A beginner’s guide to total Android customization

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Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

We often, and quite rightly, complain about the way device makers customize the “stock” build of Android to suit their own needs. Customizing software is not inherently bad, but Samsung, LG, and others are usually doing it to push their apps and services. These companies frequently make unnecessary aesthetic changes for the sake of being different.

You don’t have to put up with the look and feel of Android on your phone, though. You can customize things to better suit your own style and usage patterns—all it takes is a little legwork. The more time you want to spend on it, the more extensive the customization can be. It all starts with the right tools.

Wallpapers

This is a very basic step, but it’s an important one. You want the wallpaper on your phone to match the style you’re going for with the rest of your customizations. In fact, you can take inspiration from wallpapers to inform the decisions you make regarding icons and widgets. OEMs usually only include a handful of device wallpapers that are, to be frank, lacking. Some of the wallpaper apps on Android aren’t much better, and they often have spammy ads all over.

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