Android is well-known for its customizability. From a custom ROM to the UI, you can customize almost everything. In this article we discuss how to customize an Android phone with one catch: no root access or custom ROM required!
Not every Android phone or Android user has access to rooting or unlocking capabilities, so for this article we’ll talk about the best customization you can get, right now, from apps on the Play Store… without any need for root access or developer-level knowledge. We’ll also be telling you how you can use these apps to provide a better experience for your Android device.
Create/Set Custom Ringtone
Ringdroid allows you to quickly edit, save and use ringtones from audio files (typically songs) that are present on your device, saving you from an otherwise egregious process. When you open Ringdroid, you’ll be given a list of compatible audio files on your device which will usually be your pre-existing ringtones and notification noises.
To use Ringdroid properly, you’ll need to transfer audio files (such as MP3s) from your computer to your Android device. Files from media players, like Spotify and Google Play Music, won’t work.
Get Custom Wallpapers and More
ZEDGE, meanwhile, goes out of its way to offer you all kinds of things for your phone: wallpapers, ringtones, notification tunes, games and even custom icon packs.
By default, a selection of Featured Wallpapers is what you’ll see the first time you open ZEDGE. Opening the menu, however, will reveal the other listed options, including ringtones and games. For wallpapers, ringtones and most options, all you need to do is select an entry. From within the app, you can download the selection and apply it within the application.
Use Some Homescreen Widgets!
Custom homescreen widgets are a great way to add convenience and extra functionality to your Android device. Most apps come with a widget that you can add to the homescreen. Here we’ll be highlighting three of our favorites.
First up is Google Keep. Google Keep is one of Google’s many apps, but it’s easily the least well known. Basically, it’s a note-taking/note-keeping service, and with its widget on your homescreen, you can quickly take notes at any time, notes available on any Internet-connected device.
Next up is Battery Widget Reborn which allows you to keep better track of your battery life with a resizable widget. It also offers some additional functionalities, such as a power-saving mode that’s activated during the night.
Finally, there’s 1Weather. 1Weather is a powerful, customizable weather application that includes great widget functionality. For the best in weather-tracking widgets, 1Weather can’t be beat.
Install a Custom Launcher
The Android launcher is a peculiar thing. You may not know it, but your launcher is probably the single most used part of your device. It contains every app on your device, and its way of sorting and managing these apps varies depending on the launcher. Typically, Android phones have greatly different UIs based on manufacturer ROMs, but with a custom launcher you can tune your system navigation experience to something that suits your tastes.
Nova and Buzz Launcher are both extraordinarily powerful solutions that outstrip the ones that come shipped on your phone by default. There are other custom launchers available, but Nova and Buzz are the most popular and, in this writer’s opinion, the most reliable way to customize Android phone.
To start using these apps, all you need to do is install them and start using them as your home launcher.
Diving deeper, both launchers offer the ability to customize things like app grid size (the amount of apps you can hold on your screen), scroll and transition effects, the amount of apps that can be stored in the dock, and even gestures to open certain apps. While your experience within apps won’t change much, using a launcher will allow essentially the most powerful way to customize Android phone without requiring rooting or unlocking.
Use a Custom Keyboard App
Finally, where would we be if we didn’t talk about keyboards? Not only is a custom keyboard one of the best ways you can customize an Android phone, typically they correspond with a massive leap in usability and speed at which you can use the device to text your friends or browse the web. Long before Android manufacturers started shipping touch-slide keyboards as a part of their OS, SwiftKey and Swype were on the scene to give users a peek at the future of typing on mobile.
These keyboards are still more feature-rich than stock Android keyboards. They allow users to install various themes which can be either simple color changes or fully-designed keyboard artwork. They also offer cloud storage services for preferences and usage data (so you can install the same app on another device and pick up with all of your next word predictions intact) and the ability to totally customize the layout of your touchscreen keyboard.
To start using these apps, just install them and set them as your default keyboard. You can do this by installing and launching the app as it walks you through the process pretty easily.
Let’s face it: you do a lot of typing on your phone. Why not do it in style?
We’d like to go more in depth, but if we dived too far into the pool of customizing Android we’d probably never be able to come out. This article offers six apps and six ways to customize Android phone: while rooting and unlocking grants a new world of possibilities, you can still do plenty on your existing device without pulling anything too crazy.
That being said, we’re sure plenty of you have your own ideas on what the best customization apps for Android are. What non-root apps do you use to improve your user experience on Android? How have you customized your Android phone?
Comment below and let everyone know!