesn’t even have a ringtone.
Having a ringtone which goes well with the overall feel and looks of the user interface means ultimate android customization.
So, here are the best ringtones apps for android:
Zedge is the number one source for ringtones and notification tones.
And not only ringtones, Zedge also has a good collection of wallpapers and icons.
The app’s user interface is neat. It won’t be troublesome to navigate within the app and find what you are looking for. Thanks to the app’s simplicity.
The ad pop-ups might disappoint you but it can be overlooked considering the fact that it has millions of ringtones, notification tones and alarm sounds in its pocket.
You can get Zedge by clicking here.
Think of downloading ringtones, tones, wallpapers, themes, fonts, ebooks. Think of Mobile9 DECO.
It has an endless collection of media files and all of it in just a 3MB app.
You can download files hassle-free. The contents and the app itself won’t charge you a penny.
You can download Mobile9 DECO by clicking here.
Widgets are your best companion while personalizing the home screen.
They make your home screen more lively, makes you more productive and if a widget is beautifully designed then it can surely make your home screen look outstanding.
But one should keep in mind that placing widgets on the home screen is good, but only in a limited number. Or otherwise, it will take its toll on your battery life and overall performance of the device.
The best widgets for android are:
UCCW – Ultimate custom widget
Nothing is better than designing our own widget. A widget customized for you and by you.
UCCW is an app which lets you do exactly the same.
The app gives you two options – either to download skins which are available in the Play Store or you can create your own skin.
Creating your own skin is fun as it allows you to customize layout, shapes, objects, fonts and more.
Definitely worth trying if you are having a difficult time finding a widget to suit your home screen.
Download UCCW from the Google Play Store by clicking here.
Zooper Widget is yet another DIY widget making app.
But unlike UCCW, you’ll find several custom-made widgets designed by people like you and me, which are made available for the public to use.
There are a lot of customization options available. Fonts, color, shape, layout and a whole lot more.
You might fell overwhelmed at first after looking at the different options but you’d surely start enjoying when you get used to it. It’s fun designing widget on Zooper.
The app also has a paid version called Zooper Widget Pro with no-ads and ability to save template on SD Card.
You can download Zooper Widget from here.
Buzz Widget is yet another Custom Widget editor but best of the lot.
It lets you design widgets for Clock, Battery, Date, Weather and Music.
You can either pick a template and start editing as per you liking or you can start from scratch.
The app has been designed by the team behind the app Buzz Launcher, but still works well in case you don’t have that launcher installed.
You can try Buzz Widget by downloading it from here.
Unfortunately, this customization won’t be applicable for all of you.
Some of you might have a navigation bar and some of you might have physical buttons instead of the on-screen buttons.
If your device has physical buttons, then I would like you to move on to next section.
And for those of you have a navigation bar, please read on.
How to customize the on-screen navigation button?
Here’s how you can do it:
Who would have thought of customizing those three tiny on-screen navigation buttons?
Developers behind Navbar apps certainly thought of it and developed an amazing app which is absolutely crazy.
Navbar apps lets you change the background color of the navigation bar. Or you can set an image as the background. Or you can tell the app to automatically change the background color with the color of any running app. How cool is that?
Well, that’s not it. Your navigation bar can also act as a battery bar. Wait, there is even more. Your navigation bar can also act like a music visualizer. Crazy, eh?
You can get this crazy-but-awesome app from the Play Store by clicking here.
How can we miss Custom ROM? After all, it is the ultimate way to customize our android.
Installing a custom ROM is the very first step towards (for superusers) android customization.
Needless to say, almost all of the above-listed apps works like a charm on a non-rooted device. But installing a custom ROM means opening up a whole new chapter of android customization.
Custom ROM goes beyond all of the elements listed above in this post. With the help of Custom ROM, you can possibly customize each and every element of an Operating system.
Impressed by reading what custom ROMs can do?
Are you willing to install a Custom ROM?
Alright! Here are the best Custom ROMs:
It is believed to be the best Custom ROM available for Android. And I agree.
LineageOS began from where CyanogenMod left-off.
To begin talking about LineageOS, the very first thing which I have to say is the customization possibilities. Endless. It offers a trunk of customization options.
It has an integrated theme engine, you can choose from hundreds of themes for your device.
I can talk about LineageOS all day. So it’s better you go ahead and find whether your device supports LineageOS or not and get started with it.
You can download LineageOS from here.
Paranoid Android is the second most popular Custom ROM after LineageOS.
It looks a lot like stock android but paranoid android is known for its customization abilities and features.
Just like LineageOS, Paranoid Android also has theme engine.
But there is just one issue with Paranoid. Officially it only supports Nexus, Oppo and OnePlus devices. This might be a setback for many of us.
In case you do have a supported device, then you should definitely give it a swing. They regularly push updates consistently, adding more features.
You can download Paranoid Android for your device from here.
There are a lot of Custom ROMs out there. Some are struggling to get attention and some are becoming popular irrespective of the competition.
Dirty Unicorns is the name of Custom ROM which I’ve been hearing a lot as its popularity is increasing.
In terms of features, it is more or less the same if compared with LineageOS. Dirty Unicorns supports only Nexus, OnePlus, Motorola and some HTC devices as of now.
As far as customization is concerned, you can expect a good number of options to tweak your phone’s look and feel.
Go ahead and find your device’s ROM from here.
Last, but not the least, is the Xposed Framework.
I won’t be doing any justice to this post on android customization if I end it without mentioning Xposed Framework.
Basically, Xposed Framework is an application. If you feel that installing Custom ROM is very hefty and technical, then you should consider Xposed Framework.
(Disclaimer: You need to have a rooted device in order to use Xposed Framework.)
The Xposed Framework lets you customize various modules without having to install a custom ROM.
Customization possibilities? The sky is the limit, my friend.
All you’ve got to do is install the framework, decide a modification, download the modules required for such modification and configure them. That’s it.
You can download The Xposed Framework from here.
Well, well, well. There you have it.
I assume by the end of this post you are already up and have already made some customization.
So, tell me which one of the above was your favorite? Did I miss a thing or two on android customization? Feel free to shoot up in the comments.
Don’t forget to share this post with your family and friends on social media.