Eric loves the Android operating system. He has many things to share with others on subjects he has learned from years of experience.
Make Your Android Phone Unique
One of the best things about Android phones is being able to change many things about them.
I frequently change how my phone looks. In this guide, I am going to teach you how to customize your Android home screen.
What is the Android Homescreen?
The First Thing You See When You Use Your Android Phone
The Android Homescreen is the first thing you see on an Android phone once you unlock it.
You are also viewing your phone’s launcher, but I will go over launchers in a future section.
What Is on a Homescreen?
- App shortcuts
What Is a Launcher?
About Android Phone Launchers
A launcher is an application that manages how you open and store applications. Launchers also manage what Your Homescreen Looks Like
Every Android Phone Has a Launcher
You might not know what the launcher on your phone is, but every phone has one by default.
Your default launcher depends on the brand of your phone. Each one has different settings and features.
Default Launchers Tend to Be Very Basic
The launcher preinstalled on your phone most likely will be basic. I personally thought the LG launcher was bland. You will get more features and options with a custom launcher.
What Are Custom Launchers?
Custom launchers are programs you download to manage your Homescreen.
There are many custom launchers. Too many to list them all. I personally use Nova Launcher Prime. There are some free launchers to use as well.
What Is the App Drawer?
About the App Drawer
The app drawer is the place where you find all the apps you have installed on your Android phone. I have seen a few launchers that do not have an app drawer, but most do.
Customizing the App Drawer
With some custom launchers, you can customize the app drawer. With Nova Launcher Prime I organize my apps into tabs and folders.
What Are App Shortcuts?
About App Shortcuts
App shortcuts are things you place on your Homescreen. These shortcuts allow you to open apps you use often faster.
Every launcher I have used has allowed you store app shortcuts into folders. This is something I do to organize thing better.
Most launchers let you dock apps and folders on the bottom of the phone screen. This dock is another place to open apps you use often.
About Icon Packs
Change How Your Icon Packs Look
One of the reasons to have a custom launcher is using icon packs. Icons packs are groups of images artists make to replace app icons.
Why Use Icon Packs?
When you download an app, you will see the app icon made by the developer.
Some people prefer to download replacement icons in packs to use instead. There are many icon packs and a lot of styles to choose from.
Are Icon Packs Free?
Some icon packs are free, and others are not. It depends on the artist.
There are enough free icons for you to see if you like them at all.
Keep in Mind the Number of Icons in the Pack
Another thing to keep in before buying an icon pack is how many icons it has. Some packs have more icons themed than others. I use icon packs with thousands of icons
Here Are Some Icon Packs I Currently Use
Make Sure You Can Use the Icon Pack
Make sure your launcher supports the icon pack. You cannot use icon packs with every launcher. Before you buy an icon pack, make sure it supports the launcher you use. If you are not using a custom launcher, you might not be able to use icon packs.
How to Use Icon Pack Apps
Icon packs come with apps you can run. In that app select the launcher you are currently using and then apply the icons.
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The following picture shows an example icon pack app with the option to apply the icons.
Apply Icons from Your Launcher
There should be an option to use icon packs in your launcher as well. The following picture shows the option in Nova Launcher Prime.
What are Wallpapers?
A wallpaper is the background image you see on Lockscreen and Homescreen of your phone. You can use static images and live wallpapers.
What Are Live Wallpapers?
Live wallpapers are animated backgrounds you can use for your Android phone. You download live wallpapers as apps.
There are many live wallpapers on Google Play. Some are free, and others cost money.
Why Use a Live Wallpaper?
I love how live wallpapers look. They are fun to use, and I use them often. Live wallpapers are something I can use for my phone to stand out more.
List of some live wallpapers I currently use
You can find these icon packs on Google Play.
- Chrooma Live Wallpaper
- Material Islands
- Mountain Now Free Wallpaper
- Nexus Legacy Live Wallpaper
- Vortex Galaxy
What Are Widgets?
Widgets are tiny interactive modules you play on your Homescreen. There are many widgets.
Most of the time an application you have installed on your phone will have a widget. But not every app has widgets.
How to Use Widgets
For most launchers, you need to long tap on the Homescreen. A menu should come up that lets you choose a widget to use.
Keep mind you need enough free space on the Homescreen for the widget to fit.
On Nova Launcher Prime you can resize widgets and make them bigger.
A Few Widgets I Use
- Battery Widget Reborn
- Timely Clock Widget
Ringtones and Notifications
You can change the ringtone and notification sound on your phone. This is another neat little thing you can do to make your phone unique.
I have written a guide on how to do this. You can read it here.
Bringing It All Together
There are almost endless combinations of icons, widgets, and wallpapers to pick and use.
Find what you think looks good and experiment.
I frequently change my phones look. I think it is fun to find new icon packs and wallpapers I like.
My Current Android Phone Setup
These are on the first picture of this article. That picture is from my personal Android phone.
- My Icon Pack: Jono
- My Launcher: Nova Launcher Prime
- My Notification Sound: The Windows 95 boot sound
- My Ringtone: The Nintendo GameCube boot sound
- My Wallpaper: AMOLED
- Widgets I use: Battery Widget Reborn and Timely Clock Widget
© 2019 Eric Farmer
Eric Farmer (author) from Rockford Illinois on July 05, 2020:
If you use a custom launcher like Nova Launcher, you can set the icons for each pack.
I don't think you can do this with the launchers on most phones but I could be wrong.
Beanie Lei on July 05, 2020:
Thank you for this post; I now realise I know so little! Is there any way to create your own icon pack without having to learn coding, ie upload your own graphics into your Android Launcher app or to the system?