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The best apps to customize your Android for a truly unique look

One of the coolest things about Android is the ease with which you can customize, modify and otherwise set up your smartphone or tablet to be exactly how you want it. With a little know-how and the right apps, you can make it truly unique, and if you're not sure where to start, our list of the best apps to customize Android can help.

Note: This list is not hierarchical, and these apps are not presented in any particular order. Their appropriateness for your custom job will depend entirely on what exactly you want to achieve. Needless to say though, combining several of these apps together will get you something truly special.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S6 install custom ROM
There's no end to the world of Android customization. Let's dive in. / © ANDROIDPIT

Flashify

If you want to get serious about customizing Android then rooting your phone is the best solution (of course, not everyone wants to go that far, so we've also shared some cool hacks for non-rooted Android phones).

If you are rooted and want to do some serious customization, then you really can't do better than Flashify, an all-purpose flashing tool that makes the whole process as simple as pie.

flashify root app
Flashify is your one-stop flashing app. / © ANDROIDPIT
Flashify (for root users) Install on Google Play

Flashify is a simple app that requires root access, but once granted, there's nothing it can't do. You can install a custom recovery through Flashify, flash custom ROMs, zip files, boot images and recoveries, as well as manage your backups. 

Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher is widely regarded as the best custom launcher on Android. It is packed with features and advanced customization options and manages to avoid becoming too confusing.

androidpit nova launcher customizations
There's very little you can't customize with Nova Launcher. / © ANDROIDPIT
Nova Launcher Install on Google Play

You can pretty much set up everything on your Android to behave the way you want with Nova, from appearance to animations to app icons to gesture controls. You can even import previous launcher settings from another Android launcher.

There is a paid version of this launcher, but it is not really necessary, because the free version brings plenty of features for nothing.

Icon packs

Once you've installed a custom launcher, you can delve into the wonderful world of icon packs. Icon packs replace the current app icons on your phone with new ones. You can choose them individually from thousands of different options or you can apply an icon pack theme to give everything a streamlined look.

glyphs icon pack screenshot
Stark minimalism brought to you by the Glyphs  icon pack. / © ANDROIDPIT

Icon packs are freely available in the Play Store and work with most major custom Android launchers. Just take a look at how many icons each pack contains, because there's nothing more annoying than adding an icon pack only to find half a dozen of your favorite apps have been left off the list.

Zedge

Zedge will furnish your smartphone or tablet with thousands of wallpapers, ringtones and notification sounds. You can trawl through the almost-endless possibilities to find the perfect image or theme for you, or you can change them every day (or even every hour), since you have so many to choose from. 

zedge wallpaper change
Zedge brings more wallpapers and ringtones than you can shake a stick at. / © ANDROIDPIT
ZEDGE™ Ringtones & Wallpapers Install on Google Play

Images are custom fit to your phone’s screen dimensions, and you can set different ringtones for every contact you have. Zedge also includes a widget, which will keep you fully updated when new wallpaper or ringtones are made available.

Ringdroid

Your favorite song probably lasts for three or four minutes, so making that your ringtone is not a great idea (unless you never answer your phone). But not anymore. Thanks to Ringdroid, you can turn any song into a ringtone: just isolate the particular riff or chorus you like and create a new audio file, which can then be used just like any other ringtone. 

androidpit how to turn any song into ringtone hero 2
Ringdroid is the simplest and the best ringtone trimmer. / © ANDROIDPIT
Ringdroid Install on Google Play

You can set your new ringtone as a notification or contact ringtone or as an alarm sound, and the whole process is quick and easy. While there are many other apps that do the same thing, Ringdroid takes the cake when it comes to intuitiveness and simplicity.

Cover

Did you know it’s not actually necessary to unlock your smartphone to view or launch your favorite apps? Cover is an intelligent lock screen app that learns from you to give you the apps you need when you need them. Take a look at how Cover works in the video below.

Cover Lock Screen (beta) Install on Google Play

Thanks to Wi-Fi and GPS, Cover knows where you are and can change the apps available from your lock screen accordingly. So depending on your habits, you won’t need to unlock your phone to access WhatsApp or Facebook at home or Gmail and your calendar at work. Cover is free, intuitive and extremely helpful. Highly recommended!

Xposed Framework

For me, the best way to customize a phone is with Xposed Framework. With Xposed modules, we can completely customize our smartphone from the inside out, adding or removing software features not useful to us. Where phones traditionally come with a whole stack or pre-cooked features, whether you want them or not, Xposed lets you add or subtract them based on what you actually want your phone to do. 

AndroidPIT Moto X 2014 xposed framework
Xposed reveals the inner workings of your Android so you can customize features. / © ANDROIDPIT

While it might sound like you need to be an expert on the subject, it is actually quite simple and you don’t even need root access for Xposed to work. To use the Xposed Framework you simply download the Xposed Installer, investigate what the modules do what and then choose the ones that sound good to you.

What applications do you use you to personalize your smartphone? Let us know in the comments.

9 comments

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  • Really cool apps but I think you forgot greenify

  • Unfortunately you do need root privileges for closed to work with all recent versions of Android.

  • I just started using custom launchers, i installed approx 3-4 different launchers but have found only "Launcher 8" the best.
    you can download thousands of the themes in this just one launcher. very simple to modify and customize as per your interest. I just installed only three themes and I change those themes time to time and my phone look fresh every time.

    Krishna Ahire
    Founder
    MyEarningSecrets.com

  • Xposed framework needs root access... Please fix the mistake!!!

  • Caroline Dec 31, 2014 Link to comment

    I really like UR launcher, it has cool live wallpapers!

  • where can i get the wallpaper shown in nova launcher screenshot? It looks awesome..

  • Umberto Dec 30, 2014 Link to comment

    Do you know where I can find the wallpaper displayed in the Nova Launcher screenshot of this page? It's awesome.

  • Kishin Dec 30, 2014 Link to comment

    Um, excuse me, I have a little query. When you spoke about the Xposed Installer you said you don't require root, but according to the description for the Xposed Installer on its official page it says it needs root access.

    " Xposed is a framework for modules that can change the behavior of the system and apps without touching any APKs. That's great because it means that modules can work for different versions and even ROMs without any changes (as long as the original code was not changed too much). It's also easy to undo. As all changes are done in the memory, you just need to deactivate the module and reboot to get your original system back. There are many other advantages, but here is just one more: Multiple modules can make changes to the same part of the system or app. With modified APKs, you decide for one. No way to combine them, unless the author builds multiple APKs with different combinations.

    *Note that this only works with root access on Android 4.0.3 or later. *"

    So does it really need root access or not?

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