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Customizing Your Android Without Rooting

Have you ever heard someone complain that their Android phones were extremely slow, or they were bored with the Android interface and want something crisp and clean like the iPhone?

Well, this post hopes to answer those questions in a practical way and maybe after following our customization steps, they would love their Android devices a little bit more.

Android Customization Myths

First of all, I would like to start pointing out some key misunderstandings that most casual Android users tend to misunderstood. 

ROOT IS NOT REQUIRED!

When I asked my friends, why they didn’t use this application instead, it would speed up their overall experience on Android, they look back and ask, “Don’t you have to root your phone in order to change this application?”

Installing widgets, launchers or even changing icons/lock screen DOES NOT require you to root your phones. There are several applications that will help you do this easily and will be elaborated in the next few sections.

WHAT IS A LAUNCHER? HOW WOULD THIS BENEFIT ME?

Think launcher for Android as If it’s a desktop on Windows or on Mac. Launcher allows you to navigate through device certain ways, like Windows and Macs, they have the same functionality in navigating through computers, but in a their own unique way.

On Android, You can change your Launcher to any other 3rd party applications you want. It will perform the same tasks, navigating through your Android, but in their own unique ways.

Usually, Androids come preinstalled with their default launcher. This launcher is called stock launcher.

If you are like me, you would probably have bought a phone from 3rd party vendors such as HTC, Samsung, Motorola etc. Unless you’ve bought Nexus phones, you would likely have a skinned launcher preinstalled on your phone (HTC Sense, Samsung Touchwiz, Moto Blur). 

In my opinion, these skinned launchers are very slow for your phones. They require a lot more memory to perform the same tasks and by switching your skinned launcher to other launcher available on the market, you may see an extreme boost in your phones speed.

We will discuss how to change your launcher in the next section.

NOTE

HTC/Samsung/Motorola labeled widgets will not be accesible with other launchers. This is because the widgets was so deeply integrated to their skinned launchers. Without their launcher running, their widgets will not function.

Launcher Customization

First before you start customizing your phones, you need to switch your launcher to one of these applications listed below:

1. Find and Install new Launcher (Install one of these apps)

2. Install themes for the launcher you’ve chosen (Install one of these apps)

3. Install Home Switcher so that you can switch to your previous launcher easily.

4. Once everything are installed, simply press home button. You will be prompt to set your default launcher.


5. Select “Use by default for this action” and click on your new launcher

6. Start applying themes through their custom settings. (depends on installed launcher, but it’s usually available once you’ve pressed your physical menu button on that launcher)

7. You should get a nice looking customized Homescreen like this:


(Settings: Clouds by Yarn at MyColorscreen )

 

Missing HTC/Samsung/Motorola Widgets?

Can’t live without your HTC/Samsung/Motorola widgets? No problem, these are some alternative applications that should replace any widgets available on vendors preinstalled applications. 

Scrollable Widgets Alternatives:

  • LauncherPro Plus version have this built-in so you can use LauncherPro timeline widget instead
  • Colorize Widgets Free
  • Pure Messenger Widget $2.13
  • Pure Grid Calendar Widget $2.13
  • Pure News Widget $2.13

Music Widgets Alternatives:

Settings Widgets:

Clock & Weather Widgets

Customizing Your Lockscreen

One killer application that will allow you to fully  customize your lock screen is Widgetlocker Lockscreen. This application will allow you to put any home screen widgets on your lock screen, add custom lock sliders etc.

  • Widgetlocker Lockscreen: $1.99
  • You can also apply Custom Lock Sliders with Widgetlocker Lockscreen. There are find many awesome custom lock sliders available here: XDA Themes Collection

Isn’t that a piece of cake?

Very simple, don’t you think? You don’t even have to hassle with any command lines.

Here at MyColorscreen, We believe that it’s all about the applications discovery when it comes to why people are so scared to customize their phones.

With this post, we would certainly hope that casual android users would at least try out these customization applications and unleash Android its full potential. 

If you have friends who have just bought their first Android devices, why not share this article to them. Let them see that Android customization isn’t that hard. 

Have more applications to add to the list? Feel free to let us know in the comment. 

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